CBT Works Well for Couples
Have you considered starting couples counseling with a loved one? First off, congratulations on making such an important consideration for your relationship! Couples counseling is a fantastic option to get two people on the same page in a romantic relationship.
You may be familiar with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) already. If you are not, essentially, CBT focuses on the connection between thoughts, feelings, and actions. This type of therapy, or modality, is often considered as a gold standard for individual therapy. CBT is also great for couples as well! In this article, we are going to explore five ways that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy works just as well for couples as it does for individuals seeking treatment.
It Isn’t Just for Couples Considering Separation
Oftentimes, people mistakenly think that couples counseling is reserved specifically for couples who are considering separation. While couples counseling can be used for couples who are facing great difficulties and are unsure if they will stay together, there are many other reasons why couples may go for counseling. Here are just some of the reasons why people may sign up for couples counseling:
- Premarital counseling
- Parenting counseling (either prior to or after the birth of a child)
- LGBT+ counseling
- Open relationship counseling
- Difficult life transitions (i.e. moving, loss of a job, unexpected finance, etc.)
- Coping with chronic illness
- Cultural or religious differences
#1: It Helps Couples See Each Other’s Perspectives
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a strong emphasis on analyzing thoughts. For example, in individual therapy, therapists ask clients leading questions, called Socratic Questions, to help their clients challenge and evaluate their thoughts in new ways. Examples might include, what is the worst that can happen and what would you do if it came true? What’s another way to look at a situation? If this was happening to someone else, what advice would you give them?
The purpose of Socratic Questions is to provide a new way to look at situations, stressors, thoughts, and feelings. Just like with individual therapy, Socratic Questions can be used in couples counseling to help partners see each other’s perspective. You and your partner may experience your therapist asking both of you questions to help evaluate situations and see them from each other’s perspective.
#2: It Teaches Communication Skills
Communication is a critical part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Entire sections of CBT and its related therapy method, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, devote entire sections to social interactions and communication.
You will find that your therapist will encourage you and your partner to communicate with each other, and that your therapist will provide techniques to help facilitate this. Both you and your partner will find relief and comfort in being able to express your thoughts and feelings.
If you are worried that communication with your partner can become too heated, your therapist is trained to deescalate conversations and make sure that both you and your partner have opportunities to openly express yourselves.
#3: Your Therapist is Neutral and Collaborative
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a very collaborative form of therapy. In fact, sometimes CBT is described as a partnership between client and therapist, because the client helps set goals and make suggestions on what they think would be helpful and realistic. Your therapist is there to provide the evidence-based strategies, and support you in getting to your goals in a nonjudgmental way.
Couples counseling works the same way. Your therapist serves as a nonjudgmental facilitator between you and your partner. Your therapist is there to support and collaborate with both of you equally. You and your partner can rest assured that you can share your goals and feelings with your provider and be heard- even if your goals seem to conflict with each other! Your therapist’s job is to take the differences and find a way to make it work for both you and your partner.
#4: It Will Help You Practice
If you are the type to be nervous to implement strategies, or think you might feel silly trying them, therapy sessions are a great place to start! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy often uses role play to practice communication skills and other strategies.
Why is this important? It takes two in couples counseling to implement strategies, especially communication ones. If you or your partner feel uncomfortable implementing a strategy, your therapist is there to teach it, as well as to help facilitate you and your partner using these strategies.
Additionally, by practicing role play, you can also begin to practice seeing things from each other’s perspectives and pick up on certain body language and phrases you hadn’t been previously aware of. Plus, role play helps couples learn to “fight fair,” or rather, have productive conversations when conflict arises.
#5: It Gives Skills to Practice Between Sessions
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy consists of action plans. Actional plans are similar to “homework” where you will have techniques to implement in between sessions. Action plans are also implemented in couples counseling.
This is extremely important as you spend the majority of your time with your partner outside of the therapy session. By having tools and strategies to work on, you have ways to effectively communicate outside of the session. By practicing these techniques in your regular time, you will find that you and your partner will start to communicate better more quickly. You will speed up the results of what you are learning inside of your sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be a powerful modality for couples who are seeking additional support for their relationship. You may find that during your session you will practice seeing things from each other’s perspectives, practice communication, and work on these skills in between sessions. Additionally, you will find that by working with a neutral therapist, you and your partner will feel relaxed and comfortable.
If you are interested in pursuing couples counseling, online-therapy.com has a realty exciting announcement for you! We now offer couples counseling! Now you and your loved one can seek therapy together from the comfort of your own home at an affordable price. We offer couples sessions for various reasons for treatment plus messaging and worksheet services. We also take deep pride in diversity and work with couples of all backgrounds, sexual orientations, and monogamy versus open status.
If you would like to learn more, visit us at online-therapy.com