Could Couples Therapy Work for you and Your Partner?
A therapist's role in a person’s life is truly unique. They meet strangers desperately needing help, support and ultimately, to better understand themselves. The trust people endow in their therapists inspiring and humbling.
Couple counselling is more of a challenge than going it alone. To reveal your true feelings in front of your therapist and your partner must be daunting. This fear leads to uncertainty about couples counselling successes. This article hopes to reassure couples that taking the brave step into therapy can be a wholly positive experience.
It’s no wonder people are skeptical about couples therapy.
Prior to the 1980s, methods used in this field had very limited success. Around only half of couples felt the benefit from such practices. Listening skills were developed and partners learned how to appreciate each other's point of view. The researcher John Gottman developed a method where couples turn negatives into positives and told couples they needed to develop friendships as well as romantic endeavors. Although his tactics proved useful, it wasn't long before couples fell back into their own destructive habits.
The big question is, how effective is couples therapy?
According to the American Psychological Association, couples therapy work for an impressive 75%of couples. These studies also take into account those who are ‘high stress’ clients. Victims of war, couples who have lost children and those who can't have children all benefit greatly.
Measuring the success of therapy mainly lies with the couples themselves. Filling in questionnaires about the experience is a good tool to gauge the effectiveness of treatment. Positive results in couples have been found to last at least two years according to the Dyadic Adjustment Scale.
So what about the 25% of couples who therapy hasn't worked for?
These are typically couples who are in an ongoing abusive relationship. Therapy never works while this continues. If this is the case, it is recommended that each partner attends sessions individually. Therapy also doesn't work for couples who are in the process of breaking up. contradicts the process of couples therapy. For those couples struggling with different forms of addiction, it's better to seek help for that first than couples therapy.
How exactly does couples therapy work?
Therapy helps couples change their patterns of behaviour. It focuses on the interaction between couples and their emotional responses to each other. Therapy can help ensure the emotional bond the couple already has and establish more attachment.
Couples need to be willing and open to the idea of therapy working. Both partners need to be open, honest and become more self aware as the sessions develop. Therapy herpes to distinguish the difference between feelings and thoughts. These basic communication skills are surprisingly difficult for most people.
Another key aspect of how therapy works is ending ‘the battle’ between partners. Ending the view of opponent and rediscovering that it’s a team effort.
The last stage is learning compassion and empathy for each other and owning each other’s problems.
To end, the most important thing to remember is the fact that both partners must open to change and the ability to analyse their own behaviour for positive outcomes.