There are many people who wonder what is couples therapy and what they should expect should they go for the therapy.  It is important that you know what is couples therapy as this will ensure you know if you need it.  Once you know what is couples therapy, you will need to know what to expect.  This will help you enter the therapy with an open mind and get the benefits that you and your partner needs.

What Is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at helping couples recognize and resolve conflicts to improve their relationship.  The therapy will be provided by a licensed therapist who specializes in their form of therapy.  Not all licensed therapists will offer this form of therapy and you need to find a specialist to get the full benefits.

Couples therapy will involve both partners, but there are some occasions where only one partner will work with the therapist.  These sessions will be part of the therapy plan which is created by the therapist.  What is discussed in these sessions may be talked about in couple’s therapy, but may also be kept confidential.

Why You Need Couples Therapy

There are many reasons why you might need couples therapy and this form of therapy can help with a range of issues.  Any couple could benefit from therapy for any type of relationship.  There are some couples who look at couples therapy to strengthen their bond and gain a better understanding of each other.  There are other couples who benefit from therapy before they get married to ensure that they enter their marriage understanding each other and having sorted out any problems they might have.

If you have communication problems in your relationship, you should consider therapy because the therapist will be able to teach you healthy communication pathways.  Couples who have conflicts about how to raise their children, financial problems, infidelity and substance abuse can also benefit from therapy.  In some cases of domestic abuse, therapy could be helpful.  However, if the violence has escalated to the point where one partner is afraid, therapy will not help and emergency support should be contacted.

How To Prepare For Therapy

There are many people who wonder how they can prepare for couples therapy.  There is very little that can be done to prepare other than entering the therapy with an open mind.  You will also need to take the time to find the right therapist for your relationship.

There are a number of ways that you can find a therapist with the best being to ask your primary care physician for a referral.  Your friends and family may also be able to help you find a therapist if you are comfortable talking to them about this.  If you are uncomfortable talking to those closest to you about your need for a therapist, you could contact your health insurer.  This is the best option if you would like the insurance to cover the costs of the therapy sessions as they will only recommend therapists within their insurance network.

If you belong to a religious organization it is possible that they will also offer this form of therapy.  Of course, you should only take this therapy route if both parties in the relationship are comfortable.  If only one party is comfortable with this therapy the benefits will not be felt by either partner.  In these cases, local mental health agencies should be able to help.

Before you book an appointment with the therapist you will need to consider certain points.  The first is the education and experience that the therapist has.  They should also be licensed in the state that you are in and accredited by the AAMFT.  You should consider asking the therapist if they have experience with the issues that you have in your relationship.  The more experience the therapist has with your problem the better for your sessions.

The office hours and the location of the office should also be considered.  The hours they offer need to work for everyone.  You should also find out if the therapist would be available in case of an emergency.  There are many therapists who offer an emergency service and you should consider this if your situation requires it.

The length of the sessions and the number of sessions needed should also be considered.  It is important to note that the therapist may not be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of the treatment plan length.  Most therapists will have sessions of an hour long, but some may have shorter sessions and you need to be aware of this.

The costs of the therapy should also be looked at.  If you have not used your insurance provider to find the therapist, you need to ask if they work with your insurance provider.  You should ask how much the therapist charges per session and if you need to have pre-approval for the insurance to cover the costs.

What To Expect From The Therapy

While it is impossible to prepare yourself for therapy, you should look at what you could expect from the sessions.  Knowing what to expect will help you remain calm when you are in the therapy session.  The first point you should expect is the therapist to ask a lot of questions in the first session.

While the questions the therapist will ask may seem basic, they can be hard to answer.  The hardest question will be why you are in therapy and it is worth taking the time to prepare an answer with your partner.  Most couples will be unhappy for many years before they seek therapy.  After this amount of time, it can be hard to narrow down the root of the problem so you should not leave it for the first session.

There are other questions that will be asked such as your history and you will need to be open.  If you are not open with the therapist, they will not be able to help.  Honesty is also important when you answer the questions the therapist asks you.  Depending on the reason why you are in therapy, the therapist may want to ask questions separately.  This could be done in different portions of the sessions or in separate appointments.

You should also expect the therapy sessions to be uncomfortable.  No-one has fun when they are dealing with their problems and it is less fun when you have to deal with problems in your relationship.  Due to the uncomfortable nature of the sessions, you should not expect the first few sessions to produce any results.

During the sessions, you may find out information about the other person in your relationship that you never knew.  You may also let something slip that you never imagined was true.  Couples therapy has the potential to be negative and positive, but this is all part of the therapy process.  There may be sessions that are passed in silence where you and your partner seethe over perceived wrongs or you could spend the entire session yelling at each other.  Both of these situations are fine and will actually help your relationship as the therapist acts as a mediator to help you cope with the emotions you feel.

How Many Sessions Will You Need?

There is no way of telling how many sessions of therapy you are going to need.  If you tackle some of your major problems early, you may only need a few sessions to get through all of the problems.  It is possible that your relationship may feel better after the first session, but this is unlikely and you should not expect this.

In some cases, it can take months or years to work through all of the problems in your relationship.  If the therapist that you choose is good at what they do and has experience with your problems, this should not be the case.  The primary issue is getting to the root problem in your relationship which can be difficult if you have waited years before going to therapy.

The therapist should be able to teach you how to deal with your problems without their help.  This could be through correct communication techniques or simply gaining a better understanding of each other.  If you do not feel that there has been any progress or your relationship becomes worse over the course of the therapy, you might want to consider looking at a different therapist.

Each therapist will have a different method of working with couples.  It is important that you find a therapist that works in a way that you are comfortable with and will be open to.  If you or your partner is uncomfortable, you should look for a different therapist because both partners being comfortable are the only way to gain the benefits of therapy.  You should also find a therapist that does not blatantly choose sides because this will alienate one-half of the couple.

What Are The Alternatives?

There are some people who wonder what the alternatives to couples therapy are.  Trying to work through your problems yourself is one of the options.  However, this may not work because communication could be the problem with your relationship.  If this is the case, working through the problems will not work as you will not be able to correctly communicate.

Another option is to end the marriage or relationship due to the problems.  This may not be the best option for everyone.  Many couples who want to make their relationship work through therapy will not want to end their relationship.  If you have children, ending the relationship without any mediation will not be the best option for your family.  Working through your relationship problems will help not only you, but your entire family.

Couples therapy is something that many people consider to help with the problems that they have in their relationship.  It is important that you consider who should be going for therapy and what you should be looking at in a therapist.  There are certain questions to ask the therapist before you book an appointment and you need to ensure that they are licensed in your state.  You should also consider what you can expect from the therapy such as the questions which will be asked, how many sessions you will need and how long you may have to wait for progress to be made.  You should also consider what the alternatives to therapy are if you are uncomfortable with the idea of therapy.