Couples therapy

Couples Therapy: When To Go And What To Expect

Couples therapy or relationship counseling can help with communication issues and monotony.

Few truly understand couples therapy, when to go with their partner and what to expect  from it when they are experiencing relationship problems. Keeping this option in mind could help you to decide whether to get back together or break up with someone when your relationship is on the rocks.

Below we take a look at the question: what is couples therapy? Plus, when you should go and the main types of relationship counseling based on current psychology like emotionally focused couples therapy. 

What is couples therapy?

Couples therapy is a type of psychological therapy geared toward managing problems in relationships. The primary goal of this is to make relationships work better for couples that are struggling.

Some issues people struggle with include a lack of communication  or not enough communication, incompatibility or a wide array of problems related to this. The main focus is first identifying a lack of dissatisfaction or discomfort in both parties.

After this happens, then it's time to create and implement a treatment plan with certain goals designed to improve or eliminate the symptoms described. Also, the main goal is to get both people functioning on a healthy level together.

Couples therapy can help to resolve sexual problems, infidelity and communication issues, just to name a few. For those people that are looking for this kind of treatment, it's important to ask a professional psychologist specialized in this specific area to avoid possible adverse effects.

In this case, the therapist will let you know that honesty, cooperation in completing couples therapy activities, and the sincere desire to change are vital when it comes to getting successful results in relationship counseling.

When to go to couples therapy

Seeking couples counseling is a tough decision to make. However, certain clear indicators will help you to know it's the right time to consider this option. Here are some examples:

  • You don't see clear solutions

  • You feel stuck 

  • You feel that your children's well-being is in jeopardy

Therapy can also help to decide whether staying together or breaking up is the best for both parties. A lot of the time trying to keep moving forward in a situation without solutions can be much more painful, and in this case, the therapist can help to make the break up as smooth as possible for both parties.

However, all of the people involved must agree and be willing to collaborate to move forward with any type of therapy, and not just relationship counseling.

The duration and frequency of the therapy is relative and will vary depending on each case. Sometimes just a few sessions could be enough to solve a problem, or it could take a long time to thrash out complicated issues that need resolving.

In most types of couples therapy, both individual and group sessions are required  to get a better understanding of the situation as a whole from all perspectives.

Common relationship problems
Couples seek out relationship counseling for common problems like lack of communication and infidelity.

6 Common relationship problems

As we mentioned before, there are many different types of problems in relationships, and all of this depends on the factors concerned. However, there are certain common issues in most cases, and the majority of them are recurring.

Below, we'll take a look at some of these and how you can confront them.

1. Lack of communication

Couples therapy

A lack of communication or absolutely 0 communication is a fundamental problem at the relationship's core. This could lead to other problems like insecurity, a lack of sexual desire, or even differences in many everyday things. The best option in these cases is for the couple to start a dialogue and keep this situation from snowballing out of control.

2. Monotony

Another relationship black hole: routine from a negative point of view. A relationship has different phases, and it doesn't always have to be at the apex, but it's important to keep it from declining. So, you need to keep nurturing this magic and the little things that strengthen your bond.

3. Sexual problems

This marital issue is common in many relationships. It's so important for couples to be on the same page sexually and to know how to nurture and manage problems that come up over time.

On the other hand, premature ejaculation, anorgasmia, vaginismus, and erectile dysfunction are all examples of specific sexual disorders that can also occur in a relationship. In these cases, you'll need to seek professional help to figure out how to best handle these issues.

Related: Libido: A Definition And How To Increase Sex Drive

4. Financial issues

Financial struggles can create conflicts  and over time end up taking a toll on relationships and can even lead to breakups. Economic instability can cause psychological problems that clearly affect couples. There are ways to plan expenses, short-term goals or compromises to solve these issues.

5. Infidelity

Even though people often don't talk about it, infidelity is one of the most common problems currently. A lack of communication about expectations in a relationship or montony are possible underlying factors related to this type of behavior. In this case, therapy can be truly effective to resolve issues involving cheating,  and it can even help to move forward afterward.

6. Jealousy

Lastly, there is jealousy -a feeling often experienced by both parties or just one member of the couple. In the case of pathological jealousy (morbid jealousy) which is unjustified by one of the two, individual therapy is also recommended to treat the problem in-depth.

Related: Jealousy: A Definition And How To Deal With It

Types of relationship counseling
Check out 5 different types of relationship counseling like emotionally focused couples therapy.

5 Types of relationship counseling

Couples therapy sessions differ depending on the model  that the therapist follows. There are many types of therapy used to treat relationship problems. Different models such as emotionally focused couples therapy or psychoanalytic therapy involve the use of commonly used strategies and techniques.

Now we'll share a list of the types of treatments used and what to expect in couples therapy depending on what kind you receive.

1. Psychoanalytic therapy

Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic couples counseling is used to identify certain unresolved conflicts and how these behaviors affect the relationship currently. Also, it usually works on developing an understanding of the current interpersonal interactions  in relation to the early development of both members of the relationship.

2. Behavioral therapy

Behavioral marital counseling therapists usually improve relationships by increasing positive exchanges and diminishing the frequency of negative and punitive interactions. This model focuses on the role that one's environment plays  in creating and maintaining behavior in relationships.

3. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

In this case, couples are encouraged to improve the exchange of behaviors, communication, and abilities to resolve existing or future problems in the relationship.

All of these factors are examined and this type is a bit more flexible and individualized for specific relationship issues than behavioral therapy. Here, thoughts are analyzed and how these impact the relationship is taken into consideration.

4. Emotionally focused couples therapy

The therapist usually educates and raises awareness about perceptions, suppositions, responsibilities and interaction norms in the relationship. Emotionally focused couples therapy says that the most important factor in comprehending the matrimonial discourse is understanding the impact of emotions.

5. Systemic therapy

Systemic therapy is one of the most widely used and best-known models when it comes to couples therapy and family therapy. This psychological model claims that a relationship is a type of changing system where different dynamic roles can cause issues for a couple.

Related: Relationship Anarchy: Attempted Definition


Check out the original article: Terapia de pareja: qué es, cuándo ir, tipos de terapias y problemas más comunes at



Gulli, L. F., & Berrisford, K. (2003). Couples therapy. In M. Harris & E. Thackerey (Eds.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders (Vol. 1, pp. 247-249). Detroit, MI: Gale.

Gurman, A. S., Lebow, J. L., & Snyder, D. K. (Eds.). (2015). Clinical handbook of couple therapy. Guilford Publications.