The Gottman Method of couples therapy is a research-supported approach designed to enhance relationships by bolstering the bond between partners, resolving conflicts, and fostering shared meaning in their relationship through comprehensive assessments and tailored interventions that improve communication, trust, and the overall health of the partnership.
On average, couples attend marriage and couples counseling for 12 weeks. However, couples & marriage counseling may last longer or shorter, dependent on the couples’ needs, the challenges they’d like to work through, and the pace of their progress.
At Thriveworks, we take most major forms of insurance, which means that many of our clients only pay $0-$50 co-pay per session. However, there are also self-pay options that sit around $200 per session, depending on the service and location, for those who are out-of-network.
In the movie, Couples Retreat, when a wife and husband feel like their relationship is over, they sign up for couples therapy in paradise. They see the trip as a joke: invite their friends to come with them and spend a week on the beach before filing for divorce. With full intentions of skipping any therapeutic exercises, this group of friends lands in paradise only to find out that the marriage counseling is mandatory. “I think there is a misunderstanding here. We signed up for the fun stuff,” Vince Vaughn’s character says. Throughout the course of the week, each couple has to face the challenges in their marriage—even though they expend more effort trying to avoid them. Like any good movie, they learn that being a couple is hard work, but building a solid connection is worth the effort. Most marriage and couples therapy does not take place in paradise, but the movie gets a lot of things right. Being in a marriage or long-term relationship is challenging. Everyone needs help sometimes. Another thing the movie gets right is that a lot of couples benefit from counseling.
Being a couple is daunting. People throw around divorce statistics for marriages (40 percent for first-time marriages and the rate rises for second and third marriages). Breaking up, separation, and divorce may be the right next step, but working through the problem may also be the right answer. How can partners know? Many choose to go to counseling together.
“Couples counseling gets many couples back together. But not all, and not always. For your own sake and that of your children, however, I recommend it – I almost insist on it – as the first step for anyone unhappy in a relationship.”
—Laura Wasser, divorce attorney
Thriveworks Cedar Park has worked with many couples who are struggling and want to explore what may be next for their relationship. Marriage or couples therapy is not magic potion, but many partners find it helpful as they seek to improve their relationship—whatever form that relationship may take in the future.
Common Relationship Issues
Every relationship is going to hit rocky roads. Whether the couple has been together for a few weeks, a few months, a few years, or even a few decades, it is normal for partners to struggle at times. Acknowledging these challenges and seeking help can often get the relationship back on course. Think about your relationship or marriage for a moment. There are common relationship issues that plague many couples. Can you recognize any of these challenges?
- Differing Goals – Often, each partner or spouse holds very specific expectations for the relationship. Often, partners and spouses have difficulty articulating these expectations. When differing goals go unnamed, then partners are often pulling each other in different directions. This can cause tension.
- Problems with Intimacy – Intimacy is a barometer for how the relationship is doing. When the couple is connecting physically and emotionally, they are usually in a healthy place. When they are not making time for this connection, their relationship may be suffering.
- Distrust – Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, but it can easily be broken. Small actions, like being inconsiderate or irresponsible, can chip away at trust. Big actions, like lying or cheating, can destroy it. Trust can be repaired, but it takes time and changed behavior.
- Communication Difficulties – Communication is so much more than a transfer of information. Really communicating means that partners are sharing with vulnerability and listening to understand. When communication is going well, each partner has a high level of empathy for the other. Many couples struggle with these important skills.
- Disagreements about Family – Family issues can be a hotbed of tension in even the strongest relationships: What role will each partner’s extended family play in the couple’s lives? Where will they live? When/if will they have kids? And the list could go on and on.
Why Go to Therapy?
These are typical issues that couples face, and therapy often gives spouses or partners the opportunity to face the challenge head-on. A few of the benefits that many couples experience in counseling include…
- A neutral place to resolve tension. One moment, spouses can be talking about where to go for dinner, and the next moment, they can be calling each other lazy and irresponsible. This is called escalation. Most couples do it, but it is not healthy or helpful. Marriage counseling is often a place where tension is de-escalated so that the primary problem can be focused upon and solved.
- Setting priorities for change. Some changes will help a couple more than others. Some adjustments need to be made now. Others can wait. couples therapy is often a place to set those priorities.
- Bringing toxic patterns to a couple’s attention. Relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman has identified four patterns that are often toxic to a couple: contempt, stonewalling, criticism, and defensiveness. Gone unchecked, these toxic behaviors can end a marriage or long-term relationship. But when these patterns are identified and changed, couples often flourish.
Appointments at Thriveworks Cedar Park for Marriage and Couples Counseling
Are you in your partner struggling? If so, you are not alone. Every marriage goes through difficult seasons. Consider reaching out for help. Thriveworks Cedar Park has appointments for marriage and couples therapy available. When you call our office, you may have your first appointment the following day. We also accept many different insurance plans. Let’s work together.