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What to Expect from Couples Therapy

What to Expect from Couples Therapy

What to Expect from Couples Therapy

Published: January 24, 2023

There are many reasons why couples seek counseling. For example, the couple wants to develop skills before moving into a more committed long term relationship or marriage. Other couples might be going through a difficult time and therapy seems the only solution for having a healthy relationship again. Or, there may have been a significant change that is causing problems within the relationship.

Whatever the reasons, such therapy can help develop healthy relationships, and there can be amazing benefits to couples therapy - however, if you are wondering how it works and what to expect, this article provides you with essential information on couples therapy sessions.

What Makes Couples Therapy Useful?

Understanding Couples Therapy

At some point, most couples would have had all the necessary skills to make their relationship work, but over time they might have forgotten the importance of them and how to use them or there has been unexpected stress on the relationship or marriage due to a wide variety of situations. In such situations, couples counseling or therapy can help them remember how to use such tools.

This type of therapy session is designed for couples who are experiencing relationship or marriage problems. For that, a licensed therapist experienced in relationship therapy will work with the couple during therapy sessions with both partners present.

Therapy can help couples or sometimes those in the period just before marriage.

Benefits of Couples Counseling and Couples Therapy

Many couples assume they should be able to resolve their conflicts between themselves. However, there is no shame in asking for help from professionals.

Couples therapy or relationship counseling can help the relationship in many ways, including:

  • To strengthen the foundations of their relationship
  • To point out the root of their relationship issues
  • To improve their communication skills
  • To resolve past traumas
  • To identify negative patterns and develop new skills that are more beneficial
  • To learn how to handle disagreements and conflicts in a healthy way

Marriage Counseling Vs. Couples Therapy

Both marriage counseling and couples therapy are made to help those who are dealing with stress in their relationship, and the goal is to provide the skills to do so.

Whether you are married or not, couples therapy is a commitment that usually involves many sessions, depending on the level of distress in the relationship.

Marriage counseling sessions are sometimes chosen by yet-to-marry couples who want to strengthen the foundations of their relationship and learn healthy ways to conduct future conflicts.

On the other hand, couples therapy works as an attempt to revert the conflicts and avoid separation and divorce.

Signs Your Relationship Needs Therapy

Signs Your Relationship Needs Therapy

Sometimes couples wait too long and make the decision to get help from a professional after the problems have already become serious. Below are details of the common cracks that may be appearing within your relationship. If you recognize some of these situations in your own relationship, it could be time to seek therapy.

Unhealthy Communication and Distance

You might be experiencing an unhealthy communication habit or even no communication at all between you and your partner. These communication issues could reflect in the lack of meaningful conversations between the two of you, with only small talk during dinner or even silence.

There may also be a feeling the two of you are growing apart, and it seems impossible to make the distance between you disappear. In the same way, you treat each other as housemates, and it seems like raising your children is the only reason the marriage still exists.

This, in turn, might be having an impact on your sex life and leading to physical intimacy issues. This is perfectly normal, as people tend to withhold affection when they don't feel connected with their partner.

Daily Conflicts

All couples have fights from time to time, but some may get stuck in a conflict cycle. This means you and your partner have frequent arguments and disagreements about important matters such as money, but also the daily habits and minutiae of one or other partner. Such arguments may take place both in person or, when apart, through text messages.

Usually, regarding the topic of the argument, it feels like each conflict drains your energy and does not lead to anything positive. The cycle seems to be vicious, and you are both stuck in a process of attacking one another and defending yourself.

Moreover, suppose these regular conflicts are far from being approached respectfully. In that case, it is important to consider seeking help from a therapist that can help you and your partner within a calm and safe environment.


Infidelity is perhaps the factor that threatens committed relationships the most, and in the majority of cases, the couple needs therapy to help overcome this issue.

Unfortunately, if you find yourself in this situation, remember couples therapy will not necessarily make your partner's affair go away. A therapist can only help you talk about it in an attempt to discover the underlying reason why the affair happened - only you can decide whether the marriage is worth saving.

Feeling Unloved

The truth is, after being married for some years, the sparks may disappear. This includes surprises and spontaneous romantic dates or going out of one's way to make romantic and loving gestures.

However, even if the spark does not feel quite as bright as before, that does not mean the relationship is over. Even after being married for years, both you and your partner should make one another feel loved and respected.

If you feel far from that, therapy can be an efficient solution to work on why that is and attempt to rekindle the relationship.

Recurring Thoughts About Divorce

If you are feeling unhappy within your committed relationship or marriage and catch yourself regularly considering divorce, it is certainly time to communicate this to your partner and consider the benefits of therapy sessions. There may be factors that make it feel almost impossible to leave - these may be your children or your fear of being alone and making the wrong decision - but if there is still a tiny hope of a different outcome, know therapy can help.

Types of Couples Therapy

Generally, the sessions will be attended by both you and your partner and the therapist.

Sometimes the couples therapy sessions may involve other family members that might also be affected by the issues, such as children, altogether with a family therapist.

This is crucial as the younger family members can manifest their own issues to deal with the stress caused by the family breakdown, such as alcohol or substance misuse or other mental health conditions.

Other times, after an initial session - the therapist may suggest taking one or two individual sessions if they consider it necessary and useful for individual treatment. However, afterward, the relationship therapy will involve both of you.

What to Expect from Couples Therapy?

In the first session, you may expect it to feel intimidating. But it is important to remember it is a safe space for you and your partner. The first session helps the therapist understand the couple's dynamic and learn about their weaknesses and points to work on during future sessions.

You can expect to be asked about both individual histories and your history as a couple by the relationship therapist for them to have the complete picture before deciding the course of action.

The best way to approach the first few sessions of couples therapy is to maintain an open mind and be honest.

The number of sessions that will be needed depends entirely on the couples' progress.

Remember, the couples therapist is there to provide you and your partner with tools for the two of you to reunite on the same page and make a positive change for your future together.

Ultimately, therapy is a great chance to get the result you want and try to avoid the breakdown of your relationship and avoid divorce.

Tips for Couples Therapy Sessions

Tips for Couples Therapy Sessions

  • Make sure both you and your partner are committed to the therapeutic process
  • Don't give up after the first therapy session, as you need at least a few to see results and the long-term benefits
  • Don't let your fears stop you from attending therapy sessions
  • Openly discuss how you feel with both your partner and the therapist
  • Do your homework assignments
  • Trust your couples therapist, even if, at times, they make you feel like the antagonist
  • Don't be ashamed of talking about past experiences and how you are really feeling

GIA Miami Treatment Center

At GIA Miami, we offer couples therapy to help you with your relationship issues - to identify and resolve conflicts between you and your partner. Our professional therapists create a safe space where you can work through issues together, avoiding escalation and ensuring that both voices are equally heard.

Together with our trained couples therapists, we help you build mutually supportive relationships that help you heal and develop communication skills that lay the foundations for lasting mental wellness in your relationship together and in wider life.

If you believe your relationship could use couples therapy, please contact us today to discuss your options.

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