What Type of Couples Therapy is Right for Us

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So, you’re exploring the idea of couples therapy with your partner. Maybe you’re considering taking the next step in your relationship, and you’d like to get a jumpstart on any concerns that might arise as you move forward. Or, perhaps your relationship has experienced trauma, and you’re not able to work through it on your own. It’s possible you’ve reached the stage in your relationship where things seem stagnant or stale; the spark is gone, and you’re trying to determine if there’s hope for you both in the future. Whatever the reason you’ve decided to look into couples therapy, it’s a safe bet that you’re doing it to better both your relationship as a couple and become a healthier individual. But where do you start? How do you know which type of therapy is best for you and your significant other? As you read further, we will introduce you to five different types of couples therapy to help you determine which one (or combination of them) work best for you and your journey.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy

According to their website, The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple’s relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication; increase intimacy, respect, and affection; remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy; create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. 

This method, pioneered by Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, is based on four decades of research and incorporates every facet of a relationship, including parenting and other stressors. Their method is a great choice for couples who are looking to work through conflict and better their communication, as well as for couples who wish to strengthen an already stable and happy relationship. The Gottman approach to couples therapy teaches skills and offers concrete tools for shifting relationship conflict patterns. 

Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)

A close up of a couple holding hands for Wellness Psychological Services. Contact a couples therapist to learn more about couples therapy and marriage counseling in Tampa, FL. 33609 | 33704 | 337703

Another choice for couples is emotion-focused couples therapy, which is a short-term therapy option (8-15 sessions). During EFT, couples work on improving attachment and strengthening the bond to one another. This method is especially beneficial for couples who are experiencing high conflict or distress, as well as couples who have poor communication with one another. It is widely used and successful where one or both individuals struggle with addiction, PTSD, depression, or chronic illness. It is also used to help a couple overcome trauma and/or infidelity in their relationship, whether it be present or in the past.  This method also uses three different stages: (1) De-Escalation (2) Restructuring (3) Consolidation.  

Developed by doctors Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg, this method is rooted in the belief that love is an attachment bond. It is widely used with couples as well as families. Couples who utilize this method of therapy often emerge with a stronger bond, better communication, and an improved interpersonal understanding, as well as stronger emotional functioning as individuals and as a couple. 

Imago Therapy

Imago Therapy was developed in 1980 by two doctors; Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Kelly LaKelly Hunt. It is their belief that relational counseling can transform conflict into opportunities for growth. They named the method after the Latin word “imago,” meaning, “image.” This refers to the “unconscious image of familiar love.” 

This type of therapy focuses on the connections between childhood experiences and adult relationships.

For example, adults who grow up in high conflict households may be averse to conflict in their marriage or may escalate to yelling to be heard if that is what they saw modeled in their own homes. Or, a child who was constantly criticized by their parents may grow up to be highly sensitive to any kind of criticism or feedback that they perceive as negative. These things can start to shine a light on the negative things in a relationship, and draw the focus away from the positive things that exist. 

Imago therapy focuses on helping partners view each other’s pasts and childhood experiences (especially childhood wounds) with more empathy, leading to healing of both themselves and their relationships, leading to a more “conscious relationship.” It also explores why some types of conflict are good and healthy, and helps a couple accept that healthy conflict is a part of every relationship.

So, Which is Right for Me?

Keep in mind that the majority of couples therapists may use a blend of various skills and approaches from different types of couples therapies depending on the presenting issues and specifics of the couple. What is most important is to know the training and background of your couples therapist and what approach or approaches they use and integrate. It is important to find a couples counselor who has specific training and specialization in these evidence-based and widely used approaches to couples and marriage therapy. At Wellness Psychological Services we have several highly specialized couples therapists. Check out more about each of our skilled couples therapists here. 

Stay Tuned for Part 2 where we talk about a number of other types of couples therapy!

Begin Couples Therapy in Tampa, FL

The options for couples therapy can be hard to choose from at times. But, finding the right fit can greatly benefit your relationship. Our caring therapists would be happy to support you in finding solutions to any issue. We offer support from our Tampa, FL-based counseling practice. To start your therapy journey, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Wellness Psychological Services
  2. Meet with a caring therapist
  3. Start creating new bonds with your partner

Other Services Offered at Wellness Psychological Services

Couples therapy isn’t the only service offered at our Tampa, FL-based therapy practice. We offer online, individual, and couples counseling to support the residents of Florida. For couples, we offer marriage counselingdivorce discernment counselingsupport through a divorce, and mediation. For individuals, we also offer anxiety treatmenttrauma therapydepression counselingOCD treatment, and stress management. We have two offices located in St. Pete and Tampa, FL. Learn more about our testing and evaluation services today!

205 S. Hoover Blvd. Ste 202
Tampa, FL 33609

(813) 563-1155

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