Couples therapy is a mode of treatment that aims to enhance to enhance the connection between two adults engaged in a long-term relationship.
Couples may benefit from therapy if:
- They would like to increase their intimacy, improve their sexual satisfaction, or develop more romance in their relationship
- They want to cooperate more effectively in parenting their children
- They would like to support each other better in managing stress. Sources of stress may include the demands of employment, health concerns, or the responsibilities of parenting.
- They wish to support each other when one or both partners have suffered emotionally, such as after a loss or an illness.
- They would like to manage daily disputes in a more peaceful manner
- They want to resolve differences over major decisions, such as whether to get married or have a child
- They wish to address underlying conflicts in their relationships, such as disputes over money or the role of in-laws
- They want to adjust to a major transition in their relationship. Examples of challenging transitions include: after a couple marries, when the first child is born, or upon the retirement of a spouse. Therapy can be particularly helpful when couples are beginning a stepfamily.
Whatever concerns a couple may address during therapy, therapists usually assist them in improving their process of communication. Therapists encourage couples to state their thoughts, feelings, and desires to each other in a clear and compassionate manner. They encourage couples to demonstrate to their partners that they understand and empathize with each other’s points of view. As partners improve their communication, they find that their connection with each other deepens and strengthens. They become more skilled at resolving disagreements and solving problems, they cooperate more effectively, and they experience greater fulfillment in their relationship.