- Tailored to your specific relationship needs
- High success rate
- You work with your partner instead of alone
- Not very cost-effective
- Time consuming
- Need to talk a stranger about your problems
A relatively small percentage (about one third) of couples who experience challenges in their relationships seek out couple counseling. The reasons are often manifold. Sometimes, people don’t want to share their personal emotions with a stranger whereas others think that their partner just has to change and everything would be fine.
Couple counseling offers many opportunities to improve your relationship. The goal of couple therapy is not to change who you are as a person but to help you and your partner re-connect and develop strategies that allow you to handle differences more effectively. Couple therapy provides a safe environment where you and your partner can voice your views without the risk of getting caught in a spiral of accuse, blame, anger and withdrawal. A good couple therapist will address both partners’ concerns equally and will not take sides. S/he will teach you how to communicate more effectively with each other; how to express your feelings in a non-blaming way and how to empathetically listen to your partner’s concerns without becoming defensive. Once both you and your partner have gained a better understanding of each other’s differences and needs you will eventually be able to re-negotiate your commitment to each other. Especially after some serious issues have arisen in your relationship such as infidelity, couple therapy can help you re-connect and re-build the loving relationship that you used to have.
Attending couple therapy requires commitment on many levels. Most sessions are between 50 and 60 minutes long, in addition to the time it takes you to get there. You may have to arrange child care opportunities while you and your partner attend therapy. Depending on the level of health insurance you have, couple therapy is covered, but it is likely that you will need to pay out of pocket for at least part of it. Most importantly, however, it requires both you and your partner to be committed to improving the relationship and being willing to face emotions that to date you may have successfully avoided. Talking in front of a stranger about some very private issues may be uncomfortable and stir up emotions that have been buried for a while. In this case it is important to keep the end goal in mind: a more fulfilling relationship with your partner.
Couple & Individual Therapy Locators
While we’re really excited about our online program, we recognize we’re not a good fit for every relationship. Below, we’ve included links to help you find other recommended online resources, skilled couple therapists, individual therapists, or hotline operators.
Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy website. Therapists are available in numerous cities in the United States who have been supervised and/or trained in Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy, an empirically validated treatment approach for distressed couples (which also used in the OurRelationship program).
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) referral website. ABCT is one of the premier research-based organizations for psychotherapy. In searching for a couples therapist, be sure to click “Marital Therapy” under SPECIALTIES, not just “couples” under type served. Doing so will provide you with psychologists who have extensive experience in marital and couple therapy. You’ll also be able to search for other specialties (e.g., depression, anxiety, parenting).
American Psychological Association’s (APA) referral website. The APA is the national organization for doctoral-level psychologists. At this website, you will be able to conduct a search for a psychologist in your area who specializes in couples therapy or specific individual problems. Additionally, they provide an 800 number if you’d rather talk to an individual in person to help you find a therapist.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) referral website. AAMFT is the national association of masters-level marriage and family therapists who often have specialized training and experience working with couples.
If you have experienced relationship violence and would like to talk to someone immediately about physical aggression in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit their website to find out more (Available 24-hours).