Couples counselling for different problems | How it can help and what to expect
Couples therapy can offer you the space to grow and decide what you would like the future to hold for both of you. Though going to couples therapy for the first time can be a scary thought, having a clear idea of the problems you’d like to overcome and discuss can help you feel prepared and ready to talk openly.
Here, we discuss the common types of problems that can be tackled in couples therapy and what to expect from your couples counselling sessions.
Read our tips on preparing for your couples therapy session.
What types of problems are commonly discussed in couples therapy?
Couples counselling can be a great option for tackling a range of problems, and there are no limits to the issues that can be discussed. Some of the most common problems that can be addressed in couples counselling include:
Lack of trust
Affairs can lead to insecurities and sometimes even mental health issues for both partners. Being cheated on is especially negative from a mental health point of view and can lead to anxiety, distress, depression, low self-esteem, sleep loss and insomnia, PTSD and poor work performance. It can also cause those who have been cheated on to engage in high-risk behaviours. For the person cheating, there is often also an adverse impact in the form of guilt.
Couples counselling sessions can help relationships start to overcome an affair through helping improve communication, getting you to understand each other’s point of view and introducing methods of handling arguments better. Your couples therapist can also help you both to learn to accept the past and understand what may have led to an affair, and how you can move forward in your relationship.
Addiction can impact intimate relationships in many ways, causing arguments about money loss and often affecting the mental health of both partners. Whether the addiction is drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, or other forms of addiction – it can often leave one partner feeling frustrated and communication can suffer. If one partner has substance abuse issues, this may lead to problems with performance at work, or they may lose their job, which can cause arguments at home and affect the mental health of both partners. Someone suffering from addiction may cut themselves off from friends or family and isolate themselves to hide their problem and the issues relating to it.
Couples counselling for addiction can help both partners to understand each other’s point of view more clearly. Often, people suffering from addiction don’t fully understand the impact it has on their partner – couples therapy is a great way to provoke a better mutual understanding. If you think your communication in your relationship is suffering because of your partner’s addiction, then this can also be a sign that therapy is ideal for you and your partner.
The methods involved in this type of therapy may involve narrative therapy, which helps an individual recognise their positive attributes, values and skills and work towards overcoming problems by drawing from these. The Gottman Method is also often used in couples therapy for addiction, as it provides both partners with a deeper understanding of each other.
Communication is key to a stable relationship, helping both partners to understand where the relationship is heading and have a good understanding of each other. The signs of a communication breakdown in a relationship are not always immediately apparent, and often develop slowly and take time to reach a tipping point.
Communication counselling is a specific form of couples counselling that focuses on improving communication in a relationship. By bringing both partners together to discuss their problems with the therapist, misunderstandings can be reduced and methods to improve communication will be introduced. Common methods used in communication counselling include cognitive behavioural therapy (behavioural couples therapy) to help partners identify and correct problematic behaviours. The emotionally focused approach can also help to repair emotional distance.
Though it is perfectly healthy to discuss money – sometimes, constant financial issues can cause frustration or anxiety. Disagreements about money are a common cause of arguments among couples. Over time, they can even lead to the breakdown of a relationship. Couples therapy may be helpful for both partners in putting those arguments about money to bed. Your therapist will provide a calm environment in a neutral space to allow both partners to communicate calmly. Couples therapy for financial disagreements aims to help you handle disagreements constructively, rather than destructively.
Other reasons why couples may invest in couples therapy include:
If you and/or your partner have been through trauma and are dealing with PTSD. Find out more about the benefits of couples therapy for trauma.
Division of labour.
Sleep issues such as insomnia.
Anxiety and depression.
How we can help
The British Counselling Service is an organisation that can help couples who are struggling with issues such as communication problems. Offering a wide range of therapies, all services are administered by experienced, qualified psychologists, psychotherapists and highly regulated therapists. We also support online therapy, enabling patients to receive counselling over skype calls, telephone calls, or other platforms.
Our psychologists have spent between seven and nine years training to enable people to overcome their emotional difficulties, and many hold senior positions in the NHS. Find out more about our team here.
Before attending your couples therapy session, you may want to discuss with your partner what broader issues you want to explore and ensure that you are both comfortable with them. Being honest with each other before a session may put you on a good path for the therapy session ahead.
Think about how you could benefit from couples therapy, your goals for counselling and the potential obstacles to these goals.
If you are nervous, try to remember that your therapist will encourage open communication and is trained to provide a comfortable atmosphere for you and your partner.