A Look at the Benefits of Couples Therapy
It's estimated that nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States sought therapy for mental health in 2019. The benefits of therapy cannot be overstated, as the treatment isn't just for people who are actively struggling—it's for people who are trying to make big decisions, who are trying to heal from past trauma and who are simply seeking more control over their mental health.
Couples therapy is no different, and you don't have to be on thin ice to benefit. Couples therapy can help guide you and your partner in the ideal direction for your relationship, whether it includes marriage, children or even an open relationship. Here's a look at some of the ways you and your partner can benefit from couples therapy.
Couples therapy is a judgment-free zone
Hiding frustrations you have about your relationship or life isn't healthy, and letting those resentful feelings simmer under the surface often results in scathing blowups.
A couples therapist will never judge you or your partner for blowups. Rather, they'll help you get to the root of the problem and discuss ways to resolve the unmet need. No one can judge you for making a healthy decision to discuss your relationship issues with a professional, and your therapist certainly won't judge you for your reasons to opt for therapy.
Couples therapy facilitates healthy communication
Communication is one of the "three Cs" of intimacy, alongside closeness and commitment. Sometimes writers, teachers, lawyers and others with professional communication skills struggle to find the best words to convey their needs in relationships. That's where a couples therapist comes in. If you want to present an idea to your partner about a change in your relationship in the clearest and kindest way possible, a couples therapist can help.
For example, if you're in a monogamous relationship and wish to be in an open relationship, you may struggle to find the words to convey the idea to your partner in a way that isn't hurtful. Since monogamy is prevalent in our culture, people unfamiliar with alternative relationship styles may be offended by their partner's desire for something different. Couples therapy, especially with a therapist who specializes in ethical nonmonogamy, can help couples navigate these tricky discussions in a way that both partners will feel heard, respected and loved.
Couples therapy gives you tools to be successful
Therapy work doesn't end when you walk out of your therapist's office. Couples therapists can provide you with tools to help you and your partner practice the skills learned in therapy at home—without supervision.
I spoke to Nicole Rubin, LPC, a therapist working in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. She likes to recommend different tools based on her couples' specific needs. The resources she recommends consist of books to read together, communication activities and physical exercises such as yoga and breathwork to teach couples about how the body stores trauma or to ease their minds after a tough session. Taking advantage of the additional resources a couples therapist offers can only strengthen your bond and move your relationship forward toward your goals.
Therapy is healthy
Learning healthier communication skills can benefit you at any stage of a relationship. You don't have to be on the verge of a breakup to consider couples therapy. Whether you're just becoming official, engaged and planning a wedding or you're 10 years and two kids down the line, therapy can provide you with great resources to strengthen your bond with your partner.