Couples therapy, what to expect and when to reach out for support

Couples therapy, what to expect and when to reach out for support

Couples therapy holds the potential to transform your relationship. In pre-marital relationships, it helps to prevent difficulties in communication, resolve conflicts, and prepare for dealing with life transitions, being as well a safe space to discuss expectations, values and needs, among other important aspects that often remain unspoken.

What to Expect in Couples Therapy

Your journey in couples therapy begins with an initial assessment, in which we focus on understanding the dynamics of the relationship, the presenting problems and the expected goals for therapy. Sometimes, after this session, we suggest meeting the partners individually to gather more personal perspectives and histories.

The subsequent sessions focus on different aspects based on the couple’s requests. One of the primary goals is to improve mutual understanding by focusing on emotional communication, particularly in those situations that trigger tension or provoke conflicts. This means that we will be looking at underlying emotional needs, such as the need for validation, appreciation, safety, etc. As well as effective ways of expressing feelings and resolving conflicts constructively. 

We also focus on identifying patterns that contribute to conflicts, such as expectations, differences in values, perceptions, ways of processing information, coping mechanisms, differences in attachment styles, and other aspects that could be limiting mutual understanding.

Other common goals are rebuilding trust in cases of infidelity or other breaches in trust, improving physical and emotional intimacy, and managing different life transitions, like being parents, relocation, job changes, permanent losses of loved ones, etc. 

Sometimes, the partners might be given some “homework” to help reflect on some aspects, such as journaling about their feelings or discussing a specific topic, as well as exercises to improve physical and emotional connection, like practicing active listening or engaging in shared activities.

When to Reach Out for Support

Recognizing when your relationship isn’t meeting your needs or expectations is the first step towards positive change. We encourage you to seek help at this point, as it indicates there are aspects about yourself, your partner, and your dynamics that need to be understood, clarified, and discussed. By taking this step, you’re allowing yourself to create a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. 

If you observe that it is difficult to communicate without conflict or misunderstanding or that there are recurring arguments, we encourage you to seek couples therapy.

Also, when you feel emotionally disconnected or have lost the sense of intimacy and closeness, to work on rebuilding these bonds. Or when major life events are too difficult to manage, and it seems impossible to find options to transit them. 

Couples therapy is a safe space to learn about the togetherness and uniqueness of your relationship and to help explore deeper levels of connection.

Written by: Ana Gomez

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