How does Couples therapy work?

So you have identified that you wish to attend couples therapy, that you and your loved ones relationship has reached the point where a neutral and safe environment is the best way forward to deal with troubles. How does couples therapy work? And what can you do to improve the effectiveness of couple’s therapy? Those are two of the things we will be looking into today. If you wish to set up an appointment online or in person with a relationship counsellor, you can do so here.

How does couples therapy work?

The most common method of couple’s therapy is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) that is a systematic approach to changing the constricted patterns of interaction. Particularly when couples are distressed, their emotional responses to one another can be negative, sarcastic, and generally unhelpful. This type of therapy helps change the emotional responses in a way that can strengthen the emotional bond between individuals. Previous couple counselling methods included targeting specific behaviours and thoughts, that proved only 50% effective. With emotionally focused therapy the goal is to create a more secure attachment between the individuals.

How long do you need for couple therapy to work?

Since the EFT focuses on changing attributions (the explanations we give ourselves for the other person’s behaviour) from negative to positive and neutral, at least six months of consistent work may be required. Many couples need more time, and the effectiveness and duration of counselling will largely depend on the circumstances in their lives and frequency of the sessions.

What can you do to improve the effectiveness of counselling?
Positive outcomes from couple’s therapy are largely dependent on the couple’s willingness to learn basic skills, become more self-aware, and allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable. Many individuals find it difficult to distinguish feelings from thoughts, and your counsellor will be able to help with these beginning steps.
The second most important thing is for the members of the couple to start seeing the other person as a team member rather than an opponent. This way couples can work together to increase cooperation and create a secure environment for emotional vulnerability.
The third point is that feeling empathy and patience for your partner is a vital part of EFT. Compassion and understanding for your partners feelings can help them heal from past emotional traumas towards a better future.
The last part of how you can improve the effectiveness of couples counselling is to be willing to see your own flaws and work on your personal problems.
Remember that this is about you
It is easy to come into a counselling session with a list of complaints about the other person. The counsellor’s job is not to validate the complaints and to change the behaviour of the said person. Instead, everyone must be willing to change parts of their own behaviour to foster a healing environment and a more positive attitude towards each other. If you have personal traumas or are suffering from mental health conditions impacting your relationship, consider booking a personal counselling session.