The idea of participating in couple’s therapy can be pretty frightening to a lot of people, especially when someone has never been in therapy before and doesn’t know what to expect. Once you have a better understanding about the nature of how couple’s therapy works, it might be easier to consider seeking outside help.
The main purpose for couple’s therapy is for you and your partner to make sense of what is going on in your relationship, when things are not working anymore, and to find new ways to solve your problems.
If for instance, the two of you are having difficulties communicating with each other, the therapist will guide you through your struggles, help you figure out what the issues are and assist you to find better coping mechanisms and communication skills.
There are different issues couples struggle with and often they don’t know how to move forward on their own. It could be problems with their sex-life, an affair, money issues, disagreements about parenting, difficulties with the in-laws, constant fights without the possibility to ever solve any problems, or simply having reached a place where the relationship has become stale and both partners started living like roommates under the same roof without any real connection anymore. They have tried to speak to each other to solve their problems, but won’t seem to get each others points across and have grown apart left with feeling resentful and perhaps lonely.
If both partners are still invested in the relationship and are longing for a restoration once they engage in the treatment, couple’s therapy can do wonders. It can help couples of all types recognize and resolve conflicts and improve their relationship. Couples therapy requires the participation of both partners, since each person contibutes to the struggles and sometimes each or only one partner might need additional individual therapy, depending on the couples circumstances and what each persons individual needs are.
If your partner refuses to join you for couple’s therapy and you decide to work through things on your own, your personal growth can still affect your whole family unit in positive ways and you will gain more self-awareness to make better decisions.
In couple’s therapy, with the help of your psychologist, you should be able to talk about whatever issue you will bring to the session and have the ability to figure out what your issues are... If you are both open to give it a try and take ownership of your contribution to the problem, a lot of good can come out of the treatment. In the process of working through things, you will become more aware about what you are dealing with and with that new awareness you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or going your separate ways.
It is advised to see a therapist early, when problems first arise, since it will produce positive results much quicker. If you seek help after serious problems have already affected your relationship, it will most likely take much longer to untangle more complex problems or, trying to save the relationship might be already too late.
There are different theoretical orientations therapists do use when working with couples. Some styles might suit one couple better then another. However, one very important aspects for couple's therapy to work, has to do with both partners feeling comfortable, understood, trusting and having a good connection with their therapist.
Anette has been applying the concepts and methods of Imago Relationship Therapy that was created by Harville Hendrix, who wrote the book “Getting the love you want: A Guide for Couples”. Family Systems Theory, which coincides well with the concepts of Imago Therapy, is another theoretical background she draws from when working with couples and families.
What can you expect from couples therapy, once you found out that your partner had an affair?
In case you and your significant other have been dealing with infidelity issues, there is hope for rebuilding trust and a recommitment with each other is possible. If you are in proper professional care and still commited to your partner after the affair, open to forgive and the healing process during treatment, you will be on the right path for restoring your relationship. We have helped many couples who had to confront the painful reality of Infidelity and most of the ones that have worked through those issues, came out more happy and fulfilled in their relationship afterwards. There is a reason why people grow apart in their relationship, ending up having an affair. The therapeutic process can help each person to get a better understanding about him/herself & each other and with that create often a richer and more satisfying unity, then before. In most cases, the affair ends up being the catalyst for what is not working in the relationship in the first place. Once a couple has a better understanding on what is lacking, they can work on making the necessary changes and connect deeper as a result.