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4 min read

Will Couples Therapy Work for Us? An Honest Guide to Expectations

a couple who is in therapy

While we don't often think about it in the first throes of new love, relationships require hard work. No matter how well we get along with our partner, or how much in love we are, any relationship can run into conflict. A common question that people ask is whether couples therapy will work to improve a relationship in crisis. In this article, we'll explore what couples counseling is, and look at some ways that it can help a struggling relationship.

What are couples therapy and counseling?

Couples therapy is a type of joint counseling during which a couple seeks help for relationship challenges, aiming to improve communication, intimacy, and conflict resolution in a relationship. The relationship therapy process helps a couple achieve a deeper understanding of why they react to situations in certain ways, why they interact with each other the way they do, and offers strategies on how to communicate more effectively.

Why Seek Marriage Counseling

Partners often turn to couples therapy or marriage counseling because they realize that something is missing from their relationship. This could be because of repetitive fighting or emotional issues that come up again and again. A partner may feel that they are taking on the entire emotional burden of the relationship, or the dynamics of the relationship may be off in some other way.

However, a better way to approach marital and family therapy is to seek it before a relationship challenge occurs in the first place. Identifying the need for professional help is a good thing, but by seeking couples therapy at the start of a serious relationship, you can learn to recognize relationship issues before they become a problem, learn to prevent them, or establish a basis of healthy communication that allows you to navigate them before they get out of hand.

Preparing for Couples Therapy

First, it's important to find the right mental health professional. Therapy works only if you are consistent and put in the work. Strong rapport and trust with your therapist are important part of the therapeutic process, so you want to work with someone you both feel comfortable with. Consider factors like the therapist's experience, gender, ethnicity, and their thoughts on sexual orientation and religious beliefs. Also, look for a licensed marriage and family therapist who uses a therapeutic approach that may be beneficial to your situation.

There are different types of couples counseling or marriage counseling sessions that you may choose, including:

  • Solution focused therapy
  • Emotion focused therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Premarital counseling
  • Gottman method therapy

It can be helpful to spend time reading up on the success rate of various styles, as well as which one may be best suited to your situation.

What to Expect from Couples Therapy

Couples counseling can look different depending on the circumstances, but sessions follow a broad outline. The first session typically focus on setting goals. Your couples or marriage counselor will ask you about what brought you to relationship therapy, and then partner with you on setting goals for your time together.

Types of Therapy Sessions

In couples counseling, you will also set up a timeline and types of sessions you will experience for marriage counseling work. Most marital therapy involves individual therapy sessions, as well as couples therapy sessions. Family therapy sessions may be beneficial if you have children or other family members who may be affected by your relationship challenges.

Overcoming Barriers to Success

For some couples, cost can be a concern. Costs for marriage counseling can depend on the therapist and how long they've been practicing. In certain cases, it can be worthwhile to invest in a more costly option. Some other therapists may offer flexible fees, or negotiate to help you get help. It's important to not let cost be a barrier to attending therapy, either with a couples therapist or individual therapy.

When one partner is not open to therapy, there are a couple of options you can take. You can approach the topic by sharing your desire to learn about tools that could benefit the health of your marriage, setting up the conversation in a way that isn’t putting anyone on the defensive. You may also choose to attend individual therapy, which can help you figure out any challenges that may be coming from your side, and to protect your own mental health. A therapist may also help guide you toward clarity about whether you want to continue the relationship or not.

Making the Most of Couples Therapy

Tips for a Successful Therapy Experience

Starting early and being committed to the process are the best ways to ensure marriage counseling works. The best advice is to seek therapy as soon as you recognize you have relationship issues, or before, so you can prevent them or learn to work through them in a healthy way; be ready to accept faults, set boundaries with friends or family members, find a therapist you’re comfortable with, and start couples or marriage therapy early.

The Effectiveness of Couples Therapy

Research shows that couples therapy positively impacts 70% of those receiving treatment; couples therapy can help couples communicate more effectively, using active listening, thinking non-judgmentally, and teaching problem-solving skills and how to deal with behavior issues. If you are thinking about getting help for relationship problems through therapy, it can be worth your while to look up success rates and success stories to get you started. A healthier relationship can start in a therapist's office.

Some Final Thoughts on Couples Therapy and Counseling

Whether you are tired of rehashing the same arguments over and over again, your partner is experiencing depression, you're having relationship difficulties, or you simply want to find out how you can build a healthy marriage before you take the leap, a couples therapist's private practice can be helpful in addressing any of these scenarios and more. Mental health professionals are trained to offer support and tools that can help develop and maintain a happy marriage.

Starting marriage counseling early can be beneficial, and help your relationship before problems spiral out of control. If you and your partner decide together that staying together isn't for you, couples therapy can help you part ways amicably and in a manner that lessens the negative impact on other family members. It can be essential to seek help from couples therapy or couples counseling as soon as you recognize relationship issues, or even before, to learn to work through them in a healthy manner, or to prevent them altogether.

Building Healthy Relationships With Couples Therapists in Brooklyn

Married couples experiencing difficulties may have a hard time thinking that a therapy session can help anything. But the positive impact of therapy for couples has been researched for years.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, our Brooklyn team of doctoral-level couples psychotherapists offers evidence-based treatments like emotionally focused therapy, CBT, and more that can identify challenges and help a couple's relationship improve over time.

Give us a call today, and our patient coordinator will help you find the therapist who makes you feel comfortable, and can offer tools to help manage stress, build better communication skills, and get your relationship back on track.

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