A Brief Introduction to Couples Therapy

The curious thing about couples therapy is that while the majority of people know what it is and understand why it exists, you would be hard pressed to find anybody convinced that they themselves could be a couples therapy candidate. The idea of needing professional counselling might come across as nothing but ludicrous in some cases – that’s of course until you wake up one day to the realisation that your present relationship is far from the bed of roses you thought it was.

In reality, it is only by fully comprehending what couples counselling or alcohol counselling in Canterbury or any kind of counselling really really is and what it could offer a couple or an individual could make a proactive and informed decision as to whether to pursue it or not. More often than not, what is in fact involved in modern couples therapy is basically nothing like the average person expects it to be.

What Precisely Is Couples Therapy?

When it comes to what precisely couples therapy or counselling is, it is simply a case of creating a safe space where two adults in a relationship can freely voice their troubles, listen to the troubles of their partner and discuss potential solutions. Technically speaking, it could be considered something of an organised and controlled argument, which though focuses on proactive contributions rather than name calling and shouting.

While the specific method to couples therapy will always vary from one therapist to the next, it almost always tends to incorporate four key elements:

  1. The therapy sessions are organised as a process by which to talk about a specific problem, rather than just a relationship that is not working in general. Usual issues include breakdowns in communication, sexual difficulties and so on.
  2. The professional therapist is a neutral party and rather than counsel each of the individuals separately, they focus on providing treatment to the couple as a whole.
  3. From the first session, the focus is placed on finding solutions with proactive intervention being introduced as soon as possible.
  4. Long-term goals are selected with the relevant treatment methods being identified and agreed upon by the couple.

What to Expect

When it comes to what to expect when approaching couples therapy for the first time, the process usually starts with a number of questions from the therapist. This is simply a way of sourcing relevant information from both parties which otherwise might not have been brought out were they simply encouraged to speak their minds. Rather than allowing both partners to speak at the same time or verbally lash out at one another, each is provided enough time and opportunity to express all they have to express with no interruptions. It is then that the issues with the relationship can be fully considered and analysed by the therapist, in order for logical and effective solutions to be discussed.

It’s not uncommon for therapists to assign their patients homework activities, which might involve specific tasks to complete both alone and with their partner. They might also be asked to keep a journal or diary.

Who Needs Couples Counselling?

This is naturally the million-dollar question that everybody has a different reply to. The simple fact is that anyone in a relationship that they feel is not as good as it could be represents a candidate for couples counselling. It is fully untrue and potentially detrimental to suggest that couples counselling should only be sought when a relationship is near its breaking point. The whole concept of proactive couples counselling is to make sure things never even reach such a critical stage.

Think of it like visiting the dentist or doctor – rather than waiting for 99% of your teeth to fall out before booking an appointment, you can have the occasional checkup to ensure everything is OK. This is precisely the same kind of reasoning that could be applied to couples therapy – it doesn’t have to be an emergency situation before seeking a professional consultation.

Naturally, it’s very rare for couples to approach the services of professional therapists unless they think that there’s indeed an issue to be addressed. As already discussed, it could be something as common as a communication breakdown, sexual problems or really anything else that could and should warrant counselling. After all, nipping a problem in the bud makes much more sense than hacking away at severe problems further down the line.