Frequently Asked Questions About Couples Therapy
What is your approach to helping couples?
I help couples in two major ways: 1). get closure on old issues, and 2). develop practical ways to improve current day interactions. I believe these two things need to go hand in hand for therapy to be helpful. Without immediate action, then it will be all talk, therefore therapy needs to lead to actual changes in behavior. On the other hand, old issues and personal history are the root of the problem, that is why old issues will be dug up and discussed in therapy. Talking about old issues shouldn’t be just a rehashing or a “gripe-fest”, there is a clear intention of reaching resolve.
Therapy is productive if it can achieve those two things–the couple can walk away feeling like there is closure to the past as well as having practical actions they can take to improve their relationship.
Is couples therapy effective? What is the success rate?
Couples therapy theories and methods have improved greatly in the last few decades, with research showing much higher success rates. I personally chose to specialize in this area because of the high success rate I saw in my clients.
The bigger question is: will couples therapy be effective for you and your partner?
Successful couples therapy requires both of you to be committed to “fighting for” the relationship–a mutual dedication that neither of you will give up and walk away. If both of you truly want to save and fix the relationship, there is a high chance you will succeed, and end up with a happier and stronger relationship.
How frequent and how long will the sessions be, and how long will the entire process take?
While individual therapy tends to be about 50-60 mins per session, couples therapy typically lasts 90 mins (an hour and a half) per session. I block off two hours for each appointment, in case more time is needed. The duration depends on the flow of the topic and what seems to be a good point to wrap up the discussion.
Typically couples will come in once a week in the beginning and the frequency will wind down to once every two or three weeks. The frequency depends on how the progress is going–as problems are addressed and improving, the frequency will go down. For couples in high conflict or in the midst of a very volatile situation, they may come in more than once a week until the situation is stabilized.
The total duration of therapy could last a few weeks to a few months. It depends on the problem at hand. My personal goal is to help solve things as fast as possible so the couples can go back to living happy lives. I understand the pain of being in an unhappy, dissatisfying relationship, so I am dedicated to changing that as soon as possible.
How will we know if therapy has been effective? How do we decide when to stop therapy?
End goals are discussed and determined in the very beginning of counseling. The end goal guides the direction of the counseling, to ensure we stay on track and use time productively, as opposed to aimlessly complaining about each other.
When the original goals are reached, therapy can end. Some couples opt to come back once in a while for “check ups”, but there is always a clear point where the couple knows that they have reached their goal and are ready to end therapy.