Relationship demands attention and care. Each partner is required to make efforts and support each other to build a healthy, emotional connection. It’s common for couples to experience some disagreements, but if conflicts escalate, it may cause stress and regret for both parties.
If you find yourself in a situation where you and your partner are facing conflicts and are seeking some support to improve your relationship, couples therapy is a valuable resource. The therapy offers a chance to examine patterns and acquire the necessary skills to fortify your relationship.
Through various exercises and discussions in couple’s therapy, you can develop effective communication techniques to improve your connection.
If you’ve ever pondered the inner workings of couple’s therapy, read on for a better understanding.
What is Online Couples Counselling?
Couples therapy, often called marriage or relationship counselling, is a form of psychological support and guidance designed to help couples navigate and resolve issues. When this therapy session is conducted via the Internet, then it’s called online counselling. Various platforms provide secure video sessions.
Online therapy or e-therapy shares similarities with traditional therapy but employs different mediums such as text, email, or video chats for communication. A licensed therapist typically guides the couple through exercises and communication practices during these sessions. The overarching goal is to enhance the relationship’s quality, strengthen the bond, deepen emotional connections, and effectively resolve conflicts.
Online couples therapy provides various benefits, mirroring the advantages of traditional in-person counselling, all accessible through the convenience of the Internet. Here’s a closer look at the key benefits of online couples therapy:
- Couples with Demanding Schedules
Many couples have busy lives with demanding work commitments and family responsibilities. Online therapy allows them to fit counselling into their schedules at their convenience. It eliminates the additional time and effort required for travelling to a therapist’s office, making it a more practical option for their lifestyles.
- Individuals Living in Remote or Isolated Areas
Being present for in-person therapy services can be challenging or even impossible for couples residing in remote or isolated areas. Online couples therapy closes this geographical gap, making professional counselling accessible to couples in remote locations without needing long and arduous travel.
- People Who Find Public Outings or Commuting Stressful
Some individuals experience discomfort and stress regarding public outings or commuting. This can make in-person therapy sessions difficult. Online therapy provides a relaxed and less stressful setting for those who prefer to avoid public spaces or the potential anxiety associated with travel.
- Couples Who Prefer Privacy
Privacy is a significant concern for many couples when discussing personal and relationship matters. Online therapy enables them to have these conversations in the comfort and seclusion of their environment. This private setting encourages open and honest communication without the fear of being overheard in a therapist’s office.
- Couples with Disabilities
For couples where one or both partners have disabilities that hinder their ability to attend in-person therapy, online therapy offers a practical solution. It accommodates their needs, ensuring they can access therapeutic support without facing physical barriers or discomfort.
The online couple’s therapy structure typically involves each partner taking turns expressing their concerns and grievances while the other actively listens. The therapist is facilitative, steering the conversation with pertinent questions to help the couple reach mutual understanding and agreement.
As with any therapy, the number of sessions required varies and is determined by the couple’s specific needs and the therapist’s guidance. While some couples may achieve resolution in months, others may find ongoing sessions beneficial over several years.
When Should I See a Couples Counsellor?
Couples often deal with disagreements about finances, household responsibilities, intimacy, extended family dynamics, parenting, careers, and more. A couple’s counsellor is a valuable resource, imparting essential relationship skills, identifying and addressing problematic behaviours, and assisting in resolving relationship challenges.
According to research, Behavioural couple’s therapy provides a means to address these issues and encourage effective communication. Empirical evidence suggests that it positively impacts approximately 70% of relationships, making it a worthwhile investment in relationship health.
On the other hand, cognitive-behavioural therapy works best when couples can have sessions every week rather than waiting for a month. Online couples counselling, using video or phone calls, makes this more convenient, enabling couples to have more frequent sessions and consistently focus on their relationship.
It’s crucial to dispel the myth that therapy is a last resort for failing relationships. In reality, seeking professional guidance early often leads to better outcomes. Couples counselling can also function as a proactive measure, enabling couples to establish a strong foundation of healthy communication and enhance their relationship skills.
The key takeaway is that seeking professional help when issues arise or persist is a sensible decision. Even if your relationship is currently stable, couples counselling can be a valuable tool to bolster resilience and prevent potential future issues.
Couples Therapy Techniques
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Couples often choose Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a structured and effective counselling method to tackle their relationship issues. It addresses issues related to communication, conflict resolution, or intimacy. By modifying thought patterns and behaviours, CBT empowers couples with practical strategies to navigate their unique challenges.
Another benefit of CBT in couples counselling is that it promotes a more profound understanding between partners, fostering empathy and emotional connection. By focusing on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours, couples can build healthier dynamics and create a more harmonious and fulfilling relationship.
- Behavioural Couples Therapy
Behavioural Couples Therapy, often called BCT, is a specific approach involving the individual seeking help for alcohol or substance abuse and their partner in the therapeutic process. This therapy has two primary goals: to improve the couple’s relationship quality while offering robust support for achieving and sustaining abstinence.
Therapists guide couples through essential skills such as active listening, expressing emotions, and negotiation. BCT also incorporates ‘recovery contracts’ as a distinctive element, establishing daily routines that offer rewards for maintaining abstinence and reinforcing the commitment to recovery within the context of the relationship.
- Solution-Focused Therapy
Solution-focused therapy is beneficial when at least one explicit issue is causing problems between partners. This therapy concentrates on quickly tackling the problem, with the therapist guiding the couple in finding solutions that benefit both. Instead of dwelling on the problem, this approach encourages couples to find a positive and constructive solution.
Therapists encourage couples to imagine a future where the issue no longer affects their relationship. It motivates partners to work together to find solutions and create a healthier and happier relationship.
- Emotion-Focused Therapy
In couples counselling, Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) delves into how individuals process their experiences, especially their emotional responses, and examines the patterns of interaction between partners. The therapist aims to guide the distressed couple away from inflexible and harmful reactions, steering them toward more sensitive and adaptable responses that nurture intimate and secure bonds.
- The Gottman Method
The Gottman Method, developed by Dr. John Gottman, is prominent in couples counselling. This method focuses on improving problem-solving skills and recognizing harmful behaviours within the relationship. It delves deep into understanding the dynamics of relationships, providing couples with tools and insights to nurture a healthier and more robust partnership.
In the broader field of couples counselling, various evidence-based approaches are tailored to specific circumstances and needs. Therapists carefully select the most appropriate method based on the couple’s unique objectives and challenges. They may also adjust and combine therapeutic techniques to ensure couples benefit from counselling, ultimately reinforcing their relationship.
- Narrative Therapy
In Narrative Couples Therapy, the therapist works together with the couple to understand the stories or ‘narratives’ they tell about their relationship. They focus on identifying the circumstances in these stories, which shape how the couple thinks, feels, and acts in their relationship.
The therapist’s job is to help the couple create a new, more positive narrative while challenging and changing the negative ones. This process involves exploring the experiences, emotions, and values that the couple shares, which leads to a better mutual understanding of their relationship.
Narrative Couples Therapy aims to improve how the couple interacts and behaves, ultimately strengthening their relationship.
What You Should Ask a Therapist When Going for Online Couples Counselling
When you and your partner are considering couples counselling, it’s essential to be prepared and have some questions to ask the therapist. These questions can help you understand the process, set expectations, and ensure that you find the right therapist for your needs.
Here are some questions to consider:
- What is your approach to couples counselling? This question will help you understand the therapist’s therapeutic style and approach.
- What is your experience with couples therapy? It’s essential to know the therapist’s background and level of expertise in working with couples.
- What should we expect from the counselling process? Understanding the overall structure and what to expect during sessions can help you prepare mentally.
- How long does each session typically last, and how often should we come in for sessions? Knowing the time commitment and frequency is essential for scheduling and planning.
- What are your qualifications and credentials? You want to ensure the therapist is licensed and has the appropriate training.
- What is your philosophy on confidentiality in couples therapy? It’s crucial to understand how your personal information will be handled.
- Do you have specific areas of expertise in couples counselling, such as infidelity, communication, or intimacy issues? You may want a therapist with expertise in a particular area, depending on your specific concerns.
- How do you handle disagreements or conflicts that may arise during counselling sessions? Understanding the therapist’s approach to managing conflicts within the therapy is crucial.
- What is your success rate with couples you’ve worked with? While no therapist can guarantee success, they should be able to provide an idea of their general outcomes.
- What will be our roles and responsibilities during the therapy process? Knowing what is expected of you and your partner can help you engage fully in the process.
Don’t hesitate to ask these questions and any others you may have. The answers to these questions can help you make an informed decision and set the stage for a successful couples counselling experience.
How effective is Online Couples Counselling?
Online couples counselling delivers results comparable to in-person counselling. Research suggests that online therapy can be as effective as traditional face-to-face counselling, as indicated in a 2019 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, where most couples who tried online therapy reported finding the experience both beneficial and positive.
Studies and feedback from couples who have engaged in online therapy indicate that couples report similar levels of satisfaction with their treatment compared to traditional treatment. The privacy and comfort of one’s own space can also promote more open and honest communication, contributing to the effectiveness of online couples therapy.
Several factors contribute to the effectiveness of online counselling. One of the significant advantages is the convenience and accessibility it offers, eliminating barriers related to scheduling and geographical location and encouraging consistent participation. Couples who go through online therapy have shown progress. This effective evidence-based treatment can help couples with relationship problems, addressing communication, intimacy, and psychological distress.
For some couples, the reduced stress associated with online therapy is particularly beneficial, especially if they have anxiety related to public outings or find travelling to a therapist’s office daunting. Online therapy is tailored to each couple’s unique needs, with therapists guiding them through exercises and communication practices designed to improve their relationship dynamics.
However, one concern associated with online couples therapy is the challenges of forming a therapeutic alliance. Previous research has suggested that the therapeutic alliance, which is clients’ relationship with their therapist that helps them feel safe and understood, plays a crucial role in therapy outcomes.
Therefore, couples need to choose a qualified and experienced therapist who can adapt their approach to the online format and the couple’s specific needs.