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Does Couples Therapy Actually Work? The Pros & Cons

Struggles in any relationship cause undue stress and uncertainty. If partners are not hearing each other or feeling validated, it can spell doom that neither party believes is salvageable. Couples therapy can benefit a couple, but it’s also a field that not everyone believes could possibly help.

Verywell Mind surveyed 1,106 adults about their experiences with couples therapy, and 99% said it had a positive impact. Of those people, 94% say it was worth the money. It does work if you trust in your therapist and complete exercises honestly and regularly.

One of the questions couples ask when deciding if couples therapy is the best path forward is if it even works. I get it. It’s hard to put your faith in a stranger, even if that stranger is a relationship expert. The answer to that popular question is it doesn’t work for everyone. You need to carefully consider the answers to these questions to determine if it’s the right choice for you.

  • What are your expectations? If you expect to have your problems resolved after one meeting and refuse to invest a lot of time into it, it’s probably not the right choice.
  • How open is each problem? If you’re going to shut down and refuse to open up or be honest with yourself, your partner, and your therapist, you won’t find it effective.
  • Are you ready to make changes in your habits and life? If you’re unwilling to change how you speak, behave, or react, it won’t work.

The Pros of Couples Therapy

When you’re willing to invest the time and energy into couples therapy, there are clear benefits.

Conflicts Get Resolved

You learn ways to resolve conflicts in healthy ways. Instead of one person shutting down, you learn how to navigate the challenges and find solutions that both parties can agree to.

You Become Close Again If Not Closer Than Before

One of the best outcomes of couples therapy is that you regain the closeness and even passion that you lost. If it’s been a while since you’ve felt like intimacy is even worth it, it can be exciting to regain that closeness. It boosts your self-esteem, self-worth, and value as a couple.

You Build Healthy Communication Skills

Couples therapy helps you work on communication and listening skills. Instead of interrupting or speaking over each other, you learn how to listen and how to be heard in healthy, effective ways. Another beneficial aspect of improving your communication skills is that you 

You Can Analyze Your Relationship and Come to Joint Decisions

Not every relationship is a healthy one. With couples therapy, you work together to take a deeper look at the relationship and determine if it’s a healthy one. It’s okay to realize that a relationship has run its course, and it’s just as acceptable to realize you both want to save it.

You Gain Insights Into Yourself and What You Want

Couples therapy isn’t just about your relationship. It also helps you find your faults and strengths within the relationship so that you see where there’s room to grow. Self-awareness is a very good trait to gain from this therapy as it helps you with stress management and finding better ways of coping with change and problems.

Additionally, it can help you find what you want. It’s easy to put another person’s needs first when you’re in a relationship, but failing to recognize your needs is detrimental. Couples therapy helps you see what you need for this relationship to thrive.

The Cons of Couples Therapy

While there are many clear benefits to couples therapy, there are also negatives. You have to weigh the pros and cons to decide if it’s right for you. Sometimes, the negatives are easily transformed into positives, so don’t forget that aspect of therapy.

If Both Parties Aren’t Onboard, It’s Not Going to Work

You’re eager to attend couples therapy, but your partner doesn’t care. You feel like you have to drag your partner to sessions and then he or she shuts down and won’t participate. It’s not going to work, but you could consider going for counseling on your own.

It’s Costly

Couples therapy isn’t cheap. Your health insurance isn’t going to cover it, so you’re paying the cost out of pocket. If it takes 10 sessions to start seeing big improvements and you’re spending hundreds of dollars per session, it can quickly drain your savings if you aren’t giving therapy an honest attempt.

It’s Too Late

If the relationship is over, it’s over. Even with the best therapist, not every relationship can be salvaged. It’s worth a try, and a therapist can help you see how to assess when it’s better to part amicably than try to save a sinking ship.

The Therapist Isn’t the Right Fit

Not everyone meshes, and that’s a risk when you’re working with a therapist for the first time. If you’re not a good fit, you have to start over. This is why you want to look for a therapist who offers a complimentary introductory session. If one isn’t right for you, try another without fear of running up massive bills.

You Have Unrealistic Expectations

Couples therapy isn’t a one-and-done venture. It’s not a quick fix. It’s an investment of time. It can take months, and some couples keep going for check-ins every few months just to keep everything on track. If you’re not patient and expect results on the first day, it’s not going to work well for you.

Where to Start

The best place to get started is by scheduling an appointment. With options for online sessions or in-person ones, you aren’t tied to getting to an office together at a specific time. You can schedule online sessions at your convenience from where you’re comfortable. If you don’t want to be in the same room so that you have a little more courage to speak your mind, you can arrange online therapy to give you that space.

Remember that even if you aren’t certain your relationship will last, couples therapy does help you improve your communication and listening skills in future relationships. It’s still worthwhile for the personal growth you achieve.

One of the best ways to determine if couples therapy is right for you is to schedule an initial consultation. The Relationship Expert offers a free 15-minute consultation for new clients. Discuss your goals, problems you’re having, and find out how Jaime can help you form a closer, successful relationship.

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