Mental Health for Couples
Couples / partners often seek couples therapy, also sometimes called couples counseling or conjoint therapy, when they are faced with a challenge and are looking for support to help overcome it.
Common examples include:
- Feeling like you’re having the same argument over and over
- Feeling dissatisfied with your sexual, physical, or emotional intimacy
- Rebuilding trust after an experience of betrayal
- Difficulty dealing with a major life event such as loss, trauma, aging, work changes, or gender transition
- Feeling helpless to influence a child’s behavior
- Changes in the relationship over time
- Negotiating new terms for the relati0nship
Often couples come to therapy together as a “last effort”, to decide whether or not to stay together. Others are more interested in proactively or reparatively working through challenges before they become critical.
Couples with whom I work can expect that I will honor the struggle to create true intimacy with another adult. Relationships can often trigger our “core issues”, and leave us feeling clueless as to how to resolve differences or to restore the relationship to a place of safety, happiness, and mutual growth. Couples therapy can create a safe space to voice feelings, fears, or thoughts; can support you in taking risks; can present new ideas to try and new skills to learn; and can help couples reach closure.
Entering therapy together is not a guarantee that a couple will stay together. It is a statement that both parties believe the relationship is worth the investment of the time and energy it will take to overcome whatever challenges they face. It is also a sign that both parties are invested enough in the relationship to want either some degree of closure, or mutual agreement as to the course of action to take.
Couples with whom I work can expect me to:
- Honor the efforts each partner makes to understand the other, to voice his or her truth; and to resolve difficulties
- Not take sides in any discussion or disagreement
- Acknowledge what seems to be working in the relationship, and what is not
- Offer my perspective on what seems to be contributing to problems
- Help find common ground
- Describe patterns that I observe that may be counter-productive, and offer alternatives
- Ask both parties to try new ways of saying things, or new behaviors
- Place as a priority the safety of all parties in the relationship or family
- Practice according to the ethical principles of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)
Links related to Couples Mental Health:
- This web article discusses couples’ therapy and issues that couples may work on in psychotherapy, as researched by the American Mental Health Alliance.
- A reprint from “Psychology Today” magazine, this article is called “Six Truths for Couples”
- An article from PsychCentral about couples and dealing with Mental Health issues.
- View additional links on this topic here.