What is couple love therapy? How does it work?
Couple love therapy is a type of psychotherapy aimed at helping couples understand their
relationship better, improve communication and work through challenges together. The therapist
uses a combination of therapeutic techniques and interventions to work through the issues of the
couple and reach the set goal.
With couples counselling, the aim is not to not fight at all but to maintain thoughtful communication
even during disagreements. Listen to what your partner has to say and give them time to lay out all
their thoughts. Yes, it is easier said than done, especially during a heated argument. But you can
always train your mind to act in a particular manner. Think of it like this: it is the problem against you
as a couple and not you and your partner against each other. Couples counseling can help you build
this type of mentality. Anyone facing difficult times with their relationship, such as regular fights on
a particular topic, intimacy issues, financial differences, infidelity, etc., can consider couple love
Couple love therapy works very much like a normal therapy session where a trained professional
helps you get through challenges and issues you are facing as a couple. For the first therapy session,
both the partners are required to meet the therapist collectively. In fact, a majority of your sessions
will be attended as a couple, except for one or two sessions. These individual sessions are added for
the therapist to understand your background and specific needs separately.
The first session usually starts with discussing the main problems and their causes along with the
history of these stressors. With any type of therapy, it is crucial, to be honest, and open about your
problems with the therapist. After highlighting the basic grounds of conflict, you can start working
together to find ways to fix those issues.
It leads to the next important step, goal setting. Once you have identified the main stressor/s in your
relationship, you can set goals for the relationship. If you are clueless about these future goals, your
therapist can help you with the initial goals. Or, if you have definite relationship goals, you can
propose them to your therapist as well.
Benefits of couple love therapy
The benefits you reap from couples therapy vary from couple to couple. Some of the more common
benefits are as mentioned below.
Improved emotional satisfaction– Based on a study, around 97% of the surveyed couples
reported that they received all the necessary resources and counseling from their marriage
and family therapist required to make an informed decision about their relationship. As a
result, they noticed an improvement in their overall mental and physical health. Their work
performance also improved. It is common for people to compare their relationships to
others. Couple love therapy in California helps you realize that what you have is neither superior nor
inferior compared to someone else. This way it is easier to work through conflicts in an
authentic and non-judgmental manner.
Saves a lot of time– People may not even realize this, but perpetual conflicts and
disagreements can make them lose all the time they could spend being happy and stress-
free. Without the intervention of an expert figure, they will end up going into circles with no definite outcome. Couples’ therapists have seen it all, and they have the solution from the
smallest of the issues to a mammoth a problem. They are equipped with methods and
techniques to help distressed couples effectively. Attending therapy sessions as a couple can
help guide you through issues and move ahead in your relationship in a healthy way.
Better emotion management– Even with therapy, there is no way you can avoid conflicts
100%. And let’s be real, no relationship is perfect. You will always be challenged with difficult
situations throughout your relationship and there is no way to avoid those. But effective
coping skills and techniques can help with better management of common emotions such as
anger, stress, sadness, etc.
Gives you the right direction– Going into couple love therapy, you should know that not
every relationship is salvageable. To make the most of your therapy, you should always go in
with an open mind. Sometimes, you realize that you are meant to be with your partner.
Other times, you may have to face the truth that this relationship is not going to bring joy or
fulfilment to either of the parties involved. Either way, it makes you answer important
questions related to your friendship and relationship that you may have been avoiding for a
Deepens connection and intimacy– One of the biggest benefits that a lot of people
experience from going to couple love therapy is an improved level of connection and
intimacy with their partner. Lack of intimacy is a common problem for couples, especially
those couples who have been in long-term committed relationships and marriages. Couples’
counseling can help rekindle that lost connection. There is more to intimacy than just
physical intimacy. Focusing on communication and the respect aspect of a relationship
allows a natural flow of intimacy that comes with feeling loved and cared for.
Restores lost trust– Lack of trust in a relationship can have detrimental after effects and is
often the reason behind people seeking therapy. Lost trust could be the outcome of lack of
honesty, infidelity, financial problems or any other potential reason. Couples counseling is a
safe place to open up about this lack of trust and discuss factors that lead to it and the scope
of forgiveness. Regaining trust is tough, but it is not impossible. With the right guidance and
a new set of boundaries, you can start to rebuild your relationship.
Different types of couple love therapy
There are different techniques and approaches to couples therapy, such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy– Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common form of therapy
used for both individuals and couples. It focuses on how thoughts influence behaviors. This
type of therapy is widely used by mental healthcare workers and is backed by extensive
Cognitive therapy focuses on controlling recurring negative thoughts that can worsen
emotional distress, anxiety and depression. These automatic negative thoughts can have a
detrimental effect on mood and simultaneously on your relationship.
CBT works on the idea that your thoughts, feeling and actions are interconnected. If you can
control your thoughts, you can manage your feelings and actions well. In this type of
therapy, the therapist tries to identify the client’s mindset. He makes them perform
exercises and observe how their thoughts affect their daily lives.
- Gottman method– The Gottman method is a good approach for long-term committed
couples, who are willing to work towards building trust and continuing their relationship or
The Gottman method of therapy teaches couples to create a deeper sense of understanding
toward each other, even at times of conflict. Based on decades of research and hundreds of
empirical studies, the Gottman method aims at eradicating conflicting verbal
communication, deepening intimacy, growing respect and affection; eradicating barriers
responsible for feeling stuck and creating an amplified sense of empathy and understanding
within the relationship.
The Gottman method is not only ideal for couples with perpetual conflicts, but also for
couples who are trying to understand their relationship better.
- Emotionally focused therapy– Emotionally focused therapy or EFT is a popular form of
therapy developed by Canadian psychologist, doctor Sue Johnson in the 1980s. This
particular type of therapy focuses on improving bonds and attachments in a relationship.
There are three stages to EFT known as de-escalation, restructuring interactions and
The first stage is focused on identifying the point of origin of these negative emotions and
the main issues of concern as these are responsible for the increased conflict. In the second
stage, the clients are taught how to voice their needs and emotions without conflict and at
the same time be compassionate towards each other’s needs and emotions. In the third
stage of EFT, the clients learn how to use their newly developed communication skills to talk
about issues and find solutions outside in the real world, in the absence of a therapist.
- Imago relationship therapy– The term imago comes from Latin and means “image” in
English. But within the context of Imago Relationship Therapy, it represents an “unconscious
image of familiar love.” According to the theory of IRT, an individual unconsciously develops
an idealized notion of a familiar love during his childhood, and it stays unaltered as they
become an adult. Both positive and negative experiences from the past add to their present
concept of love and relationships. During IRT-focused sessions, the clients are encouraged to
open up about their pasts and share details about childhood problems, traumatic
encounters, childhood abuse or neglect, etc., that may harm their present relationship.
- Discernment counselling– Discernment counselling was developed by Bill Doherty and was
aimed to help couples who are uncertain about the future of their relationship. This type of
counselling is often used in cases where one partner is convinced that the relationship
cannot be saved while the other still has hopes intact. This type of counselling is designed to
help clients consider all the lifelines before making the final decision.
Breaking up or deciding to get a divorce is never an easy decision to make. A therapist can
help you make an informed decision by putting out all the options available and discussing
their potential outcomes.
Common issues couple love therapy can help with
Couples therapy is the perfect setting to discuss unresolved issues related to various aspects of your
life. For example:
Beliefs and Values– Differences in beliefs and values can often become the reason for a rift
between the couple. Therapy sessions provide you with the space and mindset to openly
discuss your values, beliefs and religious sentiments with your partner.
Money Matters– Misalignment of income and spending habits is one of the major sources of
conflict among partners. Couples therapy can help encourage transparency and start a
conversation about finances.
Health Issues– Physical or mental health problems can be tough on your relationship.
Couples therapy can help clear your mind and somewhat relieve the stress associated with
this health emergency.
Familial Issues– An estranged relationship with a family member, like parents, siblings and
children can adversely affect your relationship with your partner. Couples therapy can offer
you the right mindset required to tackle this situation without getting your relationship
crushed under the pressure of the ongoing conflict.
Children– To have or not to have kids, or how to raise them or what kind of beliefs and
values to instil in them. These are some of the points that can spark an ongoing argument in
an otherwise healthy relationship. Couples therapy can help you discuss these concerns and
reach a common ground.
Sex and Intimacy Problems– For couples facing sex and intimacy problems, couples therapy
offers a private space to discuss their needs, desires, fears and fantasies without getting
Additional External Factors– Often, external factors such as academics or professional
commitments can put unnecessary stress on your relationship. Through couples therapy,
you can learn better time management and find different ways to compensate for the lack of
availability to your partner.
Couple love therapy in California is proven to help increase affection, respect, understanding and intimacy among
partners and can help create a happier life together. If you are going through a rough patch in your
relationship, couples counselling can help you work through these issues with your partner in a safe
and private setting.