Does Couples Therapy Really Work?

When you and your significant other acknowledge that you need help to manage your relationship, it can be a frightening realization and a very stressful time.  You want to find the right counselor who can help you build a stronger marriage.  Here in New York City there are many choices and it may feel overwhelming to get started.  Therapy requires effort, time, work and money and you may be wondering…

Does Couples Therapy Really Work?

Yes, couples therapy can have great success.  But just like anything else in life it is going to take effort and you will get out of it only what you put in.  The answer will depend on several important factors about you and your relationship.

  1. Type of problem:  If you are starting marriage counseling because one of you has cheated on the other that is very different than working together to manage the challenges of a new baby.  It may be obvious that some issues require outside help but it is important to note that no challenge is too small to address in order to safeguard a relationship.
  2. Willingness to change:  If part of your relationship is not working then something needs to change.  Sometimes people feel that if their partner would change everything would be ok. We can only change ourselves and letting go of the need to change your partner is a good first step toward breaking a dysfunctional cycle.
  3. Commitment to ‘do the work’:  For many couples therapy is their first time sitting with another individual whose purpose is to help find solutions to problems in the relationship.  Therapy involves exploration of yourself and the way that you operate both as an individual and a partner.  It takes resolve and stamina to commit to therapy and follow through with the work of breaking through and overcoming a relationship challenge.
  4. Openness:  The only way that couples therapy is going to work is if you are both open with your thoughts, emotions and feelings. Vulnerability is a scary word but with small steps you can begin to open up to a more honest and intimate relationship. The key is to start slowly so that you can feel a sense of accomplishment.

Finding the right therapist to help you explore your relationship is critical.  You want a counselor with a significant toolbox of skills and ideas to help you negotiate your way to a healthier relationship.


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