What is Couples Therapy?Couples therapy refers to a specific type of counseling where relationship issues are the focus of the treatment. It used to be referred to as marriage counseling and still may be called that in many places, but because participants are not always married to each other, couples therapy is a more accurate name. Closely related to family therapy, couples therapy is a type of counseling that seeks to help couples improve their relationship. A therapist may teach each partner in the relationship specific skills, such as managing or expressing their emotions, conflict resolution, communication skills, and problem solving. Both people in the couple need to be committed to learning new skills themselves as well as putting effort into supporting the relationship. The typical goals of couples therapy are to decrease conflict, unhappiness, and resentment, as well as increase communication, intimacy, and connection. Couples therapy may be offered privately, at a university, or in a group practice. It is usually short-term therapy, lasting a few weeks until the participants have learned new skills and have the ability to repair their relationship. Its effectiveness depends on the willingness of both participants to commit to therapy and make the relationship a priority. For many couples it can be extremely helpful.
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