If your relationship is in distress and on the verge of collapse, you might feel there is no way out to save your marriage. And the myths about low success rates in couples’ therapy worsens the situation, which leads us to ask ourselves the question, “does couples therapy work?” It does, and there are structured processes of couples’ therapy and documented results from follow-ups. There are systemic models of couples therapy that exist. It is in the record that couples therapy yields positive results. It shows that parties can benefit from the treatment following five underlying principles. A therapist may choose to adopt a behavioural or emotional approach as long as the therapist uses similar strategies, the results will be positive and effective in changing lives.

An evidence-based approach in therapy treatment can be useful both for couples and individuals because it means that the therapy is against other methods in controlled trials. Using evidence-based practice, psychologists adopt the theoretical orientation to ensure they use the best evidence, clinical or research.

Principles of effective couples therapy

A therapist will seek to change a couple’s views in a relationship throughout the therapeutic process from the onset. The therapist will attempt to make both parties see their relationship from an objective point of view. Each partner rebukes their hardstands and looks at what will happen to each partner if they do not compromise. The therapist first collects data from the interaction between the couples and formulate the hypothesis about factors that led to the couples’ interactions. The therapist shall employ different strategies that focus on altering how teams view their relationship and how each partner understands the reasons for staying together.

A therapist will attempt to change dysfunctional behaviour in a couple. It means trying to change the way the couples regard each other and help them improve their interactions. A therapist will ensure that their clients are not engaging in actions that can physically or psychologically harm one another. A therapist will first assess his or her clients to see any risk of physical harm. If there is any sign of physical abuse and the threat persists during the therapy session, the best thing a therapist can do is, refer one of the partners to a violence shelter. Or drug abuse treatment and management centres or any other anger management institution until they are both safe to attend therapy sessions. The time-out will serve to de-escalate the conflict.

A therapist will help couples decrease emotional avoidance. Partners who do not express their private feelings to the other partner because of fear end up becoming emotionally distant. An effective couples therapist will help their clients unleash their thoughts and feelings without fear. The attachment-based approach will bring the couples closer emotionally and not afraid of expressing their private feelings.

Communication is one of the fundamental means to develop intimacy. It should not involve abusive language or ridicule one another. Communication should provide a means to express one’s true feelings. A therapist may have to coach couples on talking to one another in a supportive and understanding manner.

A therapy session for couples should focus on strengths in a relationship and build resilience, especially towards the sessions’ end. It will leave the partners recharged and see life from a different angle than before. Find out more from 4-life Psychology Centre.