Tips for Thought

Every romantic relationship is unique regardless of whether you’ve been together for months or years. While they’re special, they also share some similarities with other people’s relationships, whether it involves values or issues.

However, if you struggle with your relationship and your partner, then couples therapy may help.

What is relationship counseling?

Relationship counseling, or couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy where a registered psychotherapist creates a safe space for couples to discuss issues and develop healthier ways to relate to and understand their relationship.

Nearly everyone can benefit from relationship counseling regardless of whether you have issues in the relationship. However, many people often seek this treatment when problems can feel overwhelming for both parties.

What happens during a couples therapy session?

The therapist may typically ask couples about their relationship issues during a session. Ideally, the therapist should act as a neutral party that will help both parties reach the root cause of the problem. Some tasks the therapist may do include:

  • Asking questions about the issue;
  • Providing activities that will help guide couples to communicate more healthily and honestly;
  • Creating a non-judgmental environment where both parties can air out their grievances; and
  • Offering guidance as a non-interfering third-party participant

What are the benefits of relationship counseling?

Relationship counseling offers multiple benefits for both parties involved. Some favorable aspects that couples can expect include the following:

1. Offers clarification in a relationship.

Couples therapy helps individuals reflect on the history of the relationship, their shared values, and what they love and appreciate about each other. Sometimes, personal issues can cloud one’s judgment, complacent or negligent of their partner’s needs. As such, couples therapy can help clear one’s mind while also helping them realize what they should prioritize.

2. Resolves relationship issues before they become serious.

It’s not uncommon to say that couples fight about the same issues repeatedly. Often, this indicates that such problems have never been resolved in the first place. When that occurs, it can lead to a negative cycle, leaving the impression that such issues are unresolvable, thus affecting how each person views one another.

Couples therapy helps individuals reflect on issues and find ways to manage them before it becomes severe. By developing insight and learning how to communicate better, people in long-term relationships can avoid the same fights repeatedly in the future.

3. Helps deepen intimacy and connection.

Intimacy and connection are essential parts of a relationship. The feeling of closeness and understanding helps people in relationships realize their worth and vulnerabilities without feeling paranoid or “weak.” Intimacy helps people feel understood, enables them to be themselves, and ensures the care and comfort they need.

Couples with deep-seated issues, whether personal or within the relationship, may find couples counseling a great way to help work through these problems. Once these problems are resolved, they can find better ways to connect and regain the intimacy and passion they feel was once lost.

4. Promote self-awareness and personal growth.

Couples counseling benefits everyone in the relationship. It helps you determine what you want and offer as a partner and individual in a relationship. Therapy sessions enable participants to reflect on themselves, identify factors they need to improve, and adapt healthy coping mechanisms or conflict resolution skills without harming themselves or their partner.

When a person takes time to develop self-awareness, they become more susceptible to personal growth, which can help them become mature individuals.

When should you consider relationship counseling or couples therapy?

If you feel that you may need relationship counseling, here are some instances to consider first:

1. When you have difficulty communicating.

A communication breakdown can lead to many issues, including misunderstandings, lack of trust, and feelings of isolation and alienation. Suppose you struggle to share certain things with your partner or feel they tend to bottle up their problems instead of letting you know. In that case, a guided counselor can help both of you come to a compromise and establish a healthy communication channel.

2. Your arguments aren’t constructive.

Partners who argue the same things repeatedly rarely resolve their issues. If you feel your arguments in the past haven’t led to a significant change with yourself or your partner, then an expert counselor can help figure out other means to resolve such issues.

An excellent therapist would never take sides, so counseling may help you understand your partner better.

3. You have trust issues.

Lack of trust can break a relationship, whether the cause of that broken trust is due to infidelity or lack of communication; a guided therapist can help find the problem, examine the issues from various perspectives, and create a possible solution that will hopefully, help couples build that trust again.

While some problems may not be immediately resolved, couples therapy can help one acknowledge their feelings and find peace.

4. You feel you’ve lost that spark.

Many people in long-term relationships often feel that they’ve lost that “spark,” i.e., the pivoting point which makes a relationship come alive. This instance is quite a common issue and may be caused by different work schedules, priorities, and lack of quality time together. Whatever the cause, a therapist will help a couple identify them while providing options that help them establish intimacy once more.

5. You’re going through something difficult together.

A significant life event that affects both couples can create issues. Some examples include infidelity, a miscarriage, losing a loved one, or financial setbacks. Since people cope with issues differently, it may cause conflict, especially if one partner feels such coping mechanisms are destructive.

For example, if a couple has recently lost a child and the father copes by drinking, this may lead to financial and health problems. Couples therapy can provide an effective intervention by addressing these major life events and helping each partner grieve healthily and effectively.

6. You’re taking your relationship to the next level.

Some therapists offer premarital counseling, which helps couples adjust and learn about the unique expectations of marriage. By discussing each partner’s role, partners can realize the benefits of compromise and how to make their relationship last through the ages before they say “I do.”

Takeaway: Relationship counseling is an excellent outlet for couples to discuss their dynamics and issues. While many have opted to take couples counseling when problems occur, some couples can still benefit from them if they’re in a relatively healthy relationship.

For instance, couples who plan to marry may use premarital counseling to help them adjust to the demands and expectations of marriage. Long-term couples can also benefit from couples counseling if they wish to keep their relationship alive and healthy.

However, before you can consider scheduling a session, hire a therapist with good reviews who isn’t quick to pick sides. Good luck!