People are right to question if couples’ therapy actually works. Here are some common hesitations:
• It is an investment
• What if the counsellor tells us to break up?
• Are we going to focus on all the negative things in our marriage?
• Are we going to talk about feelings the whole time?
• Will this make things worse?
Let me start with when marriage counselling does NOT work, followed by when it does.
When it does NOT work:
Unfortunately, there are therapists not trained specifically for couples’ therapy doing it. Individual therapy and marriage therapy needs to be approached differently. Individual therapists tend to allow clients to explore feelings and thoughts more. In the case of couples’ therapy, this is not effective. Therapists may stay too passive, being afraid to alienate one or both members.
Dr. John Gottman says most couples go to therapy after an average of 6 years of being unhappy. With longer time, bad habits and attitudes become more entrenched. If it has been too long, then therapy is more difficult.
Marriage therapy requires 2 members of the couple to desire to work on it. If the commitment to trying isn’t there, then there’s little a therapist can do.
When it DOES work:
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) show high patient satisfaction. 97% got the help they needed and 93% say having better tools dealing with problems.
Good marriage therapy must provide these things: 1) In-depth assessment of problems and strengths. 2) Personalized treatment plan for unique couple cases. 3) Useful communication and connection tools couples will practice and use. Tools are practiced within therapy, and transferable outside of therapy.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) has high rates of satisfaction. 90% report significant improvements, and 70-75% of couples in distress move into recovery.
Problems such as addictions are better dealt with in couples’ therapy than individual therapy. The systemic problem between couples could sometimes continue the cycles of addiction.
What I do:
I am informed in the Gottman method of marriage therapy. Like EFT, it allows the couples to share their emotions and dreams to one another. It differs in that the therapist works as a trainer for communication for both members. The couple will learn proper communication style that they could use at home. A comprehensive assessment is done at the beginning. We then know which treatment and tools to train the couple.
Learn more how marriage counselling can benefit you. Give me a call at (705) 300-0077 or fill out the form below.