Couples therapy can be very helpful for a marriage, even one that might be described as doing just fine. That’s because there are often issues that exist beneath the surface, and couples therapy can help the partners identify those issues and learn how to deal with them in a positive way rather than allowing them to create tension and strife in the relationship. Here are some of the treatments commonly used in couples therapy.
Integrative Couples Therapy
Integrative couples therapy focuses on teaching both partners to identify, accept and tolerate the differences they have rather than attempt to change or eliminate those differences. When couples learn to tolerate their differences, the source of conflict–tension created by those differences–often disappears. And reducing the pressure to change, says Andrew Christensen, professor of psychology at UCLA, actually increases the chance that change will occur.
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Also known as emotion-focused couples therapy, this type of treatment was developed by Les Greenberg, Ph.D., and Sue Johnson, Ph.D., according to GoodTherapy.org. Therapists who incorporate EFT will attempt to uncover the individual emotions of each partner, validate these emotions and help the partners to empathize with each other. Even negative emotional responses, such as anger, are identified in EFT as a response that developed in a logical way at some point, though it may now need to be adjusted or changed.
Imago Relationship Therapy
GoodTherapy.org describes this type of therapy, developed by Dr. Harville Hendrix, as a means of identifying and understanding the unconscious factors which played a part for each person in choosing a spouse. By understanding those often unidentified factors, couples learn how they meet each others’ emotional needs, and from there learn to relate to each other in a more loving way.
Internal Family Systems Therapy
Developed by Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D., internal family systems therapy is a comprehensive approach for couples who need help in overcoming a trauma, according to GoodTherapy.org. The method incorporates various concepts from other types of therapy in order to help couples deal with the hurtful past and experience healing. The partners are given practical ways to work in the context of a higher or deeper self in order to avoid feeling pressured or pushed through the process.