Couples Therapy

What is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy). A licensed therapist with clinical experience works with couples in romantic relationships. 

During therapy, partners gain insight into their relationship, resolve conflict, and improve relationship satisfaction using various therapeutic interventions. Although behavioral relationship counseling techniques can vary depending on a therapist’s experience and the needs of the couple, most involve the following general elements:

1. A focus on a specific problem (i.e., sexual difficulties, Internet addiction, intimacy, jealousy)

2. Active participation as the couples therapist treats the relationship as one, rather than everyone separately

3. Solution-focused, change-oriented interventions early on in treatment

4. A clear establishment of objectives

Is couples therapy worth the time and effort? Studies show it is. Research conducted by the American Association of Marriage and Family found that over 97% of surveyed couples believe they got the help they needed from couples therapy. In addition, 93% of couples said therapy gave them more effective tools for dealing with conflict.

What to Expect in Couples Therapy

Most couples come away from a therapy session with a greater understanding of their relational patterns and the necessary skills to effectively communicate and problem-solve with their partners. Not sure what to expect from therapy? We broke down the process for you.


Getting started


Typically, the first counseling session begins with standard interview questions about the relationship’s history. You’ll likely also deep dive into each partner’s family of origin, values, and cultural background. The therapist or marriage counselor might use the initial sessions for crisis intervention if necessary.


A therapist might also begin identifying any issues that will be a focus during treatment. This is an effective way to establish treatment goals and the structure for each counseling session.


Ongoing sessions


During treatment, your therapist will help you gain insight into the dynamics causing problems in your relationship. They’ll guide you and your partner to understand your roles in dysfunctional interactions. This greater insight into relationship issues and distress will help change how you perceive the relationship and each other.


Couples therapy exercises outside sessions


Although gaining insight is important, another critical aspect of couples therapy involves changing behaviors. Couples therapists will often assign partners homework so you can apply the skills you learn in treatment to your day-to-day interactions.

Benefits of Couples Therapy 


Couple therapy can be a powerful way to change the course of your relationship so both partners can be happy, fulfilled, and satisfied in the relationship. Other benefits of couples therapy include: