Does Couples Therapy Work? Plus How To Know You’re Ready To Start
The bottom line
Research has shown that couples therapy is effective. Specifically, the American Psychological Association states that therapy is successful in restoring relationships 75 percent of the time. Studies have included couples of various backgrounds and those under high-stress situations. So couples therapy does work for a lot of people. And more and more couples are seeking outside help. In fact, couples therapy is a big contributing factor to why the divorce rate has plummeted in the United States.
One of the methods of couples therapy is Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT focuses on uncovering the wants and needs of each person that is usually hidden under the surface. Addressing those is what allows a deep connection to manifest. The therapist encourages honesty and openness.
Not just for problems
While most people associate it with serious issues in the relationship, couples therapy is not only for couples with problems. Instead of waiting for things to build up over time, you can get ahead of it and learn how to avoid conflict in the future. Develop the tools necessary for better communication. The majority of couples wait until they’re at their breaking point to start therapy. However, they could have avoided the distress and anguish if they sought out early intervention instead. We take a preventative approach to our health, so why not do the same for our relationship?
How to know you’re ready to start
Again, there’s no reason to wait for the list of issues before choosing couples therapy. However, some people need more tangible reasons as motivation to make a change.
You might be ready for couples therapy if any of the following are true:
– You’re revisiting the same argument again and again
– You’re avoiding conversations and pretending everything is perfect
– You have intimacy issues or feel a lack of connection
– You had an experience of betrayal or a loss of trust
– One of you is considering a breakup or divorce
Who is Couples Therapy for?
Many think only of married couples as candidates for couples therapy, but it is in no way limited to people who have tied the knot. Dating couples, like married couples, want their relationship to be successful. Dating couples have issues to work through or things they can improve upon, as all relationships do. So whether you’re married for 20 years or dating for months, couples therapy can be beneficial.
Get the most out of couples therapy
Couples therapy does work, but it isn’t magic. You can’t simply show up and expect improvement. It’s a big investment, which requires time and money, but more than anything it takes effort, and a lot of it. With the therapist as a guide, both parties need to put in the work and be open to trying new things.
You can get the most out of couples therapy by doing these 4 things:
- Engage in self-reflection
Try not to make the sessions all about what your partner is doing wrong. Ask yourself what you could be doing differently. Cut down on the defensiveness and aim for vulnerability instead. Share how you feel.
- Be proactive
Think about what you want to address in a session ahead of time. Plan out what you want to say. Write it down. This can help avoid saying things out of emotion, or shutting down during a session.
- See your partner as your teammate
Try not to view your partnership as you vs. them. Remember they are not your enemy. Work towards seeing them as your teammate instead, someone with the same important goal of a stronger connection.
- Be patient
Don’t expect to see change right away. It will take time to see results. But if the effort is there, you will see the fruits of your labor, a healthier relationship.
Invest in your relationship
Couples therapy is a big investment. It requires time and money, but more than anything it takes effort, and a lot of it. With the therapist as a guide, both parties need to put in the work and be open to trying new things.
Couples therapy does indeed work for many, and it can work for you too. If you’re willing and ready, The Couples Center can connect you with a therapist who will work with you and your partner to bring you closer. Find what’s missing to give you the love you desire.