Relationship therapy can also be referred to as couple therapy, couples counselling or relationship counselling. Going to see a therapist with your partner can help maintain and enhance your healthy relationship, while on the other hand, it can help repair a struggling relationship or marriage.
Here is Relationship Therapy: All you need to know + 30 questions.
In this blog I am going to share with you the main aspects of relationship therapy. After reading this I want you and your partner(s) to feel comfortable enough to reach out to a local or online therapist.
Sometimes, relationships can be difficult. It is especially difficult when issues become too challenging for you and your partner to resolve and navigate alone.
Humans need love and affection to thrive, so don’t settle for an unhealthy relationship because it seems easier than admitting the problem exists, this wont help either of you or your mental health. No matter what’s causing trouble, there are always options available through mental health professionals – such as relationship therapy.
There are numerous reasons why couples seek relationship therapy – it’s not only when things take a turn for the worse or divorce appears to be on the horizon. Still, many people believe this to be the case or are uninformed about how it could mend or improve their relationship. For reasons like these, couples are hesitant to engage in relationship or marriage counseling because they aren’t exactly sure what it’s for, what they would say, or even if they feel comfortable saying it in front of their partner, whatever “it” is.
If your relationship is not one you are not ready to give up on nor is your family, you must believe that it could be better and more fulfilling, then relationship therapy is worth considering. Here are a few common reasons why couples seek it:
- You struggle to express your feelings to one another.
- You want your relationship to be stronger.
- You’re going through a stressful time together.
- You have one or more persistent disagreements that you cannot resolve alone.
- You have experienced infidelity.
- You struggle to make decisions as a team.
- It is a last ditch effort.
Relationship therapy is proven to be effective, but there are many things couples can do to make it more so. The essential thing is that you put in the time (which might include some homework) and be honest with your partner, therapist, and yourself.
What is relationship therapy?
Many types of therapies seek to improve or enhance relationships, no matter what their specific focus is. Typically, the term “relationship therapy” or relationship counselling refers to adults in romantic relationships. So people who seek relationship therapy are generally couples – sometimes close friends. But relationship therapy is similar to reunification therapy in that it could also be for family members (parents and children) or siblings.
Much like any other therapy, in the first few relationship therapy sessions, your therapist will focus on your history the problems you hope to solve. You and your partner should also discuss what you want out of treatment. That said, you should come prepared to not only answer questions about your current relationship, but relationship experiences you’ve had prior that may be impacting the one you have now. The therapist’s role is to help address your current relationship struggles and create a safe space where each person can discuss their feelings, needs, and thoughts.
A relationship therapist needs to get to know each person separately as there are countless reasons and struggles that couples seek therapy for. Not only that but there are various relationship theories and therapeutic approaches that therapists might use. For this reason, many couples will look to see which technique(s) a therapist is trained in before choosing one to move forward with.
Some common approaches of relationship therapy include:
- Reflective listening
- EFT (Emotionally focused therapy)
- Imago relationship therapy
- The Gottman method
- Narrative therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
How much is relationship counselling?
The average cost of relationship counseling ranges from $50 to $250 per hour. But like other forms of mental health treatment, the costs of relationship therapy will depend on:
- The type and length of the treatment.
- The therapist’s experience, training, and credentials.
- Your geographical location.
- Your insurance and co-payments.
Before beginning relationship therapy, you should note that the cost a therapist provides is typically per hour and not per session. If you plan to book multiple sessions, some therapists will offer discounts for package deals. Sliding scale therapists are also something to consider in this case.
But let’s dive into the bigger question here: whether this cost is worth it and if relationship counseling works. And the shower answer is yes.
Relationship therapy can heal your relationship, as sources like the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists state that 98% of couples consider relationship therapy successful.
In some cases, you may want to assess whether you need an alternative form of therapy (MDMA Therapy is on the track to be legalized) just for you or your partner instead of, or in conjunction with, relationship therapy. As sometimes, unhealthy relationships can underlie bigger mental health issues like anxiety or depression. This can especially be true for those who seek this form of therapy who have experienced addiction or potential abuse in their partnership.
What is a healing relationship therapy technique?
EFT, or emotionally focused therapy, is a healing relationship therapy technique used for building connections between people therapeutically.
EFT is based on attachment theory, and it’s the most studied style of relationship therapy. EFT is effective in improving emotional intimacy and healthy interdependency between couples or family members. Attachment theory is the idea that significant others serve as a secure base for exploring the world. On the other hand, if someone’s attachment is based in insecurity, it is likely related to attachment issues and styles as a child.
Online relationship counselling
Online relationship counselling is based on the same principles as face-to-face counselling. Relationship therapy online helps couples improve their communication and conflict resolution skills while simultaneously strengthening their emotional bond with each other. This results in overall improvement of the relationship quality.
The difference is that online counselling is more convenient for many people. Couples benefit from online counselling for many reasons, such as living in a different location from their partner. And of course, online counselling is ideal for busy schedules or lack of comfort with face-to-face counselling.
Online relationship counseling services utilize online chats, video sessions, and phone calls. You and your partner will still work to create goals that you would like to achieve in therapy, including addressing problems related to communication, arguments, or infidelity.
Relationship therapy exercises
One of the overarching goals of relationship therapy is to help couples see things from their partner’s perspective to improve conflict resolution. These are few relationship therapy exercises that couples might engage in to heal and enhance their relationship:
Understanding your partner's love language
Love language is the way your partner expresses and experiences love. For example, some people feel loved when you spend time getting to know their family or friends, whereas others feel close when you make time to cuddle up on the couch together for a movie night.
Sharing a list of wants with your partner
Sharing a list of the things you want from your partner could be a great exercise to follow the love language one. For instance, one person could write down a few things that their partner could do regularly to make them happier and share that aloud with their partner. This exercise helps build communication and trust because it reminds couples of how people all have different needs.
Listening to music with your significant other
This exercise is based on the idea that shared music tastes forges strong social bonds. You will each curate a playlist to share or take turns choosing songs that remind you of positive memories shared between you and your partner.
30 Couples Therapy Questions
Here are 30 questions that your couples therapy professional will most likely ask you. You and your partner can use these in two ways, one being you can ask each other them and having an honest conversation. Secondly by reading them before you go to your first therapy session, you will feel more at ease, less stressed and anxious.
If you are also going to therapy as individuals, which I suggest you do, read this blog post to help you get the conversation started as you sit one-on-one with your new therapist.
- How long have you been together?
- What made you seek professional help?
- What have you done before to improve your relationship, such as couples therapy before this?
- Do you trust your partner?
- What do you think is the most significant issue or trigger of arguments in your relationship?
- How would you describe your relationship?
- What are your expectations and goals of this relationship therapy?
- Do you feel close to your partner emotionally?
- What do you consider to be your biggest problem?
- When did it start?
- Are there any past conflicts that need to be resolved?
- What do you think is in the way of your relationship being as good as you want it to be?
- Are you happy? What could change for you to be happier in your relationship?
- Do you feel loved and accepted by your partner?
- How do you feel daily?How would you describe an ideal relationship?
- What are you willing to do to improve your relationship?
- What do you think your lives be like if you decide to separate?
- What do you love about your partner?
- What are the things you can’t stand about your partner?
- What do you love the most about your partner?
- Do you feel that your expectations for each other and your relationship are reasonable?
- Is jealousy an issue in your relationship?
- Are you doing things together that you both enjoy and value?
- What about your partner or relationship makes you feel stressed? When does it happen?
- Do you discuss conflicts as they arise or bottle things up?
- How would you describe your sex life?
- In what ways could you show each other your feelings better?
- How could you improve the communication in your relationship?
- Which aspects of your relationship do you wish were different? Are these wishes realistic?
- Where do you see this relationship in 10 years?
Relationship Therapy Conclusion
I hope this has helped build some confidence in you and your partner on the prospect of seeking professional help to better your physical, emotional and spiritual connection .
A good practice while seeing a relationship therapist is to also see separate therapists on your own. Investing in your mental health is one of the best investments you can make.
If you have seen a relationship therapist I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments on how it went… Good or bad.