Even in the most loving relationships, there may be times when we struggle to feel fully understood and appreciated by our partner, or lack the usual sense of nurturing safety and joy from our relationship. Couples Therapy (CT) offers techniques aimed at resolving long-standing or new issues, and can significantly improve the quality of life for couples. The third-party, unbiased insights provided by a couples therapist offers novel ways of looking at old problems, facilitating the process of healing. CT re-directs couples towards a healthier and more respectful way of being in a relationship.
CT offers a broad range of tools to help the big or small problems that couples face. While it may seem daunting to approach your partner about CT, partly due to the potential for hurt feelings, couples therapy is about support, not blame. CT is simply there to guide and assist couples through issues, as well as provide tools that can be used together by the couple to solve current issues and prevent future problems. Since all couples will inevitably face problems within their relationships, having a trained professional take an outside look into such issues can be highly beneficial.
How does CT work?
Starting CT may seem like a big decision, since partners are required to admit that there could be some flaws in their relationship. But this very first step, however scary or uncomfortable it may be, can mark a new beginning and a rekindling of the spark between partners. An experienced couples counsellor is able to create a safe environment in which issues can be addressed in a neutral and constructive manner. Open and clear communication is encouraged. As both partners become more comfortable with expressing their feelings and concerns (including long buried resentments), the practitioner facilitates the healing process by offering practical insights and suggesting suitable strategies relevant to the couples' problem.
One important factor during this process is respect for the uniqueness of each couple’s situation and the identification of the subtle differences in their communication style. An efficient practitioner can recognize which approach may be most beneficial for the couple they're working with and can implement appropriate steps to guide the couple to their desired goals.
What can you expect from CT?
A broad spectrum of relationship issues can be addressed with the help of a couples therapist, ranging from broken trust, communication issues (e.g., difficulties expressing oneself openly), inability to handle conflicts in healthy and constructive ways, loss or diminishing physical and/or emotional connection, overcoming traumatic events (e.g., loss of a child or a miscarriage), or the feeling that something is off in the relationship without knowing exactly what it is. Issues are addressed in a neutral and supportive way by the therapist, who encourages the couple to discover and understand the root cause of the problems they're experiencing.
CT helps couples develop new patterns of relating to one another, specifically the “three C’s” of healthy relationships: the ability to communicate, the readiness to commit, and the willingness to compromise. Whether clients are seeking solutions to a serious problem that's threatening the integrity of the relationship itself, or feel the need for a safe and supportive space to address difficult issues, CT may be worth a try. In CT, a therapist offers new perspectives regarding old problems, and helps spouses, partners, or lovers find a common language, and re-discover joy and intimacy in their relationship.