Couples therapy is a type of brief psychotherapy that helps couples of all kinds to recognize and manage their conflicts and increase their satisfaction.
We talk about "managing" conflicts and not "resolving" conflicts because it is expected to encounter conflicts on a daily basis. Conflicts are opportunities to get to know the couple better and can help meet the needs. How the couple manages these conflicts can be problematic.
When it is recommended to go to couples therapy
A couple can consider going to therapy:
1. When negativity and discomfort has increased in conversations.
2. When there is fear of talking about certain topics.
3. When they want to decide whether to continue together or separate.
4. When an infidelity is contemplated or has been consummated.
5. When there has been a major change in sexual relationships.
Most couples come to my office to:
1. Improve your communication
2. Resolve disagreements on how to educate children
3. Manage conflicts about how and when to relate to the respective families of origin
4. They want to recover the spark of the relationship
5. They do not want to repeat models learned from their parents
Sometimes it is only one of the two members who attends a first consultation after having tried in vain to convince the couple to go to therapy. In that session we explore the way you have invited and suggest alternatives. When the couple who, in principle, did not want to attend perceive any positive change, they are curious to attend the sessions.
The road to rupture
Relationships can end at any time. Research indicates that there are two times of high risk: at 5-7 years and at 10-12.
It is not conflict that leads a couple to lack of love, but some behavior patterns and emotions present in the way they manage it. Of the many negative behaviors (contempt, criticism, dominance, defensive attitude, complaint, tension, fear, anger, sadness, etc.), researchers have identified four as predictors of a separation: criticism, contempt, defensive and evasive attitude .
Prediction of stability
A factor that predicts long-term stability is the presence of positive affects and behaviors. Thus, we can see that in happy couples the ratio of positive to negative interactions is 20 to 1, in conflicting 5 to 1 and in those that are about to separate, from 0.8 to 1.