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What is Couple Therapy | A Detailed Guide?

A couple is having Couple Therapy by Awaken Counselling Centre

When two people live together, arguments and conflicts are inevitable. However, if you feel like these disagreements are becoming frequent, taking away the peace of your relationship, couple’s therapy can be a lifeline. It helps you regain harmony, communication, and understanding within your relationship so you both feel happy and content. Want to know more? 

In this article, we are going to discuss couple therapy in detail, along with its importance and general procedure. So, let’s begin!

What is Couple Therapy?

Couple therapy is typically a form of psychotherapy that helps couples identify negative patterns affecting their relationship. In this, a licensed therapist with clinical experience works with couples to enhance their communication skills, relationship dynamics, and emotional connection. 

The purpose is to reduce the chances of breakups and divorces, considering the divorce rate is quite high in Singapore. Yes, it’s true! The Straits Times reveals that 6.4 per cent of resident couples who wed in 2001 separated before they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. 

What to Expect from Couple Therapy 

If you are considering couple counselling to save your romantic relationship, let us walk you through the general process: 

  1. Knowing the Background: The first step involves asking general questions about your relationship history, such as how you met, what made you fall in love, your family background, and cultural differences, if any. This allows the counsellor or therapist to get an understanding of the core issues so they can plan the upcoming treatment sessions. 
  2. Understanding the Issue: Next, you can expect some deeper digging into the current challenges and conflicts you are facing as a couple. This includes discussing specific issues like communication breakdowns, trust issues, intimacy concerns, or any other sources of tension. The therapist facilitates open communication, ensuring both partners are openly expressing their feelings. 
  3. Assignment: Considering the issues of your relationship, the therapist will assign some homework tasks to both of you. You and your partner have to practice those assignments outside of the therapy sessions to change behaviours. 

Types of Couple Therapy 

Couple therapy doesn’t adopt a one-fits-all approach; instead, there are various types and modules of couple therapy, such as:

Gottman Method 

The Gottman Method was created by husband and wife psychologists John Gottman and Julie Gottman. This technique is based on 40 years of research identifying the patterns and behaviours of successful and unsuccessful couples. It involves focusing on 4 major destructive behaviours that are: 

  1. Criticism
  2. Contempt 
  3. Stonewalling
  4. Defensiveness

The Gottman Method teaches partners to be acceptable towards each other even when there’s a conflict and put their efforts into problem-solving. 

Imago Relationship Therapy 

Another module of couple therapy is Imago Relationship Therapy. This approach is based on the concept of “imago,” which means the unconscious image of familiar love formed during childhood. 

The couples are encouraged to look back at their past traumas to understand how their childhood experiences are impacting their current relationships. Both partners take turns to listen and speak about their perspectives, connecting with each other at an intimate level. 

Emotion-focused Therapy

Another type of couple counselling we are discussing is Emotion-focused Therapy. This technique, developed in the 1980s, allows partners to share the problematic parts of their relationship. For instance, if it’s anger or cheating, both partners can openly share their traumas. 

This disclosure of vulnerability breaks barriers, paving the way for mutual comfort and problem-solving. 

Why Is Couple Therapy Needed?

There are various reasons that highlight the importance of couple counselling. Some of them are given as:

Creates a Safe Space for You and Your Partner

Oftentimes, when you are upset with your partner, you think it’s difficult to share your feelings openly without fear of judgment or escalation of conflict. Couple counselling comes as a saviour in this situation! It provides you with a safe space where you and your partner share feelings without the fear of being judged. 

You have the space to be vulnerable and honestly share how something is bothering you. This safe environment encourages productive discussions, deeper understanding, and the exploration of solutions to relationship challenges. Sue Johnson rightly says:

“The most functional way to regulate different emotions in love relationships is to share them.”

Helps Resolve Relationship Roadblocks

Roadblocks can indeed come in the way of your beautiful relationship. They can be anything, from major life decisions like whether to have children or make significant financial investments to smaller disagreements over daily routines or household responsibilities. 

Roadblock sign under the sky

All this can make you feel stuck. But there’s nothing to worry about as couple counselling aids you in overcoming these roadblocks. The therapist works together with you to find out the underlying cause of conflict. They develop strategies that make it easy for you to respect each other’s decisions and reach a common ground. 

Restore Trust and Emotional Connection 

If you have lost trust in your partner due to infidelity or lack of honesty, couple therapy can restore the trust and build an emotional connection. How? Well, in therapy sessions, both partners share their feelings. The hurt partner shares how the actions of the opposite party have left them miserable and jealous, while the betraying party takes full responsibility for their action. 

Once everything is said, you can then work on forgiving your partner, along with creating clear boundaries that quicken the healing process. Soon, with time, you start building a new emotional connection with your partner, bringing back the much-needed spark in a relationship. It’s also confirmed by Esther Perel’s words:

“The more we trust, the farther we are able to venture.”

Improve Communication Skills

Couple therapy also works on improving the overall communication skills of both partners. It’s especially important if one of you is an introvert and tends to internalise your feelings or struggle to open up. During therapy sessions, you will learn effective communication techniques, such as assertive expression of emotions and active listening. 

You and your partner will get to know about your communication style and how it impacts your relationship. This thorough feedback and constant practice sessions provide both parties with confidence, allowing you to share your emotions and ideas without any fear.

Improve communication skills, out of noise

Have an Unbiased Sounding Board

Couples sometimes go far and above to prove their point right and justify their actions, which is sheer bias. However, in the form of your couple therapist, you have an unbiased sounding board. 

The therapist carefully listens to the concerns of both partners and offers neutral feedback. You get a different perspective on the situation, which allows you both to look at the situation from a new lens. As a result, you can work towards mutually beneficial solutions.

Who Needs Couple Therapy? 

Now that you know why couple counselling in Singapore is important, let’s look at which couples really need to opt for it:

  • Coping with Health Concerns: When one partner is suffering from physical or mental health issues, the other may have to take care of the home as well as the ill partner, creating an imbalance that requires couple therapy. 
  • Suffering from Infidelity or Cheating: If your trust and faith in the relationship has been broken due to the infidelity of your partner, you need to seek couple therapy to make things easy for you.
  • Facing Communication Breakdowns: Couple counselling is mandatory if communication between partners becomes strained or ineffective, leading to misunderstandings, arguments, or feelings of disconnect.
  • Navigating Major Life Transitions: If you and your partner are going through major life changes like a career change, parenthood, miscarriage, pregnancy loss, or relocation, you should seek couple therapy to adjust to new roles and responsibilities. 

Get the best out of professional couple counselling

Common Myths About Couple Therapy

Couple counselling is indeed a great concept; however, people are still reluctant to pursue it due to many misconceptions. Some of these include:

Misconception #1: Couple Therapist Will Take Sides 

Couples often think that the therapist will take sides and pick a winner. However, this is nothing but a huge misconception. Therapists never pick sides; instead, they carefully listen to both parties with a neutral point of view. Their goal is to make sure you both understand each other’s perspective and reach a common solution instead of pointing out who’s “right” or who’s “wrong.”

Misconception #2: Couple Counselling is Very Expensive

Another misconception people have is that couples counselling in Singapore is very expensive, and opting for it may leave them broke. This is also not true, as many therapists now offer personalised plans to accommodate your financial situation. 

To put it into numbers, on average, couple or marriage counselling in Singapore costs you $160 to $300 per hour. However, this amount is still less than the legal fees associated with the divorce procedure, not to mention the emotional as well as the financial toll of ending a marriage. 

Misconception #3: Couple Therapy Means Divorce is Inevitable

People are scared to go for couple counselling, thinking it’s a synonym for divorce, which is a huge misconception. Counselling actually means both parties are willing to invest their energies in this relationship. It enables both parties to understand each other better, laying the foundation for lasting relationships. 

Misconception #4: Therapist Will Judge You

No one likes being judged, and many couples assume that if they undergo couple counselling, the therapist will judge them. This isn’t true either. The therapist always acts as a neutral party, and they never doubt your relationship choices or decisions. 

Besides, many people delay couple counselling as they think it’s only viable for issues like infidelity or addiction. 

How to Find a Good Couple Therapist

Finding a good couple therapist is no easy feat. Nonetheless, we have brought some amazing tips that can make your search hassle-free. These are:

Consult Online Platforms

Nowadays, you can find everything online, from high-tech gadgets to your favourite clothes, and couple therapists are no exception. So, when on the mission to find the best couple therapist, you should consider online platforms like Awaken Counselling Centre. 

We aim to offer top-notch psychotherapy services like couple therapy with licensed and highly experienced therapists. Whether it’s a premarital issue or a communication problem, we can deal with everything. 

Professional Online Counselling

Get Referrals from Friends and Family

It’s always a good idea to consult your friends and family, especially those who have taken couple counselling, to find reputable therapists. This approach allows you to collect honest feedback and personal recommendations based on their experiences. Not only this, but you also get to know about the therapist’s style, effectiveness, and overall compatibility with your needs as a couple. 

Check Experience and Credentials

The last thing you should do is to check the credentials and experience of the therapist. Make sure they are accredited by top Singaporean institutes like the Singapore Psychology Association, which requires therapists to undergo around 600 hours of training before proceeding with professional practice. 

Tips to Get the Best Out of Your Couple Therapy Sessions 

The following are the tips you must follow to maximise the effectiveness of your couple counselling sessions:

  • Communicate Clearly: Firstly, you should clearly communicate what issue you are facing and what results you expect from the therapy. Be it cheating or financial issues, be open with your therapist about your challenges so they can create a plan that aligns with your needs.
  • Practice Regularly: You should practice active listening, which means carefully listening to what your partner is saying about their feelings and trying to be empathetic. 
  • Do Practical Work: To make your couple counselling a success, you have to do most of the work outside the therapist’s office. This involves adopting the strategies and performing exercises that your therapist has given you to improve your relationship. 
  • Stay in Contact with the Therapist: Couple therapy is a slow and steady process full of hurdles. You may take 3 steps ahead and 2 steps backwards, making you feel as if you are stuck in a loop of progress and setbacks. This can be really frustrating, especially when you’re putting in efforts to improve your relationship. 

However, in such a situation, you shouldn’t give up. Instead, contact your therapist. They will guide you on how to navigate these challenges and support you throughout the journey, making it less daunting and more manageable.

Remember, even after the couple therapy sessions are over, you and your partner should regularly go through all the learnings, such as coping mechanisms or communication styles.

Therapist helps to regain the lost charm of the relationship

Conclusion 

From feeling disconnected from your partner to suffering from infidelity and health issues, various reasons require you to undergo couple therapy. The whole process is simple; especially with the help of an experienced therapist, it becomes more manageable for you to regain the lost charm of your relationship. 

Wondering which therapist to choose? Awaken Counselling Centre is definitely worth considering! We have certified therapists with years of experience who can help you and your partner navigate all challenges and emerge stronger and more connected. 

Contact us today and let our therapists guide your journey toward a more fulfilling relationship!

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