Conflicts occur in almost all relationships since it is very difficult for two different people to view the same thing from the same perspective. If handled properly, divergent views can bring partners together; however, they may drift away if relationship conflicts are not resolved amicably in the early stages. The steep rise in relationship breakdowns has led people to search for therapeutic solutions and couples therapy is playing a key role in saving marriages and conflict resolutions. Read on to know more about couples therapy and its benefits in mending relationships:
What is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy, sometimes also known as marriage counselling, is a kind of psychotherapy in which a relationship therapist makes use of therapeutic tools to assist partners analyse their relationship, identify and resolve conflict and improve relationship efficacy.
The main areas of disagreements between partners include distancing, Internet addiction, in-laws, infertility, jealousy, controlling behavior, money fights, parenting, chronic health issues, abuse, and sex-related difficulties. For example, some couples, after years of marriage, avoid each other and coexist as roommates after years but couples therapy can reignite the relationship.
What does a marriage therapist do? The marriage therapist talks to both the partners, identifies the key relationship problems and devise a plan to solve those problems. It is to be noted that therapist’s goal is not to resolve the issues but to devise a communication method for partners to solve mutual disagreements during and after therapy. It is also very important for the relationship therapist to develop trust with each partner without alienating the other.
The therapist focuses on a particular issue and actively participates in resolving the conflict through a solution-focused and change-oriented approach. Needless to say, both the partners must participate in couples therapy actively.
Couples usually go for marriage therapy only when the chill in their relationship has reached dangerous proportions. It is advisable to go for marriage therapy in early stages of the relationship, as it is more challenging, time-intensive and more difficult for long-term partners to come to a mutual understanding on contentious issues lingering for years and years. Infact, resentful feelings are difficult to be reversed if they continue for a long period of time.
Steps Involved in Couples Therapy
Therapy can help in healing relationships. Some people need only a few sessions while others require months to resolve the conflicts. Here are the key steps involved in couples therapy:
Step 1: Collect Basic Information
It involved asking standard interview questions regarding the relationship history, family history of each partner, employment, cultural background, prior counselling experience and chronic health issues. This step is important for the couple to become comfortable with the therapist.
Step 2: Goal Setting
Since this counselling is a joint venture meant to understand the relationship, the therapist assists the couple in identifying the issue(s) that will be the focus of treatment, establishing treatment goals and devising the treatment plan.
Step 3: Treatment
The therapist helps the partners to get a better understanding into the dynamics of the relationship conflict, and their respective roles in conflict resolution, thus helping them to change the way they perceive the relationship and each other. Since behavioral change is a crucial aspect of couples therapy, the therapist often assigns homework to each partner to apply the skills learned in therapy to their day-to-day interactions.
Step 4: Goal realization
The ultimate goal of couples therapy is to help partners get insights into relationship issues, develop a conscious relationship, increase emotional expression and develop the skills required to communicate, brainstorm and problem-solve with each other more effectively and amicably.
Couples therapy is an effective tool to restore broken relationships. It helps partners to understand each other and their relationship as a couple, besides developing essential relationship skills, such as trust, patience, forgiveness, communication, selflessness and stress management.