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Is Couples Therapy Right for You? Understanding the Benefits and Process

Relational difficulties have been reported to be the most frequently presented reason why people seek psychological therapy.


Romantic and intimate relationships are an important aspect of most people's lives. The quality of our relationships is a strong predictor of general wellbeing and happiness. When we experience conflict with the people closest to us, this can have a detrimental impact on many areas of our lives.



This image features two hands holding
Couple holding hands


The modern world we live in has seen a significant change in how we approach and maintain our intimate relationships. We live in a society that often promotes independence and individualism as the ultimate achievement in our adult lives. But is this really in our human nature?


Humans are intrinsically social beings and as such we seek connection with others. Relating to our fellow humans is an innate need we have from the moment we take our first breath. A baby's ability to connect and relate to their caregiver is essential for their survival. Whilst we can ensure our physical survival as adults, our emotional needs continue to be somewhat related to people around us and the quality of our relationships.


Relationship therapy or couple's counselling is becoming increasingly more popular as people struggle to navigate the complexities of intimate relationships in an ever changing relational landscape that often promotes conflicting messages.


There are many reasons why people access couple's counselling including:

  • Improving communication

  • Building trust

  • Repairing conflict

  • Parenting difficulties

  • Adjusting to big life transitions (e.g. having a baby, retiring, moving in together)

  • Managing relationships with the wider friend and family circle


You may be considering couple's therapy due to a recent event or ongoing difficulties that you and your partner have experiences that have caused a crisis and are affecting the quality of your relationship. Perhaps you used to communicate better before moving in together and now you can't stop arguing.


What are the benefits of couple's therapy?


Very often couples will contact us because of ongoing conflict. Couple's therapy can support couple's to establish a common goal and find a shared way forward to improve the quality of their relationship.


By creating a safe therapeutic environment, your therapist can support you to communicate more openly and identify the common cycles you and your partner get stuck in during arguments. During couple's therapy sessions each partner will have an opportunity to discuss their feelings and hear a response from their partner.


Couple's therapy is about communicating and listening with the therapist helping the couple establish a safe pace and ways to communicate that reduce conflictual triggers.


Conflict usually happens because one or both partners feel unheard or misunderstood. By creating a space for each partner's needs and feelings to be expressed and understood, couple's therapy promotes the healing of relational wounds and helps the couple find a way forward to create a more fulfilling relationship.


Relationship difficulties are rarely one partner's fault


Conflict usually arises in couples because of difficult dynamics that can lead to a difficulty in communicating. Whilst each partner will have their own way of dealing with conflict (some people withdraw whilst others pursue). it is important to remember that it is rare that one partner will be entirely at fault for the relationship difficulties.


Unpicking the cycles of conflict and learning to recognise each partner's responses to misunderstandings can help facilitate better communication and reduce arguments.


The couple's therapist does not take sides


Couple's therapy is about promoting better communication within the couple. The therapist is not there to take sides or decide who is in the wrong. Couple's counselling won't always eliminate arguments. Couple's will from time to time argue or disagree. What is important is to learn to communicate during times of conflict so that disagreements don't persist and each partner's needs and emotions can be heard and understood and the couple can learn to resolve conflicts that can arise in the lifetime of a relationship.


Emotions can often get in the way of a couple being able to talk together effectively. Unresolved feelings can fester and be hard to overcome without help. An experienced couple's therapist can help you manage discussions in the therapy room so that progress can be achieved.


When is couple's therapy not helpful


There are times when couple's therapy is not helpful. For example, if there is ongoing abuse in the relationship to the point that one of the partners feels physically and emotionally unsafe and unable to leave the relationship. We suggest that you seek help from your local domestic violence services (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help) if you are in an unsafe situation.


There may also be occasions when it is not possible for the couple to agree on a shared goal e.g. if one of the partners has decided to separate and the other wants to stay together. Couple's therapy is based on identifying and working on shared goals. Therefore, if partners are seeking different outcomes, it would be impossible to establish an effective therapy plan.


Our couple's counselling service may be able to help you and your partner. Click here if you would like to find out more and book a discovery call.


For individuals concerned about relationship issues, we also offer individual therapy.


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