What Are The Most Common And Effective Couple Counseling Techniques?

By: Julia Thomas

Updated February 03, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Tiffany Howard, LPC, LCADC

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There are many reasons why couples need to attend counseling and it isn't always what people expect. Many couples fail to get the help they need because they don't want to admit that they need help and look in front of others or because they actually don't realize that they have a problem that actually warrants getting help.

But, whether it's pride or lack of acknowledging a problem that keeps couples away it's important that they learn how to work past it. Divorce rates continue to be high and many couples are deciding never to get married in the first place which means relationship failure rates could be even higher than we think. However, many of these relationships could be saved and strengthened through counseling.

Why couples need counseling?

Most people assume that counseling for couples is for couples that are on the brink of splitting up as a last-ditch effort. However, this is not always the case. Some counseling sessions are for serious reasons such as when one or both spouses have had an affair. However, there are many situations that aren't this serious where counseling can help a couple.

Some examples of these instances include when a couple is struggling with their communication skills. This leads to couples having a breakdown in other areas of their relationship as well. It can be difficult for the couple to sort through their own situation to determine where the 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 won't do.

Couples therapy is also recommended when one individual in the relationship is struggling through something like anxiety, depression, or past emotional pain. While the actual symptoms may only be impacting one person in the relationship it still impacts the relationship and the other person. A counselor can help to treat the person that is struggling while also help 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 significant other through this difficult time.

Improving Communications With Couple Counseling Techniques

Couples therapy isn't always viewed as a primary treatment for depressed individuals, but it is an excellent concurrent therapy as depressed individuals are both affected, and they affect their partners. Patients with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression have a very high divorce rate. The interaction provided in therapy allows the couple to examine their own behaviors and provides immediate feedback on the success of a new skill.

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Poor communications aren't necessarily the result of a poor choice of words. Couples may be sending out the wrong signals through body language, avoidance of their emotional state or burying issues. A couple's therapist helps them draw on their feelings and explore the things that may have gone wrong in a relationship.

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

The Comfortable Environment

Happiness isn't just about what goes on inside the mind, but how well the personal needs are being met. Anxieties and depression can be the result of unresolved grief, with the symptoms coming to the surface much later in life. It can be the troubling conflict of role disputes or role transitions. The effective couple's therapist creates a comfort zone for identifying the personal issues and exploring solutions that will meet the 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 in opening up. However, it's eventually a good idea for the couple to attend therapy together to see how the new information and changes can be incorporated into the relationship and what the new needs are as a result.

The Couple that Meditates Together, Stays Together

Statistics on how frequently anxiety disorders and depression affect relationships is elusive, but depression will often cause a couple to seek therapy, fearful that the disorder will lead to divorce. Depression, stated by experts, doesn't necessarily lead to divorce, but is rather the consequence of not addressing the disorder.

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Meditation and relaxation techniques play a strong role in creating an effective treatment for couples. Depression and anxiety affect the mental state of the partner as well as the patient. The person suffering an anxiety disorder may transfer stress or may have lost interest in sexual activity. The person who isn't depressed may feel cheated and see the unhappiness as a failed marriage.

Relaxation techniques are generally easier to perform when the techniques are shared between the 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 and strengthen their relationship.


Seeing an online therapist, as a couple or an individual, can give valuable insight into the relationship. The therapist doesn't cast blame but seeks to mediate between the couple, helping the depressed person to understand how he or she is contributing to the problem. At the same time, the therapist helps to avoid scapegoating. If a person's anxieties are seen as the cause of a faltering relationship, this could lead to greater depression.

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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 their problems.

Online counseling sessions can be a good fit for couples because it allows them to attend sessions from the comfort of their home. Or, if couples have busy schedules or because of their marital issues have a hard time being in the same room as the other person, online counseling can help them 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 counseling 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 counseling office they can still get the help that they need while being in the security 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.

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