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Everything You Need To Know About Couples Therapy

October 1, 2023


A man and woman share a joyful moment, laughing together during a therapy meeting.


When couples have challenges in their relationships, it can be difficult for both partners. Couples therapy is designed to help couples in crisis to learn how to express themselves in a healthier and more effective way. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics behind couples therapy. We talk about what couples therapy is, which couples are good candidates for couples therapy, and where to find affordable and effective couples therapy online.

Couples Therapy – The Basics

Communication – learning how to communicate effectively can be one of the biggest challenges for dating, intimate, and married couples. Many times, love is present in relationships, but if neither partner is able to communicate this effectively, one or the other partner may feel that their relationship is suffering. Talking to a licensed relationship expert can help couples learn how to understand each other’s love languages, fight fair, and make better joint decisions. Couples who get therapy together often report improved communication with their partner as the best benefit of therapy.

Behaviors – when we enter into a new relationship with our partners, we have to learn what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable in our relationships. Many couples run into issues when one partner doesn’t agree with the other partner’s standard of behavior or showing affection. For example, many new couples argue about time spent apart, curfews, disapproval of friends, or family. Couples who don’t address these issues properly can be in for many years of toxic behaviors, separation, and even divorce. A licensed marriage and family therapist can act as an unbiased third-party to help couples address their behavioral concerns correctly and effectively.

Thoughts and Emotions – learning how to express our thoughts and emotions in relationships can be especially challenging for people who grew up in a toxic or traumatic environment. A couple’s therapist will help you and your partner learn how to identify and express their emotions in a healthy way that isn’t damaging to the relationship. If one or both partners has issues with mental illness or mental health, a licensed relationship therapist or marriage and family therapist is clinically trained to provide diagnosis and treatment for these issues that can negatively affect the quality of married, dating, and intimate relationships.

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Happy gay couple having breakfast

Couples Therapy – Topics Of Discussion

When people come together to form long-term relationships and marriages, they are often overwhelmed by romantic emotions and feelings. As a result, the important conversations that many couples need to have about how they plan to share or divide responsibilities often doesn’t come up until after there has already been an issue in the relationship. The following are examples of common concerns couples address in couples therapy.

Finances – deciding whether to keep separate finances and bank accounts or to open joint accounts is often a serious question for many couples. While partners often have deep love and affection for each other, their spending habits are quite often very different. One partner in the relationship may feel strongly that they should “spend” to make sure that the needs of the partners, family, and children in the relationship are met. On the other hand, some partners feel they should “save” for a rainy day and want to make sure there is always an available nest-egg in the case of hardship or unexpected circumstances. Talking to a therapist can help you and your partner to understand each other’s spending habits and find a happy medium for spending, saving, and managing financial responsibilities in your marriage or relationship.

Raising children – much like how to manage finances, some couples have differing viewpoints on how to raise children. One partner may be more strict or stern and promote an organized parenting style, while another partner may have a more carefree and hands-off approach to parenting. Understanding each others’ parenting styles and learning what works for both of you is the best way to avoid power struggles between partners and children as the rules for parenting are established and uniform across the board. A therapy professional can help you and your partner to address issues with raising children, parenting styles, and develop co-parenting strategies for blended families.

Are We Good Candidates For Couples Therapy?

Most couples who get couples therapy do so because they want to improve the quality of their relationship or to prevent what seems to be an inevitable breakup. While couples therapy has been able to accomplish both improving and saving thousands of relationships, the most important requirement for having success in couples therapy — is the couple’s willingness to participate in open, honest conversations. If you or your partner isn’t willing to fully invest in the couples therapy process by being transparent during your therapy sessions, chances are your relationship won’t see any improvement. When you ask yourself if you and your partner are good candidates for couples therapy, ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you both open to honest emotional sharing that may leave you feeling emotionally vulnerable to your partner from time-to-time?
  • What are your motivations for getting couples therapy?
  • Are you genuinely in love with your partner and willing to put in the effort to resolve complex problems?

If you and your partner are able to agree that you’re willing to be vulnerable to each other by sharing openly and honestly in therapy, then you are likely good candidates for therapy. As long as you both recognize that therapy is a clinical process that requires emotional vulnerability and you’re willing to commit to attending confidential therapy sessions, you and your partner are great candidates for couples therapy.

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Where To Find Affordable Couples Therapy

Couples who want to start therapy have a few options for getting affordable therapy. The national cost for in-office therapy sessions ranges from $65.00 to $200.00 per hour. This cost can be more or less depending on your location. For example, in rural areas, the costs can be less, and in urban areas and larger cities, therapy costs can be higher. For couples who have insurance plans that cover the costs of therapy, in-office options are available. Contact your health insurance provider directly to find out if individual or couples therapy sessions are covered under your health insurance plan and the Mental Health Parity Act.

For couples who have issues with transportation, have no insurance, or can’t afford the costs of in-office couples therapy sessions, affordable online therapy options are available. Online therapists hold the same credentials as couples therapists who provide services in private practices, hospitals, and behavioral health clinics. A quick google search and a reading online therapy platform reviews can help learn more about affordable online couples therapy options in your state.