Relationship counseling sessions can be a beneficial way to connect with your partner, learn better communication skills, problem-solve specific challenges, and develop professional coping techniques, especially if you're experiencing marriage and family challenges. However, many couples may struggle to find in-person relationship or marriage counseling due to couples counseling cost, distance, or scheduling barriers when working with a therapist’s office. In these cases, many modern couples turn to relationship counseling online, which they may easily find through virtual therapy platforms.
Many individuals seeking relationship counseling may face conflict and challenging times in their relationships. Other couples might use online couples counseling work as a tool to improve communication and grow as a couple. If you're looking to work through marriage problems, dating difficulties, or relationship conflicts, relationship or marriage counseling may offer you unique tools and professional help for various challenges.
What Is Online Relationship Counseling?
When you think of marriage or relationship counseling, you may envision a couple in a traditional in-person clinic discussing their concerns in front of a therapist. However, there are many other types of therapy, and couples therapy online is a viable alternative. The benefits of online counseling for couples include therapy in a more cost-effective and flexible structure, as compared to traditional face to face therapy services.
Married couples can participate in online marriage therapy sessions with licensed therapists through specific online therapy websites, though it’s important to note you do not need to be married in order to seek counseling services.
When couples opt for online therapy, they can search for a therapist to connect with from their own home or anywhere with an internet connection. In many cases, online therapy sessions can be accessed from different locations with internet access. Searching for virtual therapy may also feel less stressful for couples as it can be done in an environment where they feel safe.
Benefits Of Relationship Counseling
Consistently participating in couples counseling may lead to several long-term benefits for couples, including improved intimacy, connection, communication, and mutual respect. Depending on their motives for seeking support, different couples may benefit from this type of therapy in different ways. Below are a few benefits you and your partner may experience from online relationship therapy:
For example, they might experience an increased ability to effectively address disagreements over finances, feelings of blame, or family conflict.
Re-Engagement In Your Relationship
Many couples may feel they can re-engage in their relationship and rekindle the "spark" they may have first felt in the early stages of their love through fostering a deeper connection in couples therapy.
Maintaining A Foundation For Healthy Behaviors
You and your partner may learn to develop and maintain a foundation for your relationship to discuss challenging topics and feel confident in your ability to establish healthy behavioral patterns. Part of this foundation may include each of you taking time for individual self-care.
Development Of Goals
You and your partner may learn to develop goals and priorities together, rather than focusing on individual goals that could conflict with or strain your relationship.
You and your partner may learn to work together to develop a team outlook. Instead of seeing each other as individuals working "against" each other, you may learn to see each other as a team "against the problem." Working together through significant life transitions and challenges may help you feel closer overall.
Online Relationship Therapy Tips For A Thriving Relationship
Below are several tips for making the most out of online relationship therapy:
Agree On A Counselor
When couples decide to find online marriage counseling or relationship counseling, they might have a difficult time finding a marriage counselor or couples therapist they both feel comfortable with. Couples therapists should not value one partner over the other. Additionally, if one partner does not like the marriage therapist, it may be best to consider a few other candidates before deciding. Through virtual therapy, you and your partner can switch providers, if necessary, often in a more efficient manner than with in-person counseling.
Learn To Communicate In A Healthy Way
Healthy communication can be a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. According to research, healthy communication increases rates of marital satisfaction. A virtual family and marriage therapist can guide you through healthy discussions, give you relationship advice, help you understand your communication limitations, and provide you with tools to practice at home.
According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, one of the top reasons marriages dissolve is the presence of conflict and frequent arguments, demonstrating that communication can be a crucial skill to discuss with your partner in a therapeutic environment.
Combine Online Relationship Counseling With Individual Therapy
Many couples pursue individual therapy while also participating in couples therapy. As couples therapists are there to serve the relationship as a whole, an individual counselor can focus primarily on you and your concerns, which may also positively impact the relationship.
Where Can We Find An Online Counselor?
There are a few methods to find a therapist online:
- An online couples therapy platform, like Regain
- A self-practice therapist in your state that offers telehealth therapy
- An online support group for couples led by a licensed therapist
- An online individual therapy platform, like BetterHelp
What To Expect Through An Online Therapy Platform
Below are a few steps you might encounter when signing up for an online therapy platform:
You and your spouse or partner may begin the process of online counseling by registering for an account through a platform. When you register, you can use your real names or choose nicknames.
After you complete your registration, you may be prompted to complete an intake questionnaire. This questionnaire is one of the tools that online professionals may use to tailor their service to couples. It may ask you for the following information:
- If you're struggling with your mental health
- What you hope to discuss in therapy
- Whether you want a BIPOC therapist
- Whether you want an LGBTQ+ therapist
- Whether you and your partner have any cultural or spiritual preferences
- Any notes you have for your potential therapist
The Intake SessionYour therapist can create a couple's assessment unique to your relationship based on the answers in your questionnaire. In your initial intake session, the therapist might also ask you and your partner what you hope to get out of therapy, and start developing a treatment plan personalized to your needs. Your therapist may provide focused relationship support based on the needs identified in your treatment plan.
In future sessions, you and your partner may bring issues to your therapist and discuss them together. In the online format, your therapist may send you links to resources, worksheets to print or download, and messages. You can also message your therapist throughout the week at any time, and they will respond as soon as they are able.
Virtual Vs. In-Person Therapy
Sessions with an in-office therapist often last around 45 minutes to an hour. Virtual sessions can be more flexible, lasting around 30 minutes, sometimes more and sometimes less. Scheduling can also be flexible, with many therapists having options for late at night, early in the morning, or on the weekends. Couples can also attend sessions from two separate locations if they are in a long-distance relationship or have a busy schedule. Couples counseling through Regain costs between $65 and $90 per week.
Online counseling services often offer an individualized approach to treatment. If you find that one method is not working, your therapist can work with you to change their approach. You can also request a new therapist and leave feedback if you have a challenging or exceptional experience. In contrast, the process of starting in-person therapy or changing therapists in an in-person setting may be more complicated.
You can participate in multiple methods of online therapy for couples, including the following:
- Premarital counseling
- Marital counseling
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy focused on relationships
Let your therapist know your goals before getting started.
Another benefit of virtual therapy is that you can participate in sessions with a provider from a location that feels comfortable to you, which may allow you to immediately practice skills with your partner after therapy, instead of waiting hours after a session to consider your assignments or lessons learned. Online relationship counseling can also eliminate the stress of distant commutes and travel expenses that may be associated with therapeutic services.
"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and me find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks, Steph!"
Online couples counseling can offer various benefits to couples looking for support. If you're experiencing challenges with resentment, attention, affection, or other concerns, consider rebuilding your connection and gaining personalized skills with a licensed online therapist through a platform like BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples.
Is online couples counseling really effective?
Online couples counseling has become increasingly popular, and research indicates its effectiveness in addressing various relationship issues. For more than 50 years, videoconferencing has been studied for its therapeutic purposes. The results of these studies consistently demonstrate high satisfaction rates among participants and significant effectiveness when compared to in-person therapy. Positive clinical outcomes were also noted.
Studies focusing specifically on online couples therapy have also shown promising results. These studies indicate improvements in relationship satisfaction, mental health, and all other outcome scores over time. The flexibility and accessibility of online therapy make it a viable option for couples who may face barriers to attending in-person sessions, such as scheduling conflicts, geographical limitations, or mobility challenges.
Online counseling provides a platform for therapists to employ the same techniques and approaches used in traditional in-person therapy, ensuring that the core elements of effective couples therapy are maintained. These elements include communication skills training, conflict resolution strategies, and exercises to enhance intimacy and understanding.
Like other forms of therapy, the effectiveness of online couples counseling hinges on the willingness and engagement of the couple. The benefits largely depend on the participants' commitment to the process and openness to change and growth within the relationship.
How much does online couples counseling cost?
The cost of online couples counseling can vary significantly and depends on several factors. The pricing structure for online therapy services can differ; some charge a monthly fee, while others charge per session.
Here are some key factors that can influence the cost:
- Length of session: The duration of each counseling session is a major factor in determining the cost. Standard sessions are usually around 50 minutes to an hour, but some therapists offer longer or shorter sessions, which can affect the price.
- Frequency of sessions: Some couples may need weekly sessions, while others might meet with their therapist less frequently. More frequent sessions will naturally result in a higher overall cost.
- Therapist's qualifications and experience: The cost of therapy can also depend on the therapist's qualifications, expertise, and experience. More experienced therapists or those with specialized training in couples counseling may charge higher rates.
- Billing structure: Some online counseling services offer subscription-based models where couples pay a monthly fee for a certain number of sessions or unlimited messaging with their therapist. Others may charge on a per-session basis. Subscription models might offer a more cost-effective solution for ongoing therapy.
- Insurance coverage: Another important factor is whether your health insurance provider will cover the therapy services. Some online counseling platforms accept insurance, which can significantly reduce out-of-pocket costs.
- Additional services: If the therapy includes supplementary materials, like workbooks or access to online resources, this could also impact the cost.
Given these variables, the cost of online couples counseling can range widely. Prospective couples should research different services, compare prices, and inquire about the specific costs associated with the type of therapy they require. Doing so can help them find the best online service for their budget and needs.
Is couples counseling worth it?
Research indicates that healthy relationships have many benefits, such as higher life satisfaction, better self-esteem, and improved overall well-being. They can also reduce stress and heart-related risks contributing to physical health issues. Mental health concerns like anxiety and depression are also closely tied to relationship quality. When relationship issues arise, they can have a significant impact on individuals' overall functioning and well-being.
Couples counseling provides a safe space for couples to address their problems and work towards improving their relationship. Through therapy, couples can learn healthier communication styles, understand each other's perspectives, and develop conflict management strategies. Emotionally focused therapy (EFT), one of the most commonly used approaches in couples counseling, is particularly effective in helping couples improve their relationships and mental health.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another approach often used in couples counseling, and it focuses on developing skills to improve communication and manage conflicts. This approach has been found to be effective in reducing relationship distress, increasing relationship satisfaction, and improving individual functioning. Available online, a virtual therapy session can provide the same level of support and guidance as an in-person session, making it a valuable option for couples seeking help.
When you consider couples therapy as an investment rather than an expense, its value becomes clear. The benefits of having a satisfying and healthy relationship are immeasurable and can positively impact all areas of life. Furthermore, the potential costs of ongoing conflict or an unhealthy relationship far outweigh the financial investment in counseling.
If you're unsure whether couples counseling is worth it, consider the potential positive outcomes and how they can improve your quality of life. When approached with an open mind and a commitment to making the necessary changes, couples counseling can be a valuable tool in strengthening and enriching relationships.
What type of counselor is best for couples?
The best type of counselor for couples depends significantly on the nature of their relationship, the specific issues they're experiencing, and their goals for therapy. Many types of counseling professionals can offer support, each suited to different needs and situations:
- Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT): LMFTs are specifically trained to work with couples and families. Family therapists are equipped to handle a wide range of relationship issues, from communication problems to more complex dynamics like infidelity or divorce considerations. If your relationship is facing significant challenges or if you're seeking to work through deep-seated issues, an LMFT may be the most beneficial choice.
- Relationship coach: For couples who might not be experiencing deep-seated issues but are looking to strengthen their relationship, improve communication, or resolve specific conflicts, a relationship coach may be sufficient. Coaches can offer tools and strategies to enhance the partnership but typically do not address psychological disorders or deep-rooted personal issues.
- Premarital counseling: Premarital counseling can be highly beneficial if you plan to get married. These counselors specialize in helping couples prepare for marriage, addressing expectations, communication, financial planning, and other key aspects of married life. Online premarital counseling is available and can help couples build a strong foundation for their future together.
- Marriage counseling: Specifically aimed at married couples, marriage therapy focuses on issues that may arise during a marriage. Marriage counselors can help couples navigate through challenges and make decisions about their future.
- Specialized therapists: For couples dealing with specific issues like substance use, mental health disorders, or trauma, seeking a therapist with expertise in these areas alongside the couple's therapy experience can help address underlying concerns.
Depending on what a couple hopes to achieve through therapy, they may work with one or a combination of these professionals. You can start by assessing your goals for therapy and seeking a counselor who specializes in addressing those needs.
How do I start couples counseling?
Starting couples counseling can seem intimidating, especially if you've never been to therapy. However, taking the first step towards improving your relationship is crucial and may be easier than you think.
Here are some steps you can take to begin couples counseling:
- Talking to your partner: Before starting counseling, having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your feelings and concerns is essential. Expressing your desire to work on the relationship together can also make your partner more comfortable with the idea of counseling.
- Researching therapists: There are many different types of counselors, and it's crucial to find one that is a good fit for you and your partner. You can begin researching online or asking for recommendations from friends or family members who have gone through couples therapy.
- Scheduling an initial session: Many therapists offer a consultation where you can discuss your current situation, ask any questions, and determine if they fit your needs. This session can also help you understand their approach to therapy and what to expect from future sessions.
- Being open-minded: Couples counseling requires a willingness to work together and make changes. It's essential to approach therapy with an open mind, even if it sometimes feels uncomfortable or challenging.
- Communicating honestly: During counseling sessions, it's crucial to communicate openly and honestly about your feelings, concerns, and experiences. Your honesty can help the therapist better understand the relationship and provide more effective guidance and support.
As you begin couples counseling, be patient with yourself and your partner. Improving a relationship takes time and effort, but the potential benefits are worth it. By approaching therapy with compassion, empathy, and a commitment to growth, you can create positive changes in your relationship that will have long-lasting effects on your life.
Are couples therapy couples real?
Couples who have successfully gone through couples therapy can attest to its positive impact on their relationships. While there is no guarantee that couples therapy will work for every couple, research suggests that it can improve relationship satisfaction and communication.
Moreover, couples therapy's success depends significantly on both partners' willingness to engage in the process actively. When both parties are committed to working on the relationship and are open to change, couples therapy can be a helpful tool for strengthening and enriching the partnership.
It's important to note that couples therapy isn't just for couples in crisis. It can also benefit couples who want to enhance their relationship and address specific concerns before they become more significant problems. Likewise, therapy isn't a magic fix for all relationship issues, but it can provide valuable guidance and support for couples looking to improve their bond.
So yes, couples therapy is real. It is a legitimate form of therapy that has helped many couples overcome challenges, improve communication, and build stronger relationships. And the couples who have experienced its benefits can attest to its effectiveness.
Should a boyfriend and girlfriend go to couples therapy?
Depending on the relationship's status and each individual's goals, couples therapy can benefit many couples. Couples therapy may not be helpful for newly dating couples who are just getting to know each other. However, if a couple has been together for a while and is facing challenges or difficulties, couples therapy can be highly beneficial.
Additionally, couples therapy may also be helpful for individuals in a committed relationship who want to address specific concerns or improve their communication and understanding of each other. Couples therapy can provide a safe and supportive space for partners to explore their relationship deeper and grow together even if there aren't any major issues.
The decision to go to couples therapy should be made by both individuals in the relationship. When both partners are committed to making the relationship work and are open to actively participating in therapy, it can be a valuable asset in strengthening the bond and creating a healthier partnership.
Is couples therapy helpful at the beginning of a relationship?
Couples therapy can be helpful at any relationship stage, including the beginning. Seeking couples therapy early in a relationship can help prevent future conflicts and misunderstandings.
However, if the relationship is not serious or committed, seeking couples therapy may not be necessary. It's essential for both partners to feel committed and invested in the relationship before starting counseling.
Can counseling help a broken relationship?
Broken relationships can result from several factors, such as communication problems, trust issues, or unresolved conflicts. In these cases, couples counseling can be useful in repairing and rebuilding the relationship.
Through therapy, partners can learn how to effectively communicate their needs and concerns, work through past hurts, and establish healthier patterns within the relationship. With the guidance of a therapist and the willingness of both individuals to make positive changes, a broken relationship can be mended and strengthened.
However, it's important to note that couples counseling is not a guarantee for fixing all relationships. Some relationships may not be salvageable, and in those cases, therapy can help individuals navigate the separation process and move forward healthily. The success of couples therapy depends on the commitment and effort put forth by both partners.
What are the disadvantages of couples counseling?
While couples counseling can be highly beneficial, there are some potential disadvantages to consider:
- Cost: Couples therapy can be expensive, and not all insurance plans cover it. The cost may make it inaccessible for some individuals.
- Time commitment: Therapy requires a significant time commitment, with most sessions lasting 50 minutes to an hour. It may also take several weeks or months to see progress, which can frustrate some couples.
- Emotional discomfort: Working through issues and discussing sensitive topics in therapy may be uncomfortable or emotionally taxing for some individuals. These emotions can make it challenging to continue with therapy, even though it may ultimately benefit the relationship.
You should weigh the potential disadvantages against the benefits of couples counseling and decide what is best for your relationship and personal circumstances. It may also be helpful to discuss any concerns with your therapist beforehand. While typically, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, it's essential to have a realistic understanding of what couples therapy entails and be prepared to invest the time and effort needed for it to be effective.
- Previous Article
- Next Article