Relationships are often challenging and can sometimes be hard to navigate. Couples therapy is a type of therapy that can help couples through these different challenges, providing resolutions and support whilst navigating the difficulties that relationship is experiencing.
Couples therapy is often used for those who are experiencing relationship problems, such as separation or divorce, and need support to work through the issues that have risen between the couple in the relationship.
Couples counselling can also be highly effective in the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, as well as addictions and eating disorders. The support and understanding of the person you love can in be invaluable when overcoming mental health struggles.
Couples using this type of therapy may want to focus on their relationship with their spouse or significant other, or for problems concerning their whole family unit.
What happens in couples counselling?
Relationship therapy works in a way that encourages couples to have an open dialogue with one another partner, regarding the impact that their problems are having on them as individuals, as well as their relationship.
This open conversation is designed to stimulate communication where one another listens to each other. The therapist can help identify negative behaviours that can be changed in order to improve your relationship.
Therapy for couples can be delivered using a variety of therapy types, which include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)
- Emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
You’ll work with your therapist to agree on the best therapeutic technique to used. Which therapy is best for you and your partner will depend on the nature of the issues you’re facing and dynamics of your relationship.
When should couples go to counselling?
There is no right or wrong time to visit a relationship counsellor. Every couple will have challenges that could be aided by a professional. For example, if you and tyour partner are frequently having arguments that are quite harmful, this could be a sign that it’s time to get some counselling support.
If you are having trouble with the same issues over and over again, a relationship counsellor can help you work through those issues and provide you with skills to manage these issues when outside of a therapy session. Couples therapy is also useful tool when one or both members of the relationship don't feel heard. A counsellor can ensure that both parties feel heard in a comfortable and safe environment.
Counselling sessions generally takes place on a short term basis and each session can last anywhere between 50 minutes to an hour. To see real benefits, you’ll typically have a course of about 12 sessions. The number of sessions and the type of therapy that is used within a session programme, depends upon the type of challenges that are being dealt with, as well as any other needs and requirements.
Divorce and separation affects the whole family unit and can be an extremely difficult time for everyone. It is important that difficulties and issues be addressed early, so that members of the family understand the new family structure.
Parental separation and/or divorce is one of the main risk factors for children developing emotional and behavioural difficulties, and subsequent mental health problems such as depression, low self-esteem, self-harming and suicidal ideation. Seeking support can help elevate symptoms they may be feeling.
More than 40% of marriages end in divorce and nearly a quarter of a million people go through a divorce each year. Almost half of all divorces involve children, who can get caught in the distress and can often be left feeling vulnerable and unsure of the changes occurring in their lives.
Divorce counselling can help with:
- Parents’ expectations about how to parent separately
- Different belief systems and the impact they can have on children
- Passive or active resentment between parents and the subsequent impact on children
- Communication between the separating parents so that it is conducive to the positive wellbeing of their children
- Supporting mental wellbeing throughout the process
- Creating a ‘road map’ outlining what a ‘good’ divorce or separation can look like
- Support in communicating the process to children
- Acknowledging the fears and insecurities the children might have, in age-appropriate language