Everyone has been through rocky periods in their relationship. But if you're honest with yourself, you can probably admit that no relationship is perfect or without its issues. Even if your relationship seems blissful most of the time that doesn't mean that you couldn't benefit from couple’s therapy. Relationship counseling can benefit even the happiest couples to level up in communication, bond around shared goals, enhance your romantic relationship and come out stronger through natural transitions in life.
What Is Relationship Counseling?
Relationship counseling is when a couple seeks the counsel of a licensed therapist. They most often meet with the therapist together, although sometimes the therapist may choose to meet with each partner individually at different points during the therapy.
Relationship counseling is most often for couples in committed relationships and you don't need to be married to benefit from couples’ therapy. Engaged couples and couples in committed relationships also benefit from relationship counseling. And at Evolve Therapy, we have a lot of experience working with people representing a wide range of ethnicities, religions, cultures, nationalities, and LGBTQ individuals and couples.
A marriage and family therapist is a licensed therapist that often has a postgraduate degree and has chosen to specialize in couples and family counseling in their studies and postgraduate work. At Evolve, all our counselors are either an LMFT (licensed marriage and family therapists) or a LPCC (licensed professional counseling candidate.) That training and experience is specific to help clients to grow in their relationships, so they are more fulfilling.
What Should We Expect During Couples Therapy?
While there are many approaches to couples therapy, we use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT focuses on the emotions underneath the anger or frustration of feeling ignored, unloved, or betrayed and this leads to a safe expression of deeper needs and desires. Therapists teach couples how to respond to each other in a respectful and loving ways when there are problems or disagreements.
For happy couples who aren't necessarily working through a current problem, the therapist will help you identify areas of your relationship that you care to grow. Perhaps you've noticed some weak spots in your communication. Maybe there is some past trauma for one or both partners that sometimes rears its ugly head. Or maybe you're just looking to make a good relationship even better.
The first few sessions will likely involve the therapist learning a lot about you as a couple, and as individuals. Then, as needed, there may be some individual sessions, as well as couples sessions. Some families even choose to include their children in a few sessions if they feel their family dynamics could be strengthened with the help of the therapist.
Another instance of couples counseling for happy couples that falls outside the bounds is premarital counseling. Premarital counseling is for engaged couples who want to learn better communication patterns and conflict resolution and grow deeper in their relationship before getting married. It's a safe space and time to talk about subjects that greatly impact your future.
Premarital counseling includes content areas like children and parenting, money, sex, religion, expectations of the marriage, and individual goals to make for a healthier relationship. It can be a great foundation and ensure that major red flags don't get overlooked in the passion of a newer relationship.
What can go wrong in couples counseling?
While couples counseling is highly effective, there are times when counseling can go wrong. The biggest reason is if one or both partners isn't willing to participate. Relationship counselors can't pull things out of you that you aren't willing to volunteer. And if both partners aren't committed to growing the relationship, therapy sessions will be ineffective.
Another reason why couples counseling doesn't work is simply if you don't jive with the therapist. It's important to find a therapist you both connect with and feel you can trust and be vulnerable around. If you don't think you'll be able to respect and trust your counselor's suggestions, it might not be a good fit.
If you and your spouse/partner both want to be there and you both like the marriage counselor, there is no reason why therapy can't be effective.
Is Counseling Effective for Happy Couples?
Happy couples are probably happy because they're already intentional about their relationship—aspects like communication, quality time, supporting one another, their sex life, and more.
But most couples can probably identify an area of their relationship where they would like to grow, and they may appreciate the insight of a professional. Also, when happy couples go through life transitions like the birth of a new child, retirement, empty nesting, or a death in the family, they may want help navigating that change.
Perhaps one of the most effective aspects of couples counseling for happy couples is simply the goal-setting piece and the accountability that the counselor provides. You're much more likely to work on your relationship if you're checking back in with your counselor on a regular basis.
Benefits of Relationship Counseling for Happy Couples
There are many benefits to seeing a counselor when you're already in a good place in your relationship. A few benefits that we commonly see are:
Deeper understanding of your partner
Creates an even safer place between you and your partner
Begin to see each other’s perspectives
Deepen your intimacy and connection
Improve communication skills
Ready for the Next Step?
Even if you have a healthy relationship, you can always benefit from some insight from a professional. Relationship counselors provide that expertise by helping couples with the skills they need to have a successful and fulfilling partnership.
Schedule a Couples Counseling Appointment Today
If you’re looking for ways to take your relationship to the next level, consider seeking out the help of a professional at Evolve Therapy. Your therapist can help you communicate in a more effective way that will make your already happy relationship even richer.