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    A Brief Guide to Couples Therapy

    If you are local to the Scottsdale, AZ area and interested in booking couples therapy or a marriage counseling session, schedule an appointment here or give us a call at (480) 235-1682.

    Across the US, couples therapy is helping relationships heal, grow, and thrive—and for a good reason. Here is a quick guide on what couples therapy is, how it can work, and how it’s helping couples improve their communications and strengthening their relationships more and more each day.

    What is Couples Therapy?

    Couples therapy is a type of counseling that examines the issues, negative patterns, and conflicts within a relationship with the primary goal to help couples repair and rebuild their bond with each other in a healthy, sustainable way. Facilitated by an experienced couples counselor, couples therapy is a great tool for showing couples how they can work together to overcome their issues while also getting the satisfaction and emotional support they both need to be happy.

    Why Couples Therapy?

    It’s common to see couples get stuck on the same argument or issue over and over again—finding themselves caught in a reoccurring loop of negativity and stress. Even when both individuals have the best of intentions and want to avoid conflict, neither side is getting the kind of answers, reassurance, or support they need to successfully deescalate the argument and begin to bond again.

    Couples therapy can help relationships begin to heal by sorting through those issues or points of tension and isolating the negative behaviors or decisions (made by one or both partners) that typically contribute to fights and conflict. Often couples find that their fights aren’t necessarily about the small miscommunications that originally set off the argument, but they’re about something deeper and more abstract—like issues with trust, safety, support, or comfort.

    Here, the goal is to help couples learn more about themselves and gain useful communications techniques so they can help defuse problematic situations and fulfill their emotional needs (as well as their partner’s needs) at the same time. Doing so not only allows couples to work through their issues in a more healthy way, but it can also bring them closer together because they have a deeper understanding of what their partner needs to feel loved, heard, and supported.

    Couples Counseling 101: What to Expect

    With sessions typically attended by both partners, couples therapy can vary in duration and is dependent on the specific situation or needs of the couple as well as the strategies taken by their counselor.

    Starting Out

    Regardless of what caused the couple to reach out and seek therapy in the first place, everyone starts at square one. In this beginning phase, the couple is encouraged to express their feelings and share their issues about the relationship in a safe, comfortable, and confidential environment.

    Doing so gives their counselor an accurate, foundational sense of their relationship dynamics, the kinds of conflicts they face, and how they might be able to improve in the coming weeks or months.

    For the couple, this may be one of the first occasions they have to share their feelings about their partner with a neutral party and/or mediator, and may also be a time when deep-seated or unspoken feelings about the relationship may emerge.

    Once the counselor has spent some time with and learned more about the couple and what obstacles they are encountering, he or she can begin guiding them through their conflicts piece by piece and start formulating a plan for them to work on together moving forward.

    Learning and Understanding

    After the couple has shared their frustrations, fears, concerns, anxieties, etc., about the relationship, the healing process can begin. With their counselor’s help, couples will begin to understand and process what they need from the relationship, what their partner needs, and what role each can play in getting the relationship to a strong, loved-filled place. Based on those needs, each person in the relationship can begin adjusting their behavior to accommodate and help their partner feel more supported, heard, and loved.

    Putting New Skills Into Practice

    Last, the couple is encouraged to apply what they have learned from their counseling sessions into daily life and assess if they are having a positive impact on the relationship. Are their bonds and connections improving? Have conflicts or miscommunications grown worse? At this stage, the counselor can begin to evaluate whether more counseling sessions are needed or if the couple’s obstacles or issues need to be revisited.

    If the sessions seem successful and the couple feels positive about their experience, they can start to phase out of treatment, work on their communications and behaviors, and continue to strengthen the relationship together as a team.

    About Pathways Counseling Services

    Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Pathways Counseling Services specializes in helping couples identify the problem areas that cause strain and distress in the relationship and begin healing together as one. If you and/or your partner need counseling services or are curious about how a couples therapy session might be able to help, you can schedule an appointment with us here or call (480) 235-1682.

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