When it comes to relationships, we’ve all heard that “there’s no such thing as a perfect couple.” But what if you and your partner aren’t just imperfect? What if there’s something specific that’s causing your issues? That’s where couples counselling comes in. Many people wonder — does couple’s therapy work? Couples therapy can help couples resolve issues they may otherwise never have realized existed. Although it can be an intense experience and may not work for every relationship, it could be exactly what you need to get your love life back on track—and keep it there for years to come.
When to consider couples therapy
Is couples counselling worth it? It is when we consider the number of divorces and unhappy marriages. In the United States, 40-50% of all first marriages end in divorce, and that number is even higher in second marriages at 60-65%. In many cases, some couples choose to stay married in an unhappy partnership due to external sources and pressures, like children or financial benefits. The good news is that many divorces and unhappy relationships could be mended with the support of couples therapy.
It’s especially helpful if one of you is feeling stuck in an unhealthy pattern, or if one of you is experiencing depression or anxiety. Even if both partners are seemingly healthy, there are still times when it can be helpful to talk to a professional about your relationship. In fact, one of the best moments to see a couples counsellor is when the relationship is steady. It’s much easier to strengthen than it is to fix. The solid foundation of a dedicated partnership is the perfect springboard to grow your relationship with the guidance of a counsellor.
Below are the most common problems addressed in couples therapy.
Signs you should go to couples therapy:
- You feel like things have been stagnant in your relationship over the last few weeks/months/years
- Trouble communicating.
- Emotional distance and loneliness.
- One or more of you have fallen out of love but still care for one another.
- Trust and commitment issues, including difficulty relying on a partner or not putting each partners’ wellbeing first.
- Feelings of low self-worth and fears of abandonment. This includes codependence, or on the opposite end, extreme independence.
- Feeling unsupported and emotionally dismissed or difficulty with opening up emotionally.
- Lack of sexual intimacy.
- Difficulties with external stressors like in-laws, friendships, work, or health issues
- Abuse, affairs, and addictions.
- Mismanagement and disagreement on finances.
- Mismatched conflict styles.
- Unequal time and investment in the relationship.
A trained couples therapist can help you and your partner implement strategies to heal pain points in your relationship. Over time, you’ll learn how to show up for your partner, leading to more harmonious behaviour from both sides. With dedication, you’ll be able to benefit from the positive results of couples counselling.
The benefits of couples counselling include:
- Developing better communication skills
- Learn conflict resolution
- Disclose your feelings safely and openly
- Get to know your role in the relationship
- Become aware of each other’s needs
- Gain or restore a strong sense of trust
Does couples therapy work?
Counselling techniques have seen significant improvement over the last few decades. What was once considered a last-ditch effort is now seen as one of the best ways to improve your relationship. Today’s new approaches to couples counselling including The Gottman Method and Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). Both are highly effective in helping couples heal their relationships. The Gottman Method focuses on applying findings from a big body of research, including behaviours that lead to conflict and separation (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling/withdrawal). EFT, on the other hand, focuses on emotional regulation to build trust in the relationship. It makes the couple aware of their emotions, giving them better control over emotional responses. Over time, this builds deep trust and understanding.
Many couple’s therapists use these new approaches in combination with traditional counselling techniques such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Positive psychology therapy
- Solution-focused therapy (SFT)
It will take a counsellor a few sessions to assess whether a technique is working, or if it’s time to switch gears. In general, couples therapy shows a 75% effectiveness rate — which for many partnerships is the difference between lifelong happiness and commitment, or divorce and separation.
Improve your chances of couples therapy success
Is couples therapy effective? Generally, many couples see vast improvements in their relationship if both parties are willing to put the work in. Many factors can influence the success of couples therapy. However, there is a lot you can do before your first session to set yourselves up for success.
Identify your goals
Before you begin couples therapy, come up with a few things that you’d like to improve. Be sure to share those goals with one another — this will get you working towards the same challenges. It can be hard to set goals because there are so many things that couples want to change about their relationship. You might even want multiple things at once — but if you don’t focus on a few things at a time, it can start to feel like nothing is getting done. Prioritizing your goals is key.
It’s also important to be realistic in selecting your goals; if they’re too ambitious or unrealistic, you’ll get discouraged and give up. When it comes to counselling and relationship growth, consistency is essential. One of the best ways to succeed is by continuing to show up.
Remember: you’re a team. In the same way that couples therapy is about helping both partners be healthy and happy, it’s also about helping them work together. Discuss what brings you happiness and how you can support one another in achieving those goals. That’s how you ‘win’ couples therapy.
Give it time
Couples therapy can work, but it’s important to understand that it isn’t a quick fix. While couples therapy works wonders in helping you identify the issues that are getting in the way of your relationship, it requires energy, time investment, and patience. It may take several sessions before you start seeing any results, but with consistent effort, couples therapy can give your relationship what it needs to thrive again.
Find a counsellor you click with
You’re going to be spending a lot of time with your therapist. It’s essential to find someone you can trust and feel comfortable around. Wellin5’s smart platform takes the guesswork out for you by matching you with a counsellor who meets your specific relationship goals. So you can start your first session in just 72 hours.
Strengthen your relationship today
Is couples counselling worth it? It absolutely can be. Counselling is one of the best investments you and your partner can make in your relationship. Couples therapy can be a great way to improve your communication skills, build intimacy, and deal with conflict in a healthy way. There’s no question that it comes with challenges, but it’s worth it to save your relationship. When considering if couples therapy works, it’s important to remember that all relationships are different — what works for one couple may not work for another. You can maximize the benefits of relationship counselling by matching with a counsellor who meets your specific needs. Wellin5’s online counsellors are equipped to support you through every step in your relationship as a couple. Meet with a counsellor who’s trained to help you grow in specific areas of your relationship. Heal your relationship.