What is Couples Counseling?
Marriage counseling, couples counseling, or couples therapy are all similar terms that refer to therapeutic work between both partners and a trained couples counselor, typically with the intention of resolving conflict and strengthening the relationship.
There are many reasons why a couple might seek couples counseling. Some reasons that bring couples to therapy are
- Sexual desire discrepancy
- High conflict
- Premarital counseling
- Bickering/spiteful interactions
- Helping couples who want to break up successfully
- Blended families
- Parenting challenges
- Domestic violence
- Poor communication
- Lack of connection
In couples counseling, partners learn to be emotionally available for their partners, empathetic and engaged with each other, strengthening their attachment bond and the felt sense of safety between them. New positive cycles of emotional responses are developed and create a permanent change in the relationship, creating a healing environment for both partners.
Does Couples Counseling Work?
Yes, couples counseling helps many couples transform their relationship and ways of being in the world from defensiveness, criticism, and isolation to openness, intimacy, and connection. However, every situation is unique and the results are highly dependent on the skill level of the couples counselor and the commitment of the couple to do the work.
Engaging in couples counseling requires your active involvement, honesty, and openness in order to change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The counselor may challenge some of your assumptions or perceptions or propose different ways of thinking.
Being a couples counselor requires a very different skill set compared to doing counseling with individuals. Many counselors who primarily work with individuals just tweak their approach when working with couples. Unfortunately, these slightly modified approaches have poor success and high relapse rates.
For most successful outcome it is important to work with a counselor who has specialized training on working with couples.
At Akiva, we utilize Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) – an evidence-based counseling approach that has been validated in clinical trials as being highly effective for individuals as well as couples counseling.
Research studies have found that 70-75% of couples undergoing Emotionally Focused Therapy successfully move from distress to recovery, and approximately 90% show significant improvements. This methodology is a structured scientifically-proven approach which is currently considered to be a golden standard in couples counseling.
How Long does Couples Counseling Take?
Every situation and every couple is unique. Usually by the time the couple seeks therapy they are in significant distress and are experiencing long-term serious challenges.
To ensure that the relationship becomes fully healed and the underlying challenges get resolved completely, we ask clients to plan for at least 12 to 28 weeks of therapy, if there is no trauma history. In difficult cases and situations where trauma is present, treatment can take up to 2 years or more. Sometimes it takes that long for the autonomic nervous system to restructure.
- During the first 12 weeks we are usually working on de-escalation (understanding and becoming aware of how the problems present).
- During the next 12 weeks we are reshaping and restructuring the thoughts/feelings/sensations into a regulated nervous system with secure attachment.
- The last 4 weeks are for consolidation and ensuring that the client is effectively using the new tools learnt in the restructuring stage.
Get in Touch with a Couples Counselor:
Are you ready to reach out and get professional support from a couples counselor? Get in touch with us and a couples counselor will contact you. You are welcome to ask questions about EFT couples counseling in California or to schedule a complementary 15-minute phone consultation.
We are physically located in Santa Barbara County (Santa Barbara and San Ynez), and are available virtually to help couples residing anywhere in California.
Our counseling team looks forward to hearing from you.
- Write us an Email
- Call or text us at 805-245-3340