Couples counselling is a type of relationship therapy designed to help couples improve their bond and resolve conflicts. It involves working with a registered counsellor who has specialized training in helping couples address their relationship issues. When should you seek couples therapy? Learn the 9 signs that you and your partner may need couples counselling.
When to seek couples therapy
- Communication breakdowns
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. But when communication breaks down, it can be difficult to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings. If you find yourselves frequently arguing or struggling to express your feelings, couples counselling can help. A counsellor can help you learn effective communication skills.
- Loss of intimacy
Physical intimacy is an important part of relationships. Consequently, a lack of intimacy can signify deeper issues in a relationship. If you and your partner are experiencing a loss of intimacy, counselling can help you address any underlying issues that are contributing to the problem. Counselling can also help you explore intimacy in non-sexual ways — helping you reconnect emotionally and physically.
- Trust issues
Trust is a crucial component of any healthy relationship. When trust is broken, it can be very difficult to rebuild — leading many people to resort to ending their relationship. Whether one partner has cheated or lied, or trust issues stem from past experiences, counselling can help you address the underlying concerns and work towards rebuilding trust.
- Different goals and values
A discrepancy in goals or values can create tension and disputes in any relationship. Couples counselling can help you explore these differences, find common ground, and learn to respect each other’s perspectives and priorities.
This is a powerful emotion that can build up over time, often leading to a big fallout if left unaddressed. If you or your partner are feeling resentful towards each other, counselling can help you explore the root causes of this resentment and find ways to work through it together.
- Lack of support
When partners don’t feel supported by each other, it can lead to loneliness and isolation. If you or your partner feel unsupported, couples counselling can help you explore each other’s love languages. Whether it’s with kind words, physical touch, or taking tasks off their plate — support looks different to everyone. A fresh perspective can help find ways to be more supportive of each other and strengthen your emotional connection.
- Arguments that never get resolved
Disagreements and arguments are a natural part of any relationship. But when arguments are recurring, they can create a cycle of frustration and leave both partners exhausted. Couples counselling can help you learn conflict resolution skills and find ways to resolve arguments in a healthy and productive way.
- Separation or divorce
Considering separation or divorce doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end of the road. Couples counselling can be a valuable tool for exploring your options. Through counselling, you can explore ways to reconcile or navigate the separation process in a healthy and respectful way.
- Stagnation or boredom
It’s normal for your relationship to feel stagnant, especially when you’re both comfortable. With the guidance of a counsellor, it’s possible to reignite the spark — creating more excitement and passion within your relationship.
What happens in couples therapy?
During couples counselling, a therapist will meet with you as a couple to identify the specific concerns affecting the relationship. This may involve exploring communication issues, identifying sources of stress, and helping you develop strategies for resolving conflict.
Couples counselling may also require individual sessions for each partner, particularly if one partner is struggling with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or past trauma that are impacting the relationship. The counsellor may also provide homework assignments to help the couple practice new skills outside of therapy.
Counselling can be helpful for couples at any stage of their relationship, whether they’re newly together and want to establish a strong foundation, or have been together for many years and want to work through specific issues. It can also be helpful for couples considering separation or divorce. Counselling is a safe space to explore options and make informed decisions.
Different methods of relationship counselling
If you’re considering couples counselling, it’s important to find a therapist who’s a good fit.. There are several different methods of couples counselling, each with its own unique approach and techniques.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT): EFT is a highly researched and effective approach to couples therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative patterns of interaction between partners. The therapist helps the couple identify their needs and underlying emotions and helps them work towards creating a more secure connection.
- The Gottman Method: The Gottman Method is another evidence-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on enhancing communication, managing conflict, and building a deeper emotional connection. The method uses various techniques, including structured exercises and homework assignments, to help couples improve their relationship.
- Imago Relationship Therapy: Imago Relationship Therapy is a holistic approach to couples therapy that emphasizes understanding and healing childhood wounds and traumas that affect the relationship. The counsellor helps couples develop new communication skills and deepen their emotional connection.
- Solution-Focused Brief Therapy: Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is a goal-oriented approach to couples therapy that focuses on identifying and building on the couple’s strengths and resources. The counsellor helps the couple develop a clear vision of their desired future and works with them to create a plan to achieve their goals.
- Narrative Therapy: Narrative Therapy is a non-judgmental and collaborative approach to couples therapy that focuses on identifying and changing negative stories or narratives that partners may have about themselves or their relationship. The therapist helps the couple explore alternative narratives and create new meanings that can lead to positive change.
Do you need couples counselling?
Couples counselling isn’t just for struggling relationships. While many couples seek therapy when experiencing difficulties, couples therapy can also be helpful for those looking to deepen their relationship. In fact, this can be the best time to seek support from a counsellor, as you’re not focused on fixing the relationship, but rather on getting ahead.
Some couples seek therapy as a preventative measure to strengthen their connection and work through differences and disagreements in a healthy way, improving intimacy and connection. Additionally, therapy can be beneficial for couples going through a major life transition. For example, starting a family or dealing with a significant change in their work or living situation.
Does couples counselling work?
Research suggests that couples counselling can be quite effective. This is particularly true when both partners are committed to the process, willing to make changes, and have the desire to work through their challenges together. Making the most of couples therapy requires active participation and engagement in the therapeutic process. Here are some additional tips for how you and your partner can make the most out of couples therapy:
- Set clear goals: Couples should identify specific issues they want to address and the goals they want to achieve before starting therapy. This helps keep both partners focused and committed to the process.
- Communicate honestly: Effective communication is key to a successful relationship. It’s important to practice good communication skills both inside and outside of sessions, including active listening, avoiding blame and criticism, and expressing needs.
- Be patient and persistent: Be patience and persistence: Building a healthy relationship takes time and effort. Couples should be patient and persistent and continue to work towards their goals together, even when progress feels slow or challenging.
- Use therapy as a learning experience: Couples therapy is an opportunity to learn about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. Take advantage of the insights and feedback provided by the counsellor, and use them to make positive changes.
- Be open to feedback: Be willing to consider different perspectives and take constructive criticism. This includes taking responsibility for your own behaviour and recognizing areas where you can improve.
Couples counselling can be beneficial for every kind of relationship
No matter the stage of your relationship, couples counselling can be a great way to strengthen your bond and work through your struggles. Our counsellors are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to help. Access affordable online couples counselling — available on your schedule. Learn more.