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Advanced Psychology Institute

5 Questions About Couples Therapy You May Be Too Afraid to Ask

a couple at a therapy session

 

Couples therapy offers numerous benefits, providing a couple with the chance to work with an unbiased third party to address important issues. It allows them to learn simple tools and techniques to repair and strengthen their relationship. Additionally, it offers a safe space to discuss topics that might be difficult to talk about otherwise, with the support of a therapist. In cases where a couple is considering separation, a therapist can help negotiate an amicable and calm split. While these qualities make couples therapy a valuable tool, there are still many misconceptions about what it entails. Let’s address some of these myths and misconceptions here.

 

People seeking couples counseling often have two primary concerns: the state of their relationship and the experience of therapy itself. What good will it do? And what’s it like to reveal your most private relationship concerns to a stranger?

1. “How long will we have to be in therapy?”

Therapy sessions typically last about an hour each week, and the duration of therapy depends on the specific issues a couple faces. According to Vitalina Tarasenko, a marriage and family therapist at the Advanced Psychology Institute (API) in Texas, “Therapy takes longer if there’s been an injury to the relationship, such as an affair or betrayal. In such cases, therapy might last up to a year.”

For couples focusing on improving communication and resolving minor conflicts, therapy might last between three to six months, provided they attend sessions consistently.

2. “Will the therapist take sides?”

In couples therapy, the therapist’s goal is to support the relationship rather than taking sides. Michael Buchman, a therapist at API in New Jersey, explains, “Marriage therapists are trained to see both perspectives. They focus on the needs of the partnership, not just one person’s. While one partner might receive more attention during certain sessions, the overall objective is to ensure both individuals feel heard, understood, and supported.”

3. “Is it OK if we talk about sex?”

Absolutely. Discussing sexual concerns is a crucial part of couples therapy. Dr. Valery Fradkov, the founder of the API, notes, “For particular sexual issues or dysfunctions, consider seeking out someone with extensive training in this area, such as a clinical sexologist or urologist.” Openly discussing sexual matters can lead to a deeper understanding and improvement in your intimate relationship.

4. “Is therapy going to save my relationship?”

Therapy is not a quick fix but a process that requires effort and commitment from both partners. While a therapist provides guidance and tools, the success of therapy largely depends on the couple’s willingness to work through their issues. Nadia Ivanchikov, a counselor at API, compares this expectation to going to the gym and blaming it for not shedding pounds. “The gym is a place for you to do your work, but the effort is yours. The same applies to therapy; if it doesn’t save the relationship, it’s often because one partner isn’t willing to do the work or the problems are too large to resolve in therapy alone.”

5. “It didn’t work before, so why would it work now?”

Past experiences with couples therapy might have been disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work this time. Dr Alexandra Alexandrova, Mind-body Coach from Paris, France, advises, “Sometimes the timing wasn’t right, and one or both partners weren’t ready to make necessary changes. Give therapy another chance; you might find it helpful this time around.”

Understanding what couples therapy is and isn’t can help set correct expectations, allowing you to get the most out of the experience. An unbiased third party can be a valuable tool in improving your relationship, so it’s worth exploring.

 

If you’re considering couples therapy for your family, it’s essential to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to explore the underlying dynamics of your relationships. Contact us to learn more about how our tailored therapy sessions can support your family’s unique needs and goals.

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