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Does Couples Therapy Work?

Statistics show couples therapy is effective for most couples.

90 percent of people who attended couples therapy reported improvements in their emotional health, according to a recent study of marriage and family therapy by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

In this article, you will discover what couples therapy is and how it might help you improve areas of your relationship.

It is true, all marriages suffer ups and downs. Arguments, disagreements, and bickering are occurring in most marriages across America. Also happening in marriages are happy times, laughing, sharing, loving and making positive memories.

It is these good times, among other various factors, that make the marriage worth fighting for. It is nearly impossible to have an argument free marriage, especially when you and your partner can be so different at times.

During the down times, seeking couples therapy is one beneficial way to get back to the good times quickly and respectfully.

What is Couples Therapy?

There are times when a couple has tried what they know to resolve issues in their marriage. Despite their best efforts, they are still struggling. This is an opportune time to choose couples therapy.

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist is an individual, with a master’s degree in the field of relationships. Therapy should be a safe space where emotions, feelings, and behaviors are exhibited appropriately, with the goal of helping the relationship to survive and thrive.

What Couples Therapy is Not

Couples therapy is set up for positive solutions. It is not a place where you can just show up and complain. You must be willing to put in the effort to make changes.

Couples therapy is not a place where the therapist does all the talking and you and your partner sit and listen. You will be expected to become active participants in the healing of your relationship.

The therapy session does not end after your one-hour session with your therapist each week. You will be expected to continue practicing techniques learned in between sessions.

Couples therapy is not something that can be done once a month or as needed. It is effective when you consistently attend treatment to work on changes needed to help your relationship improve.

Couples therapy is not a one-stop shop for all of your problems. Couples therapy focuses on feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that can be managed and changed for positive solutions.

For example, if you have medical problems, these will need to be discussed with a medical professional. If you have financial problems, a financial counselor is best for treatment.

Why Is Couples Therapy Effective?

Many trained and licensed marriage and family therapists have long-term experience working with couples who have experienced similar issues as you and your partner.

Therapists are trained in various couples theories that provide tools for improvement that work. It may be helpful to ask the therapist you are considering to work with if they are married and how much of their practice consists of working with couples, to determine their experience in this area?  Another helpful question, is to ask what theories of couples work do they focus their treatment on when working with couples?

Therapists make great mediators so you both feel heard in your conversations, and so one of you does not dominate the conversation. They can also provide you with activities geared to improve your relationship. These include communication, conflict resolution, and even intimacy building.

Does Couples Therapy Work?

According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 90 percent of people who attended couples therapy reported improvements in their mental health.

So, does couples therapy work?

Yes, studies repeatedly indicate couples therapy works for most couples. The majority of people who received couples therapy expressed improvement in their relationship after completing couples therapy. 

With that said, couples therapy is not guaranteed to work for every couple. 

Upon entering couples counseling, both you and your partner need to be willing participants in fixing your problems. You need to be a team, on the same page, trying to repair your relationship. If only one of you invests in the counseling process, it is unlikely therapy will be successful.

Couples who are abusive, whether physically or verbally, must eliminate abusive behaviors before therapy can succeed. If the abuse continues, therapy will not work.

Commitment to therapy is important, just like commitment to your partner. Couples therapy can take many months. Rarely are problems fixed within just one or two weeks of therapy. If a couple does not commit to consistent therapy, it may not succeed.

You must remember, it took many years of issues to build up before you decided to seek help. Fixing these issues will not happen overnight.

What Can You Do to Get the Most Out of Couples Therapy?

Having an open mind about the possibilities of success in couples therapy. What you believe is likely what will happen. If you believe your relationship can be saved and become great again, it will likely happen.

Be willing to change. You and your partner have created the problems that exist. This means you both will need to make changes to solve the problems. Relationships take two people, it takes two to solve the issues also. Work as a team.

Commitment is one of the greatest characteristics of success in couple’s therapy. Most of the time, you will feel better about your situation after leaving a counseling session. You may not always feel like attending but once you go, you leave with more hope and excitement for change.