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Couples Counseling Styles and Specialties
Styles and Specialties of Couples Counseling… And How to Know Which One is Right for You
Our last post was about different types of individual counseling. But, what if you are looking for couples counseling? Are there different types of relationship therapy, too? (Related article: Individual vs. Marriage Counseling).
The answer is yes! There are many different styles and approaches when it comes to couples counseling. Today, you will learn more about some of the common couples therapy specialties. We will also talk about how you can know which one is right for you and your partner.
Unique Couples, Unique Counseling
First, let’s talk a little bit about why there are different types of couples counseling. The simple answer is this: your relationship is unique. So, your therapist’s approach should also be unique. In other words, the type of counseling your therapist chooses to use for your relationship should match your needs as a couple.
Most types of couples therapy revolve around a couple of basic, research-backed ideas. Let’s talk about them.
Your Relationship: A Family System
The first is called family systems theory. Family systems theory is the idea that your relationship with your partner (and your family) is its own system. (Source) Think of it like an ecosystem in nature. You have many different plants, animals, and trees interacting in an ecosystem. And those plants, animals, and trees work together and respond to each other based on stress and challenges.
The same goes for your relationship. If stress is introduced to your lives, you and your partner will each respond. Now, these responses may not be the most productive or supportive of the system as a whole. That’s why family systems are a useful concept in therapy.
The idea behind family systems is that if you can heal your relationship system through improving your communication and understanding of each other, you can better tackle the difficulties you face together. If your system is functioning well, your relationship will, too.
Next, let’s talk about another perspective of couples counseling. This point of view is based on Attachment Theory. This idea suggests that when you were an infant, you began to learn about “attachment” to your caregiver. If your caregiver responded to your needs and cared for you, then you likely developed good attachment. This means that you have trust in your loved one and you feel safe and secure. (Related Article: Marriage Counseling- How to Build Trust)
However, some may develop their attachment in response to a caregiver who did not care for their needs. Or, maybe other mental health struggles or stress made it a challenge for you to become securely attached to your caregiver. That means that, as a result, you might struggle to find trust and security in your relationship with your caregiver.
Now, what does this all mean for you now that you are not an infant? Attachment theory suggests that because you learned trust and attachment from your caregivers, you will also use that information to interpret and navigate your relationships as an adult. For better or for worse.
Therapy styles that are based on attachment theory might focus on you and your partner’s attachment styles. (Related article: Your Attachment Style Influences the Success of Your Relationship). From there, the therapist can help you understand why you might respond a certain way to each other. Attachment based therapies can also be useful for understanding your emotions and why you feel certain things when you are interacting with your spouse. Some popular attachment-based couples therapies include Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Gottman Couples Therapy. (Related Article: Building a Sound Relationship House).
Couples Counseling: What is Right for You?
This information might sound great. But how can you know what works in your own relationship? Which type of therapy is right for you and your partner?
That’s where we can help. We can help you schedule an appointment with a trained couples therapist. Then, your therapist can assess your situation and tailor your couples counseling experience to your specific needs and goals. You don’t have to struggle on your own. Start couples counseling in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written By Lauren Adkins