Couples therapy is a type of therapy in which a licensed provider with clinical experience work with individuals involved in a relationship to gain insight into their relationship, resolve conflict, and improve relationship satisfaction utilizing a variety of therapeutic interventions. Although the practice of behavioral couples therapy may vary depending on the therapist’s theoretical orientation, all couples therapy tends to involve the following general elements:

The therapist will assist the couple in identifying the issue that will be the focus of treatment, establishing treatment goals and planning a structure for treatment for each session. During treatment, the therapist will help the couple gain insight into the relational dynamics creating the problem and guide both partners to understand their roles in the dysfunctional interactions. This greater insight on relationship issues and distress will help them change the way they perceive the relationship and each other. Although gaining insight is important, another crucial aspect of couples therapy involves actually changing behaviors. Couples’ therapists will often assign homework to apply the skills they have learned in therapy to their day-to-day interactions. Most couples come away from therapy with greater knowledge of their relational patterns and with the necessary skills to effectively communicate and problem-solve with their partners.