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Finding a Couples Therapist With the Right Couples Therapy Techniques

Most couples therapists agree that one partner isn’t always responsible for relationship problems, but many also recognize that the behavior of both partners contribute to issues. Couples therapy is designed to address maladaptive communication patterns and help both partners learn ways to constructively manage negative feelings, restore trust and rekindle the feelings that originally attracted them to each other.

Couples therapy may be necessary for a variety of reasons, from navigating a major life change like having children to dealing with resentment and anger over past mistakes that are now causing friction. Even minor issues can create a roadblock that feels impossible to overcome, such as fighting over laundry, disagreements over household chores or parental responsibilities. Regardless of the issue, finding the right couples therapist is key to overcoming these obstacles.

A therapist who is familiar with common¬†couples therapy techniques can provide a more structured approach to the process, while assisting both partners in developing coping skills and breaking old patterns of conflict. Keeping the end goals of couples counseling in mind, a therapist can help patients develop a plan to reach their desired destination and make sure they’re on the right track throughout each session.

The type of therapy a patient and their partner choose will determine how effective the sessions will be. Emotionally focused therapy uses strategies such as reflective listening to encourage healthy communication, while behavioral couples therapy teaches the specific behaviors that contribute to relationship discord and divorce. Some therapists use Gottman method couples therapy, which is built around the research of John and Julie Gottman, who have identified several patterns, such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling or withdrawal, that are associated with conflict, mistrust and eventually divorce.

During the first few sessions, it is important to establish expectations for the couple’s progress. It’s crucial to remind both partners that their behavior is a big factor in the success of the therapy, and they must both commit to working on it. If one partner feels the therapist is biased or taking sides, this can create more tension and lead to a lack of motivation to attend weekly sessions.

It’s also important to remind patients that the goal of couples therapy is to improve the relationship and build trust. Using positive language to describe the process of healing, such as “growing closer together” or “building a stronger connection,” can help patients stay motivated throughout the process.

It’s important for couples to find the right therapist for their needs, and this usually involves researching local practitioners who are licensed in marriage and family therapy. Visiting websites that list therapists by area, specialization and the types of insurance they accept can be helpful in narrowing down options. Some couples also rely on recommendations from friends and family members or their primary care physicians.

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