couples therapy

Couples Therapy in Georgetown, ON

What is Couples Therapy?

 

Few things in life are as painful as a dysfunctional or toxic relationship.  It’s sad to see how long many couples suffer in these situations believing that there’s no help, or that they’ve tried everything. Whether there’s been one damaging event in your relationship, such as an affair, managing in your newly blended family or your difficulties have grown over time, Couples Therapy Centre can help.

Every relationship goes through ups and down, and it is common for couples to experience a loss of closeness when they are struggling.  Relationship distress is similar to climbing a mountain. Sometimes the challenges can feel painful and unbearable. Counselling can give couples the courage and motivation to keep climbing and make it to the top.   

 

Whilst it may feel overwhelming, making a choice to seek couples counselling is an important step towards positive change in a relationship. Counselling can be helpful for all stages in a relationship.  For example, couples therapy can help new couples develop the capacity to recover quickly from their difficulties and be aware of their interaction pattern.  It can help established couples strengthen their bond and connection; or it can restore trust and security for couples in deep distress.

 

It is important that you and your partner find a therapist with whom you both feel comfortable with. This plays an important role in the change process, and is considered equally or more important as the counselling technique itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Couples Therapy & Marriage Counselling Process?

 

All our couples therapists integrate research-based interventions based on the steps and stages of Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Your services with Couples Therapy Centre will begin with a thorough assessment of your couple relationship. 

A joint session is followed by individual interviews with each partner whereby each partner provides information about themselves and their relationship.  We then resume joint sessions for the remainder of our work together, provided couples therapy is safe and appropriate.

 

The frequency of sessions is preferably weekly or biweekly to start, but we can be flexible to accommodate your schedule.

Emotionally Focused Therapy research indicates that the average number of counselling sessions to be about 12-20. 

However, every relationship is unique and for some couples, only a few sessions might be needed.  Whilst for others, a longer process is required.   

 

Couples therapy and marriage counselling sessions focus on helping couples learn their negative communication cycle, and replace the negative cycle with positive interactions.  Therapists aim to help clients gain a better understanding of themselves and their partner so their relationship can weather the ups and downs whilst feeling safely connected to one another.

 

There are three main stages, and nine steps in the Emotionally Focused Therapy approach:


De-escalation stage:

  • Identify the couples’ key issues.

  • Identify how these issues are expressed in negative patterns of interaction.

  • Identify the fears and negative emotions underlying the negative interaction patterns.

  • Reframe the issues as unmet attachment and emotional needs.

Changing Interaction Patterns Stage:

  • Identify each individual’s disowned attachment style and emotional needs.

  • Teach couple to express acceptance and compassion for each other’s attachment and emotional needs.

  • Teach couple to express their attachment and emotional needs to restructure patterns of interaction and promote bonding.

Consolidation and Integration Stage:

  • Teach couple new ways to communicate about old issues, and develop new solutions to them.

  • Teach couple how to use the skills gained during therapy but outside of the therapy room.

You, as the client, don't have to be aware of these steps or stages.  Our counsellors are skilled at guiding sessions and taking an active role in the process.  Couples therapy in Georgetown can help you to develop the skills to overcome your difficulties. We will help you find the root causes of your relationship issues, uncover and express painful emotions, and provide support and guidance to help resolve them.

When is the Right Time to Go to Couples Therapy?

Of course, in an ideal world, you would go to a couples therapy when you’re not in a real crisis.  Some couples do attend couples therapy before they’ve encountered a catastrophic event. It can strengthen the relationship and be used as a preventative tool so that when issues do come up, you and your partner have the skills you need to tackle it together.  It can be helpful when going through a specific stressor, such as transitioning to life with a new baby, or when you’ve decided to blend families.  

 

Most couples, however, are looking for a therapist in a hurry.  Problems in their relationship have reached a point where there is a code red emergency.  Other attempts at resolving their distress are not working, and couples are desperate for help.  Many of the couples therapists at Couples Therapy Centre have immediate availability and are there to strengthen some piece of your relationship, or help you navigate the tough times.

What Kind of Results Can I Expect?

Sometimes, even the best and most experienced therapists can’t save a relationship.  At times, one or both partners are not even sure they want to stay in the relationship.  If there’s ambivalence about the relationship, the couples therapist will ask that both partners commit to the work of improving the relationship for a period of time. This means 100% committing to trying to make the relationship work and putting on hold any research on divorce/lawyers etc.   At the very least, the process of couples therapy will still provide you with learning and clarity about how you want to move forward. 

 

When the couple has been distant and their polarized positions have been entrenched for years (sometimes decades), the progress in couples therapy may be very slow. Many of our couples share that they start to notice small shifts in behaviour, thoughts or feelings (your own or your partners’) within the first 4 sessions.  It’s important to notice these changes, no matter how small. Even the smallest changes indicate progress.  

 

Some of our couples find they meet their goals with 6-8 sessions.  Mostly, the research on Emotionally Focused Therapy (the approach we use at Couples Therapy Centre) shows that most couples find that 12-20 sessions is sufficient to help them feel securely connected.  

 

Our goal as your couples therapist, is not to solve your problems for you.  But to give you the skills and strategies to solve your own relationship problems going forward.

What if my Partner Does Not Want to Attend Couples Therapy?

It’s not unusual for one partner to be more invested in couples therapy than the other.  Chances are, since you are reading this, you are the one that is highly invested.  Your goal is to gently encourage your partner to attend one session.  In this session, they will have an opportunity to have their perspective heard.  Let them know that a couples therapist is not going to be blaming or judging.  Instead, make it clear to your partner that they will be able to say what’s on their mind and express their concerns to the therapist. The couples therapist values both perspectives.  

 

Once you get your partner in the door, the couples therapist will take over.  The therapist is trained to work with less than enthusiastic partners.

What do I Look for in a Couples Therapist?

This is a tough one to answer as what may be right for one person is not right for another. The number one most important part of therapy is finding a therapist you connect with.  You may have to meet a couple of different therapists to find one that fits just right for you and your partner.  Talk to your partner about it and determine what qualities are important to you both before you begin your search. Ask yourselves: What kind of therapist are you looking for?  Is there a certain vibe you want (laid back versus clinical etc).  Do you have a preference for age or gender?  Are you looking for someone that offers in person appointments?  Would you prefer someone from a specific cultural background?

Many couples do not openly talk about their experience in therapy with family or friends but you can always ask a trusted friend if they know of any therapists.  If you are seeing an individual therapist, they may be able to make a recommendation.  

Last, Psychology Today is a useful online directory for therapists. You can narrow your search based on location, and type of therapy you are requiring.  

I always recommend you meet with a therapist or two for free consultations prior to making the decision to hire them as your couples therapist.  At Couples Therapy Centre, we offer free 20 min consultations, to make your search for the right therapist a little easier.  
 

Is there Anything I Need to do to Prepare for the First Session?

Yes, if you have insurance coverage, you will need to get details of your insurance prior to the first session. You and your partner will also receive an intake/consent form (sent to you online) to be completed prior to the first session. 

How can a Couples Therapist in Georgetown Help?

At the start of our work together, we ask each partner questions about their experience of the relationship.  We listen with our hearts and our heads, offering validation in a space that is non-judgmental and empathic.  We try to understand where each partner is coming from, where their hurts originate, how they try to meet unfulfilled needs, and how they cope with their pain.  Each partner can start to understand the unintended effects of their behaviour on the other and take responsibility for the pain they may have caused.

 

Over the course of several couples therapy sessions, this step by step process leads to a reduction in conflict (de-escalation).  Couples we work with feel and express empathy for themselves and one another. They gain trust, emotional safety, and feel a secure bond in their relationship.

When partners feel loved, they feel that they belong and are valued to the other person.  They are secure in the knowledge that their partner will be there for them when they need them. This security creates a physical and emotional attachment to another one. 

How to Get Started with
Couples Therapy

You can book online anytime or email us with your questions here.

We may be busy with clients, but will usually respond within 3 days. 

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