What Are the Different Kinds of Couples Therapy?
Just like there are many kinds of couples, there are many kinds of couples therapy. Each approach to couples therapy is rooted in its own specific theories about relationships, emotions, and human complexity, and a skilled therapist will often combine these techniques to create a unique program for your unique needs.
Relationships are very complicated–which is why there’s no shame or failure in seeking out couples therapy or marriage counseling as soon as you think you need it. Setting the intention to do better in your relationship means taking action to give yourself and your partner a happier life. Some couples even begin their romantic journey with therapy right off the bat to create a more solid foundation for the future.
There are lots of ideas about how to best restore or preserve the joy in a relationship…which is great news, because it means there are couples therapy techniques best suited for you and your love.
What Type of Therapy is Best for Relationship Problems?
The best type of therapy for relationship problems addresses the unique challenges of the couple’s situation and promotes lasting healing in the relationship. Here are just some of the kinds of couples therapy a therapist may utilize or combine elements of:
- Dr. Ellyn Bader – Developmental Model of Couples Therapy
This approach is our personal favorite. It is focused on developing the couple as a team by nurturing skills and strengths in each individual.
- Dr. John Gottman – Gottman Institute
Gottman Method couples therapy prioritizes verbal communication, helping the couple reduce conflict in conversations and increase attention and affection throughout the relationship.
- Dr. Sue Johnson – Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Emotionally-focused couples therapy leverages cutting-edge research into the science of emotional attachment styles to make sense of past problems and achieve lasting change for the couple.
- Dr. Harville Hendrix – Imago Therapy
Imago Therapy helps get to the root of a couple’s issues by promoting understanding of each others’ childhood experiences and the resulting needs as an adult.
- Dr. Esther Perel – Eroticism and Desire
This approach to couples therapy recognizes that our erotic life also comes with inner struggles, tensions, and anxieties. Through improved self-worth and vulnerability, the couple’s desire also recovers.
- Dr. Terry Real – Relational Life Institute
Relational Life Therapy is one of the most popular behavioral couples therapy techniques. Each individual is shown by the therapist how their behaviors are harming the relationship, and then those behaviors are addressed and overcome as a team.
At Well Marriage Center we approach couples therapy with a focus on preserving the relationship and helping partners renew their appreciation of each others’ strengths. Our therapists always prioritize interested continued learning of proven approaches like these and others.
Which Form of Therapy Is Typically Used During a Couples Therapy Session?
In cases like Relational Life Therapy or Imago Therapy, the couple will likely know going in that these specific forms of therapy are being used. They may even seek out or be matched with a specialist, especially if other approaches to couples therapy have not worked in the past. If one of the above approaches sounds appealing to you and your partner, that’s a great direction to start your search.
But remember, the outcomes achieved are always more important than using a specific method. As the expert, a therapist may use techniques from a few complimentary schools of therapy. It all depends on the needs of the couple. And, just like with other forms of medicine, the treatment which works at first may need to be adjusted or supplemented as you enter new and healthier phases of life. Your therapist will learn about you as individuals and the complex issues your relationship faces to create a customized approach, pulling from these different approaches.
What Is Couples Therapy Like?
There are some universal things you can expect from good couples therapy. Whether you try EFT, Gottman Method, the Developmental Model, or something else, make sure the therapist is working in favor of your relationship with these main points:
- You will start the conversation focused on the positives and why you want to keep choosing the relationship.
- The therapist will ask questions and help each partner speak equally in the conversation.
- You should always feel encouraged, not judged. But you may not always feel comfortable as wounds are discussed and behaviors are addressed. Change is hard, and your therapist should be a coach along that path.
- Homework between sessions will help you and your partner apply what you have learned and develop new daily patterns of love and appreciation.
Well Marriage Center: Not Just for Married Couples
Though we are called Well Marriage Center, we celebrate all couples and their desire to improve their intimacy. Whether it’s couples therapy for boyfriend and girlfriend, boyfriend and boyfriend, girlfriend and girlfriend, theyfriend and theyfriend–your gender, sexuality, and the legal status of your relationship are not what matters to us. We even help people have better relationships with themselves or other family members! The world is built on relationships of all sorts and we’re here to help people connect better.
We are more interested in the journey that has brought you to our door and how we can help you leave happier and healthier! You don’t have to have that answer ready for us. We will help you figure out what you need and how to move forward. Please connect with our intake coordinator Melinda by phone or email to learn more about how we match you with a therapist that is uniquely suited to support the restoration of your relationship. We can’t wait to meet you!