July 6, 2021
When you decided to marry your current spouse, move in with them or otherwise commit to a long-term relationship, you might have had visions of “happily ever after.” As it turns out, making it work with another person for the long term requires effort. You and your partner might occasionally disagree on things or have trouble seeing eye to eye on some topics. Fortunately, counseling and therapy for couples can help you learn to communicate effectively with your partner, paving the way for a fulfilling, mutually beneficial relationship.
Learn more about how counseling can help couples, the importance of couples counseling and the benefits of relationship counseling.
Reasons to Seek Couples Counseling
While the stereotype persists that couples counseling is only for partners whose relationship is struggling to survive, the truth is that all types of couples can enjoy the advantages of couples therapy. If you and your partner are madly in love or get along without issue, working with a counselor can deepen your connection. A therapist can also help people in distressed relationships. Some of the benefits of therapy for couples include the following.
- Improves communication skills: Communication is essential to a healthy relationship, but not everyone knows how to express their thoughts and feelings appropriately. Working with a counselor, you and your partner can learn how to share your concerns and emotions effectively. Some of the skills you might work on with your therapist include learning how to communicate effectively and choosing the right time and place to have difficult conversations.
- Creates a safe space: Every time you and your partner attend a couples therapy session, you enter a safe haven. You know that everything you share with the counselor will be in confidence. You also can rest assured that the therapist will remain neutral during the session and won’t side with one partner or the other. Both people will have a chance to express themselves during the session.
- Builds understanding and empathy in your relationship: Going to couples counseling can help you understand your partner better. Over several counseling sessions, you might gain a new perspective on the world. Likewise, your partner can develop a better understanding of your thoughts and experiences.
- Helps you resolve conflicts: Conflict is part of life. Knowing how to work through and solve disagreements is another secret to a sustainable and fulfilling relationship. Resentment can build when you and your partner struggle to move past issues or if you decide to sweep concerns under the rug. Your counselor can help you develop conflict resolution skills you can use during your sessions and later in life.
- Helps you work through life’s challenges: Even the happiest couples will face challenges in life, such as infertility, mental health concerns, traumatic events and financial issues. A counselor can guide you through these obstacles, helping you develop the skills to work past them.
- Provides you with a sounding board: When you’re upset with your partner, do you tend to talk past or above them? Do you ever feel your spouse doesn’t fully hear or address your concerns? A weekly counseling session can create a place where you both get an opportunity to express your thoughts and to feel that the other person is actively listening to what you have to say.
Who Should Go to Couples Therapy?
Does marriage counseling help relationships? What does couples therapy involve? One way to look at it is relationship first aid for partners who are experiencing various concerns. It can also help couples who are doing well and who want to keep their partnership healthy. Here are some examples of the types of people who will benefit from couples therapy.
- Couples coping with physical or mental health concerns: When a partner gets a diagnosis of a physical or mental health condition, it can strain an otherwise robust relationship. One person might take on the responsibility of caring for their sick partner. Meanwhile, the partner with the illness might feel like they’ve become a burden. Relationship counseling can help couples who are dealing with ill health find a path forward.
- Couples with different money views: Often a taboo subject, money can be a source of stress for many couples. You might want to save while your partner likes to spend. Or, you might not agree on what to invest your money in or which financial goals to set. Counseling can put you and your partner on the same page about money or make a plan for managing your finances together.
- Couples who want to start a family: Deciding to have a child with another person is a milestone that brings many other choices. If infertility is an issue, you might need to decide how you’ll have the child, such as whether you’ll go through IVF, work with a surrogate or adopt. You’ll also have to agree on how to raise the child. Counseling sessions can help you and your partner put together a plan for starting a family.
- Couples coping with infidelity: When one person cheats, the other is likely to feel betrayed and hurt. But an affair doesn’t have to spell the end of a relationship, provided both people want to improve the situation. Counseling can help couples move past infidelity.
- Couples who wish to strengthen their bond: You don’t need to be struggling to benefit from couples therapy. Some partners participate in therapy sessions to improve their communication and nip any minor issues in the bud before they become pressing concerns.
Goals of Couples Therapy
The goals of couples therapy largely depend on your reasons for signing up for counseling in the first place. You can work with your counselor during the first few sessions to make a list of objectives. For example, you might want to work on building a budget with your partner or decide how to start a family.
Another common goal of couples therapy is learning how to improve your communication. For example, you and your partner might work with a therapist to set rules for communicating or arguments. A few other possible objectives for couples counseling include:
- Restoring affection.
- Building respect.
- Increasing intimacy.
- Rebuilding trust.
Book a Couples Counseling Session
Couples therapy can help you smooth out areas of concern in your relationship or strengthen an already strong connection with your partner. Advanced Psychiatry Associates has been providing couples therapy to partners in the Sacramento area for more than 15 years. While our focus is on helping couples affected by mental health concerns, we also work with partners on a wide range of other issues. To learn more about how couples counseling can help your relationship, schedule an appointment today.