Even the most loving and healthy relationships take work. In fact, if anyone ever tells you they never disagree with their spouse and everything is perfect all the time, you should take it with a grain of salt. If this is true, it indicates that they aren’t really talking about their issues, and beneath that perfection illusion may lurk some deeper problems that aren’t being addressed. Even though every relationship will have its ups and downs, many couples feel ashamed when they’re having relational problems. They may have the impression that because they love each other, sharing a life together should be easy, but this simply isn’t true.
What is Couples Counseling?
Couples counseling is a type of therapy with a licensed therapist who is experienced working with couples, most often a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). While the structure of sessions will vary from therapist to therapist and couple to couple, in general, couples therapy will involve:
- Identifying the specific problem (i.e. lack of trust, infidelity, addiction, sexual dysfunction)
- Addressing the issues within the relationship, not the separate individuals
- A solution-focused approach that requires change from both parties
- Clearly laid-out goals for treatment
Do We Need Couples Therapy?
Couples of all kinds can benefit from counseling, whether they are married or dating, young or older, straight or queer. There are many reasons why people seek couples counseling and it doesn’t necessarily mean their relationship is in trouble. Some couples choose to seek counseling before they get married to ensure they are communicating in a healthy way. That being said, many other couples put off going to therapy together until their relationship has essentially already ended. The key is for both partners to be invested in the future success of the relationship and open to changing the way they interact with each other.