So you moved in together, got married, or are in a long-term relationship. Things were going great, but recently something has shifted and changed. Either that passion has faded or conversations are more and more becoming heated arguments. You still love your partner, but are wondering, "How do we make things better?"
I (Lindsay) work with couples and partners experiencing relationship stress and difficulty communicating. Together, we work to understand different relationship dynamics and practice new skills. But what is couples therapy and how can it help? This article will answering some commonly asked questions to help you know if couples therapy or marriage counseling is right for you and your partner.
What is couple’s therapy?
Couples therapy and marriage counseling and partners counseling are the same thing. I work with queer couples and allies to learn better ways to communicate, listen, and navigate stressful conversations like finances, sex and intimacy, and roles in the relationship.
What kind of therapy is best for couples?
There are many types of therapies utilized for couples therapy. However, making sure your couples therapist uses a treatment modality that is validated by research is important. This is why I choose to use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) techniques in my work with couples. EFT has been shown to be effective and helpful during therapy sessions as well as long after. Don’t take my word for it. There are several different studies that have validated that EFT works.
What does couples counseling consist of?
In EFT, we explore attachment styles and really get to know how those play out in your relationship. We work on skills to improve your communication with one another. Improved communication allows you to talk about hard topics like sex and intimacy or finances and stay connected during and after.
When emotions become more intense, for example you become more angry during an argument, everything speeds up. It’s easy to feel lost or say and do things that you wouldn’t normally say or do. If you’ve ever found yourself in the middle of an argument wondering how you got there, you know this feeling. My job as a couples counselor is to slow down those moments in session in order to understand them better. We look at what emotions come up inside of each person from moment to moment and how your attachment styles are being activated. Building that understanding of what is happening on an emotional level and an attachment level is crucial for relationships. Through this practice you’ll learn skills you can use outside of sessions.
Another part of couples therapy is exploring how past experiences inform and impact the present. Using my training as a trauma therapist, I help partners understand triggering events in their current relationships and how to navigate those moments.
Finally, in my work with queer couples, we also take time to explore how identity intersects with the relationship. It’s all connected and my passion is in providing a safe space to explore these important aspects of identity that impact the relationship.
Curious to learn more or experience it yourself? Send me a message to get started!
Lindsay Cade, LPC (she/her) is a licensed mental health therapist serving the LGBTQ+ community with 8 years experience. She uses affirming, client-centered methods to help folks find freedom from their past and healing in their life. Message her today to get started on your journey to healing.