Like everything else in life, regular maintenance is required for romantic relationships because they are hard work to keep together. Whenever an issue develops in a relationship, it is always better to resolve the issue as soon as possible in order to avoid further repercussions and complications further down the road.
Occasionally, some basic repair work can be performed by the couple experiencing the issue but there are times when, even despite one’s best efforts, a professional is required to offer an objective point of view as well as suggest ways to help deal with the offending matter.
Who is Couples Therapy For?
Couples therapy benefits any type of romantic relationships, whether the partners are heterosexual, homosexual, young, old, of mixed-race, married, engaged, or even dating.
Couples therapy can benefit those who have recently gotten engaged and who feel they would benefit from receiving pre-marital advice, as well as those married for 20 or more years who are looking for a way to regain a sense of romance and excitement back into their relationship.
Who Specializes in Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy and psychologists are the healthcare professionals who specialize in this discipline. They acquire clinical experience from working with couples and are usually licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs).
An LMFT helps two people in a romantic relationship use certain therapeutic interventions to help improve their relationship and resolve any conflicts. The following general elements are usually incorporated in couples therapy:
- Focusing on a specific problem, be it jealousy, pornography addiction, or sexual difficulties affecting either partner.
- Active participation from the therapist in treating the relationship and the issue causing the problem itself, rather than managing each partner separately.
- Treatment should entail change-orientated and solution-focused interventions to improve the romantic relationship.
- Treatment objectives should be clearly established so that the final positive outcome is achieved.
The following are steps taken by the LMFT to assess and manage the partners during couples therapy:
- Asking each partner standard interview questions regarding the history of their relationship as well as taking a more in-depth look at factors such as each person’s cultural background and family values.
- Crisis intervention which may be necessary at the initial sessions because couples tend to seek out therapy when things have gotten very bad in their relationship.
- Assisting the couple to identify the issues that will be the focus of the treatment, planning a structure for the treatment, and setting up a treatment goal.
- Helping the couple to gain insight into the cause of the problem in the relationship. This helps each partner understand their own and each other’s roles which allows them to make the necessary changes that are required to improve the situation.
- Helping the couple to change the way they interact with each other as well as changing toxic and inappropriate behaviors.
Most couples come away from couples therapy having gained invaluable insight into their relationships, as well as problem-solving skills that they otherwise would not have gotten if they had not made use of a healthcare professional specializing in this type of therapy.