What Are The Most Common And Effective Couples Therapy Methods?

By Julia Thomas|Updated April 4, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Tiffany Howard, LPC, LCADC

Couples Therapy Techniques

There are many reasons why people may opt to seek help, and it isn’t always what everyone expects. Many partners attend sessions to gain a deeper understanding of each other, and to strengthen their relationship so that they’re prepared for any potential problems in the future. In other cases, partners might not realize that they have a problem that actually warrants getting help.

Research shows that approximately 70-75% of distressed relationships are able to recover their partnership due to emotionally-focused couples therapy. 

In this article we will discuss some common reasons people in a relationship might seek advice, as well as several methods that are effective for nourishing communication and connection within a partnership.

Why Couples Might Seek Expert Advice

Couple, couples counseling therapy

Most people assume that couples therapy is for couples that are on a brink of splitting up as a last-ditch effort. However, this is not always the case. Some therapy sessions are for serious reasons, such as when one or both spouses have had an affair. A therapist can help both individuals to process emotions following a betrayal and move towards rebuilding a relationship, if both people are committed to doing so. That being said, there are other situations that aren’t this serious where therapy can help a couple.

Some examples of such instances include when partners are struggling with any communication skills. Maybe there have been unhealthy patterns of communication during conflict.

Unhealthy communication can lead to couples having a breakdown in different areas of their relationship as well. It can be difficult for partners to sort through their own situation to determine where a problem is coming from. And, if they talk to people that they know on a personal level, the person may feel inclined to take sides, which is something that a therapist usually won’t do. Working with a licensed therapist can help partners to recognize unproductive patterns of communication and develop skills for navigating conflict in healthier ways. 

Couples therapy can also be beneficial when one or both people in a relationship are experiencing mental illness, like anxiety or depression, or processing a loss or major life event. Even if actual symptoms are only impacting one person in a relationship, it can still impact a relationship and the other person. A counselor can help to treat the person who is struggling while also helping them identify ways that it’s impacting their significant other. And they can help provide valuable tips on what the other person can do to support their partner through this difficult time.

When Should You Pursue Couples Therapy?

Perhaps you are wondering how to know it could be time to seek out professional support. According to licensed couples therapist Ian Kerner, the earlier you and your partner seek couples therapy, the better. If you’re having trouble with financial concerns, your sex life, infidelity, or an additional potentially sensitive subject, it can help to get those issues out in the open and discuss them before they turn into bigger problems.  

Couples therapy can be very helpful for providing a safe space for you and your partner to address any of your concerns. 

Improving Communications: The Couples Therapy Techniques

Couples therapy isn’t always viewed as a primary treatment for individuals experiencing depression, but it can be an excellent concurrent therapy as living with depression can affect all areas of a person’s life, including relationships. Individuals with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression tend to have a high divorce rate. All interactions provided in therapy allow each partner to examine their own behaviors and provides immediate feedback on the success of a new skill.

Poor communication isn’t necessarily a result of a poor choice of words. Couples may be sending out certain wrong signals through body language, avoidance of their emotional state, or burying issues. A couple’s therapist helps each partner draw on their feelings and explore any things that may have gone wrong in a relationship.

An experienced therapist knows what right questions to ask that will inspire those in therapy to have to dig deep and draw out any underlying cause of a problem. They can also provide exercises that each partner can begin to do in order to learn how to improve their communication skills with each other.

Therapy Can Give Both Partners A Comfortable Environment

Couple counseling

Happiness isn’t just about what goes on inside your mind, but how well your personal needs are being met. Anxiety and depression can be results of unresolved grief, with symptoms coming to the surface much later in life. It can be a troubling conflict of role disputes or role transitions. An effective couples counselor creates a safe environment for identifying any personal issues and exploring solutions that will meet each person’s needs.

Sometimes it will be necessary for that individual to have one-on-one sessions with a therapist to help them feel more comfortable opening up. However, it’s eventually a good idea for each partner to attend therapy together to see how new information and changes can be incorporated into the relationship and what any new needs are as a result.

Couples Connection: Meditation And Relaxation Therapy

Statistics on how frequently anxiety disorders and depression affect relationships are elusive, but depression will often cause a couple to seek therapy, fearful that it will lead to divorce. Depression doesn’t necessarily lead to divorce according to experts, but it can bring about different issues.

Couple

Meditation and relaxation can play a role in creating an effective treatment for couples. Depression and anxiety affect the mental state of the partner as well as the individual experiencing it. A person living with an anxiety disorder may transfer stress or may have lost interest in sexual activity. A person who isn’t experiencing depression may perceive the symptoms as a problem with the relationship.

Relaxation techniques are generally easier to maintain when they are shared between a couple. This can be as simple as listening to favorite music together, taking afternoon walks, or breathing exercises designed to relax tension and build harmony. When couples attend therapy sessions together, they will learn what activities they can try together in order to build connection and strengthen their relationship.

Mediation In Couples Therapy

Seeing an online therapist, as a couple or an individual, can give valuable insight into a relationship. A therapist doesn’t cast blame but seeks to mediate between a couple, helping both individuals to understand their role in contributing to the challenges of the relationship. At the same time, a therapist helps to avoid scapegoating. If a person’s mental health is portrayed as the cause of a faltering relationship, this could lead to a worsening of the person’s state.

Couple counseling techniques alone don’t always address all the problems of a depressive disorder, but it does strengthen the ties in a relationship. It helps improve their functions together, giving new dynamics to their relationship and greater confidence in handling any problems.

Online therapy sessions can be a good fit for couples because it allows them to attend sessions from the comfort of their home. If couples have busy schedules or, perhaps because of their marital issues, have a hard time being in the same room as the other person, online counseling can help them remotely see a counselor to begin the process of working through their situation. It’s also a great fit for couples that have young children that struggle to find a babysitter to be able to attend sessions together.

Online therapy also allows couples to avoid the stigma that comes with mental health. If one of the individuals isn’t comfortable with the idea of going to a therapy office, they can still get the help that they need while being in the privacy of their own home. The most important thing is that the couple is able to talk to a therapist and get the help that they need. BetterHelp provides easy access to licensed counselors with expertise in family and relationship dynamics. Read below for reviews of BetterHelp’s mental health professionals from those who have experienced similar issues. 

Exploring BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

“My husband and I were going through a rough patch of life and it was bleeding into the marriage. Don really helped us get back on track to communicating and understanding one another again. He listens and gives real world examples there’s no blame game and there’s always room to be better for ourselves and spouse.”

therapist

“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 I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks Steph!”

Couples Therapy Conclusion

Regardless of what difficulties you may be experiencing in your relationship, consider taking the step of seeking support. Talking with a professional may be what is needed to move towards healthier communication and any intimacy and connection you desire with your partner. 

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