The problem is that couples wait an average of five to six years to solve their conflicts. But by that time their relationship is already beyond worn out. The best time to go to therapy is when you just start to feel like you aren’t getting along with your partner. It’s when you try to explain something to them and feel like they don’t understand what you’re trying to say.
Therapy is much more effective if you go when the conflicts haven’t dug in too deep. The percentage of success with couples therapy is almost 75%, but the sooner a couple goes, the more effective it is. At the most, this should be two years after problems begin.
Keys to effective couples therapy
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy says that three out of every four couples who go to therapy report improvement in their relationship. People who go to couples therapy see their mental health improve, and two thirds of them even experience improvements in their physical health and work performance.
José Bustamante, the General Secretary of the Spanish Association of Sexology Specialists, says that the first thing to do in this kind of therapy is figure out the real problem. Most couples go to therapy because they argue a lot, but behind all that noise, there are unresolved conflicts. That’s why the first thing that needs to be aired out is the real reason the relationship isn’t working.
You have to work on dialogue instead of monologue. In other words, you need to empathize with the other person. You have to listen to them, hear what’s really going on with them, and try to understand it. That’s why the main thing with therapy is to teach you to listen, put yourself in their shoes, and learn to communicate what you feel or what bothers you without hurting the other person.
What couples therapy can help with
When a couple has issues, both people are part of the problem and part of the solution. The specific couple and the reason they’ve come to therapy will determine which tools are used, but the goal is always the same. The couple has to learn to resolve their conflicts. That goes just as much for the ones they already have as well as the ones that will come up later.
Couples therapy can also have two functions. On the one hand, it can help with accepting the fact that the relationship is over. You don’t have to see it as some kind of defeat, because sometimes breaking up is the best solution.
On the other hand, it can also help you get to know yourself better. Most of all, it can teach you to be a better partner in your current or future relationships.
Why go to couples therapy?
Couples therapy is a tool that can help you identify problems. It gives both halves of the relationship more self-knowledge as well as understanding of their relationship. It can help you rediscover the other person’s value.
A couples therapist will give you resources that will help you resolve conflicts, prevent mistakes in your relationship, learn new ways to communicate, and lastly, find yourself and make your way to a happier, more satisfying relationship.
In the end, couples therapy is about trying to get back to a place in your relationship where you’re content. The goal is to help you get back there, but now with stronger, more mature foundations. It’s worth giving your relationship a shot, and it’s worth giving yourself one too.