How Can Couples Counseling Help?
Couples therapy is a style of therapy where the therapist focuses on the relationship as the client. The goal is to help the couple find a way to stay together. Although this doesn’t always happen, the odds are much better for couples when they seek out this help. This article focuses on the most significant aspects of how this important style of counseling can help a couple heal and enhance their relationship.
Many times, couples want to dive right into their work, and build skills that they can take home with them. This is understandable, because these people are often really struggling by the time they come into therapy. However, the first step of couples therapy is to go through an in-depth assessment. This will usually include structured assessments, as well as interviews with the therapist. These assessments can help to determine what the strengths and weaknesses are in the relationship. Many times, therapists will want to meet with the couple, and then each member of the relationship individually. This will help each individual speak openly during the assessment process.
One of the most well-known and respected ways of analyzing and explaining the strengths and weaknesses is the Sound Relationship House. This was created by the Gottman Institute to easily explain why some relationships work, while others do not. The Sound Relationship House is an easy-to-understand metaphor helps identify problems and solutions in relationships. Regardless of whether this specific theory is used or not, your therapist can explain what strengths and weaknesses were identified, and offer ideas of how therapy can help.
Building Positive Connections
Couples who are seeking therapy often struggle with connecting. They might not trust each other. They also might struggle to identify attempts at connecting with each other. Couples therapy can help both people in the relationship identify when they are trying to connect. This is a critical aspect of building closeness. It’s also a critical aspect of relationships that go bad. When each member’s attempts at bonding with the other is ignored, turned away from, or squashed, there can be a feeling of betrayal. When a couple participates in couples therapy, they can get help preventing from ignoring attempts for connection in the future. The couple can also work to discuss past attempts that didn’t go well, to help heal wounds, which they might not even recognize are impacting them.
Conflict and Communication
Communication issues and conflict are two of the most common reasons that people seek out couples therapy. Difficulties with arguing can lead to resentment and contempt. This can cut it’s way into a relationship and create a toxic cloud that can hang over it. Speaking with a therapist can help to break open this overcast. The process can be slowed down to a pace that promotes mutual respect. With practice and patience, the couple will grow to further trust each other in future conversations. They will also learn to be more generous, while letting past communication failures go.
Learn Active Listening
Active listening is related to problems with communication and conflict. However, problems with listening is such an issue for so many couples, it’s worth mentioning on it’s own. Listening is much more challenging than speaking. Couples therapy can help the relationship strengthen by building better listening skills. Getting better at this is critical in helping a couple stop patterns of attacking and defensiveness. They can build skills at identifying when they are pushing their own agendas forward, realizing that two people can’t do this at the same time.
Take Home Strategies
Effective couples therapy focuses on helping the couple take their strategies home with them. The goal isn’t to always have a therapist in place to mediate. Both people have to take strategies and homework with them, so they can practice skills learned. This gives them the chance to report on successes and failures. It also offers them an opportunity to build confidence with the ability to succeed. Finally, utilizing homework allows for increased generosity for those times where the couple isn’t as successful.