• Jackie Schwartz, LMFT

What to Expect In Couples Therapy


Ah, Love! It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world! You meet, fall in love and now you can’t imagine your life without this other person! Maybe, by now you have a family, are planning a wedding, share assets, friends, and a whole world where everything in your lives are intertwined.


But over time, you begin to notice cracks in the foundation of that love and feel terrified of losing this beautiful thing that you created with this person. You say to yourself “Oh, it’s not that bad” or “this will pass” or “I guess I can deal with this need not being met.”


But then things continue to spiral into negativity. This isn’t passing; it does feel that bad, core needs go unmet and resentment follows. Then you say what you never imagined you’d say when in the beginning stages of this blossoming love; “I think we need to talk to someone”.


Couples therapy can feel daunting. Not only are people concerned and scared for their relationship, but now they have to open up and confide in a complete stranger about some of the most intimate areas of their lives. This is a sentiment I completely understand and I make it a point to validate this feeling for all of my clients.


People have different ideas and concerns about what it means to go to couples therapy. People often worry about what the therapist will think, who will the therapist side with? Another common question is “Is our relationship too far gone?


Often, couples feel concerned over what they will discover in couples therapy which dissuades people from participating at all. Due to peoples’ fears or anxieties, many couples avoid couples counseling or marriage therapy leading problems to fester and get worse over time.


According to John Gottman, couples wait an average of 6 years before going to couples therapy. Unfortunately, this often sets up the relationship and any attempt of relationship recovery for failure.


Couples therapy is not for everyone and those parameters should be set by the therapist at the onset of the therapeutic process. Couples therapy is not for those who are in physically abusive relationships or who are continuing an extramarital affair with the refusal to let go of the affair partner.


Additionally, it’s not a platform to yell and scream at one another while the therapist acts like a referee, picking a winner at the end. Couples therapy is not a place to hurt or to deliberately emotionally wound one another.


Let’s talk about what to actually expect from couples therapy...


You should expect a therapist who aligns with both partners in a couple and seeks to uncover each individual’s unique truth and perspective, helping those truths emerge in a way that each partner understands. The therapist should help each partner feel comfortable and work to understand the perceptions involved in problems that arise.


Couples therapy is an opportunity to grow and evolve with an unbiased third party to facilitate discussions. Couples therapy is an emotionally safe space to explore interactional sequences to determine what plays a role in negative and positive outcomes.


Couples therapy is a platform to practice a variety of skills related to enhancing friendship, respect, communication, conflict management, and generating solutions for barriers to having a healthier relationship. In couple’s therapy, unproductive behavioral cycles are disrupted and people learn how to listen and speak in ways that lead to productive and brighter outcomes.


Whatever brings a couple into couple’s therapy, the most important thing is that there are 2 people who are motivated and willing to repair the relationship. One must look inwards in how their behavior plays a role in relationship challenges. The key ingredient is successful couples therapy is love. With love, motivation, accountability, and a willingness to make positive change, couples therapy can be an invaluable experience.


If you and/or your partner are considering couples therapy or marriage counseling, it’s important to find a therapist who is a relationship expert (someone who is specifically trained to work with couples since relationships are complex systems).

For more information about the couples therapists and marriage counselors at our Bayview Therapy Coral Springs or Fort Lauderdale, Florida offices, click here.


Call today at 954-391-5305 for your complimentary consultation. Cheers to healthy and happy relationships!

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