Getting help for your relationship is a big deal. It may even be a life-changing event. It’s important to find a therapist that is right for you. Some therapists specialize in couples therapy while others focus on individual therapy. Both are great, and both should be considered a part of the equation to finding a happy, healthy marriage.
While it is true that couples who go to therapy together tend to have happier relationships, the success of any treatment plan is largely up to the individuals who are in the relationship. Marriage therapist Ian Hoge, LMFT, says that how well a couple does in couples counseling is entirely dependent on their commitment to work hard, learn new skills, and stay invested in the process. He says that some couples simply don’t have the energy to commit to therapy and will quit, and others might discover that they want different things from the relationship and decide to end it instead of continuing on in an unhappy situation.
Many methods of couples therapy focus on teaching communication techniques like active listening, or learning how to be more empathic and understanding with one another. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a favorite of many individual therapists, can also be used with couples to identify the beliefs that cause miscommunication and promote conflict resolution. It can also be helpful for couples to have a neutral third party mediate emotional expression and discussion. While it may be tempting to ask a friend or family member to act as mediator, this can be problematic because of their closeness to the relationship and the natural bias that occurs.