Couples counseling is a type of treatment in which both spouses meet with the same therapist together for psychotherapy. Couples counseling focuses on solving relationship difficulties, which may include issues arising from an addiction or drug use problem that one or both partners have. Couples therapy can be used in a variety of situations and can still be beneficial when couples are in extreme conflict or considering divorce. Even in situations where a couple is unsure of their future and considering separation or divorce, counseling can still provide huge benefits by helping you feel confident in your final decision.
This therapeutic method requires both parties in a romantic partnership to develop a therapeutic connection with and work with a therapist (typically during hour-long sessions). Although there is no set time when one should attend therapy, we find that couples therapy is most beneficial to participants when couples meet regularly (weekly, twice weekly) for 3-6 months (depending on initial goals). and the problems they entail). Couples therapy can be intense, but a long-term commitment to it can be extremely beneficial. Initially, the couple will make an appointment with a therapist to discuss what led them to treatment, their aspirations, goals for counseling and the circumstances they have experienced together that have led them to where they currently are. Your therapist will help you access your goals and objectives and come up with a plan for what kinds of conversations and treatments you need to approach to achieve your goals in therapy.
Next steps in therapy then involve the therapist helping the couple set goals for the upcoming session. Both spouses will also have the opportunity to express themselves, share their own views, hear each other's views, and the therapist will provide commentary between sessions and occasionally homework and couple assignments. This may include practicing a specific form of communication or accepting or rejecting activities that have caused problems in the past (ie, setting ground rules for communication and conflict). Since the couple and therapist must work together to resolve relationship difficulties, identifying the right therapist for the couple is essential. It is imperative that the couple feels comfortable and trusts the therapist to create a safe environment for them to talk about difficult situations. We often recommend taking advantage of the free consultations that all therapists offer for a preliminary interview to access your comfort level working with the doctor.
The therapist may choose not to provide counseling to a particular couple at times. For example, the therapist may believe that if one or both spouses engage in abusive behavior and the couple does not see it as a problem, or there is simply such a breakdown in communication and a build-up of resistance, conversations between spouses are no longer safe. In these cases, the couples therapist may ask the partners to do some individual work before starting couples therapy, sometimes the couples therapist will recommend individual therapists for this case and refer them, in some cases the couples therapist will ask for a meeting. each individually for several sessions before returning to a joint session. There are many different approaches to building safety in couples therapy. Again, this is something that a quick consultation with a doctor will help with. It can be daunting to hear that individual work needs to be done before couples can work together, but try to remember that these steps are meant to help achieve success in couple work and that in many cases the effort can “rush” the therapeutic process. sometimes they make progress more slowly than if you take it one step at a time.
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