How Couples Therapy Can Lead to a Healthier Relationship

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Does Couples Therapy Work?

A couple join hands as they listen to a therapist holding a clipboard and pen. This represents couples therapy in Tampa, FL. Contact a couples therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL for more info today. 33609 | 33704 | 33703

Is my relationship beyond repair?
How effective is couples therapy?
Can I convince my partner to go?

Questions like these are posed by partners who may be apprehensive or who may be feeling a sense of hopelessness about their relationship or marital status.

Couples counseling has made significant progress in the last 40 years. Prior to the 1980s, couples therapy had little effectiveness with nearly 50% of couples reporting therapy as being unhelpful. Thus there is lingering skepticism about its efficacy today.

Much of the credit to marriage counseling advancements are due to the work of John Gottman who developed Gottman Therapy for couples. His research identified critical behaviors to avoid if couples want to remain together for their “happily ever after.”

How Well Does Gottman Therapy Work for Couples?

Gottman therapy led to the development of other therapies including Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT), adaptations to Imago Therapy, Behavioral Couples Therapy, and Discernment Counseling for couples who are making a decision about separation.

Current research shows improvements in couples therapy with a 75-90% efficacy rate and couples reporting improvement in their relationships post-treatment. The 25% of couples who reported inefficacy were couples in “domestic violence” relationships where the partner didn’t discontinue the abusive cycle and patterns of behavior. This statistic is logical as it’s nearly impossible to work on growth when one’s physical safety is in danger.

How Do We Maximize Positive Outcomes?

A couple hold hands as they walk down a brick road. This symbolizes the support couples therapy in Tampa, FL can provide. Learn more about couples counseling from a coupes therapist in Saint Petersburg, FL. 33609 | 33703 |33704

The initial stages of couples counseling emphasize basic communication and skill-building within the marriage or relationship. This means that the couple must be willing to learn skills and gain self-awareness as they embark on their therapy journey with one of our therapists who specializes in couples counseling.


Being emotionally vulnerable and open to exploring and identifying emotions is imperative to couples counseling. Your couples counselor will help you find the words to express your emotions while working on mutual goals that you and your partner agree to for the relationship.

Oftentimes, couples develop competitiveness over time and want to be right or win the argument rather than seeing their partner as a teammate. A therapist who specializes in couples counseling redirects the focus from seeing one another as opponents to instead working together to improve mutual satisfaction. This takes initiative and cooperation from both sides as well as showing empathy and understanding for your partner.


Empathy is a critical component in feeling compassion and genuine care for one another. The final way to enhance outcomes with couples therapy is the willingness of each partner to commit to working on their part and engaging in behaviors to promote positive change.

Research over the past several decades tells us that the expansions in couples counseling has resulted in couples therapy being just as effective as individual therapy and can even be more effective when both partners maintain a sense of vulnerability, understanding, and willingness to working with their partner as a teammate throughout their therapy journey.

Begin Couples Therapy in Tampa, FL

Improving your relationship starts with a single step to reach out for help. Our doctoral-level therapists specialize in couples therapy from our Tampa-based therapy practice, our St. Petersburg-based therapy practice, or through virtual therapy. We have assisted hundreds of couples in creating healthier relationships. To start your therapy journey, please contact us today.

Other Services Offered at Wellness Psychological Services

Couples counseling isn’t the only service offered at our Tampa, FL-based therapy practice. We offer individual and couples counseling in person as well as online. For couples, we also offer marriage counselingdivorce discernment counselingsupport through a divorce, and mediation. For individuals, we offer anxiety treatmenttrauma therapydepression counselingOCD treatment, and stress management. Learn more about our St. Pete and Tampa, FL therapy offices, or learn more about our testing and evaluation services!

By: Justine Devlin Ph.D


Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (1999, 2015). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Random House, LLC: New York.

Johnson, S., & Hunsley, J., & Greenberg, L., & Schindler, D. (1999). Emotionally focused couples therapy: status and challenges. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, V6 N1, 70-73.

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 563-1155

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