Having difficulties in your relationship and wondering if couples therapy and counselling can help?
Couples therapy is a great idea if you and your partner are having problems that you just can’t seem to resolve.
The Impact of Relationship Difficulties
That’s because relationship difficulties can affect every area of your life – increasing the likelihood that you and/or your partner will also struggle with depression, anxiety, physical illnesses, and substance abuse – not to mention the significant negative impacts on any children.
So it’s really important to look after your most intimate relationship, as problems can have a negative impact on both your psychological and physical wellbeing.
Couples therapy is different from individual therapy, in that it focuses on helping couples to resolve problems and conflicts that they have not been able to handle effectively on their own. By seeing a psychologist for couples therapy, you and your partner will gain a better understanding of how each of you contribute to the relationship problems, and learn the skills necessary for improving your relationship.
Why Come to Couples Therapy?
There are many problems which lead couples to seek out counselling, with some of the most common being:
- Problems with communication and negotiation;
- Arguments and violence;
- Contemplating separation and divorce;
- Mental health issues;
- Problems with sexual functioning;
- Jealousy, possessiveness or impassivity;
- Blended family conflicts.
Couples Therapy Proven Effective
Much research has been done into the area of couples therapy, to identify which interventions and strategies have the best therapeutic outcomes. When you see a psychologist for couples therapy, you can be confident that the process is not only tailored to your unique needs, but that it is also based on evidence from published research studies.
The Gottman Method has proven to be one of the most effective in strengthening a couple’s relationship, and for this reason is commonly used in couples therapy.
What is the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy?
The Gottman Method is based on mastering several relationship principles:
- Building love maps, by asking open-ended questions of each partner;
- Building a fondness and admiration system by expressing affection and respect in even the little things;
- Turning towards each other, instead of away or against, by noticing each partner’s needs for emotional connection;
- Allowing positive sentiment overrides;
- Managing conflict by using dialogue about problems, and practising self-soothing;
- Honouring each other’s life dreams;
- And building meaning into the life you share together.
I have extensive training and practice in the Gottman Method, and clinical psychology. Based on my clinical experience, I believe that good couples therapy requires creating intimacy and emotional bonds between the couple, and also focusing on relationship skills building. When you see me for couples therapy, you will learn how to identify perpetuating interactions in your conflicts, and practice a new set of skills to express your needs more effectively.
NB If you are interested in improving your relationship with couples therapy, but your partner is not keen, please read my article “When Your Partner Won’t See a Counsellor“.
Author: Claire Pang, B Psych (Hons), Masters of Clinical Psychology.
Claire’s work in the hospital environment, the disability sector and private practice has expanded her knowledge and skills in helping people dealing with life’s challenges, such as improving their relationships. She gains great fulfillment and inspiration through witnessing human resilience again and again in her clinical work.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Claire Pang, you can book online or freecall 1800 877 924 today.
- Gottman, J., & Gottman J (2008). Gottman Method Couple Therapy. In A. S. Gurman (Eds.), Clinical Handbook of Couple Therapy. NEW York: Guildford Press.
- Clinical Training – Gottman Method Couples Therapy
- Gottman, J. S (Eds.). 2004. The marriage clinical casebook. New York: Norton.
- Taibbi, R. (2009). Doing couple therapy. New York: Guildford Press.