Couples therapy is similar to family therapy but concentrates on the one-to-one relationship of the couple. Our Western culture teaches us that independence is of great value and that we should not need others to thrive. However, when couples practice “you and me” rather than on “us” in a committed relationship, the couple tends to have more of an emotional disconnection. Decision making can become difficult and lead to criticism, stonewalling, anger, & resentment. A secure attachment is a key component of this unity and building a firm foundation for trust. Then each person in the relationship has the confidence to use inner emotions and have the feelings received sensitively. Sometimes a couple needs help dealing with external trauma, betrayal, stress, or loss that affects the relationship in a negative way. Reconnecting together with a therapist can help this process tremendously.
Is Couples Therapy JUST for married people? No – often couples therapy is sought before the wedding during pre-marital counseling, in a committed dating relationship, or a couple that is cohabiting. Most couples might wait to call a counselor right before they call a lawyer, but the best time is when the couple first realizes there is a serious dysfunction in how issues are resolved or have difficulty connecting in grief, post-partum, or with an expected or unexpected life transition. As in family therapy, the ultimate goal is a realistic secure attachment leading to a better emotional connection between the two people. If you are a couple that is contemplating separation or divorce, one resource AP4M finds valuable is Transitions Divorce Prep. It is an invaluable workbook for those thinking about ending a marriage and those already in the middle of proceedings.