What is the goal of couples therapy?

Many years ago, when I took a couples therapy course with José Antonio Carrobles, I remember that, among other documents, there was a sheet titled “How to communicate satisfactorily”. It contained a series of tips, all of which are very helpful in improving communication.

However, we observe in psychotherapy that theoretical knowledge of how to solve a problem does not produce its solution. For example, we all know that addiction to a toxicant is necessary to overcome non-use; however, this knowledge does not solve the problem. This is not enough, because the problem lies here, precisely in that it can only consume.

    The goal of couples therapy: to translate into actions

    Couples therapists know that in order to fully understand and resolve conflict, both must listen to their partner, not interrupt, not complain, summarize what their partner has understood, etc. Sometimes it’s just a matter of improving communication.

    However, with identifying problematic behaviors and simply passing on information about what needs to be changed or done, it turns out that necessary changes do not happen, Do not perform behaviors. They can’t or don’t know how to do it, even though they know what to do. It is so much more frequently than would be desirable.

    We have tools that allow us to identify fairly precisely what are the problematic behaviors for each member of the couple. We can also see how little knowledge they usually have about what the couple expects and needs from each otherAs well as the little knowledge they have about this they reward certain behaviors to each other. However, with all of this, it is often not enough.

    In other words, we can understand and clarify what needs to be changed, implemented, eradicated or replaced, but this is usually not enough.

      The need to go beyond theory

      Psychotherapy has come a long way in the past decades. We have developed techniques that encourage changeIn many cases, relatively quickly.

      These techniques would lead us to obtain (often without the patient understanding very well what is happening at the beginning), that the person puts into practice certain actions and habits which lead him to experience his problems differently, to experience his problems differently on a emotional level. level, in turn correcting behaviors that not only did not solve their problems, but were generally the reason for their existence and persistence.

      For that, A good use of language by the therapist will lead the couple to see their problem from another angle.This will motivate them to comply with the agreement, which in turn will lead them to have a different emotional experience, correcting the behaviors that have fueled and developed the conflict.

      Combine pair sessions with individual sessions

      It is true that it is very important to identify problematic behaviors, because what differentiates the success of some couples from others is the behavior (assuming of course that there was previously an attraction, a desire and a compatibility), but will be the realization of certain prescriptions, adapted to the singularity of each pair, those which will produce the changes in problematic behaviors, turn them off, or drastically reduce their rate, or replace them with others that will strengthen and develop the bond.

      It will be then that the relationship will have the quality and warmth that the couple seeks and needs.

      Many times we will have to intervene individually to get one of these members of the relationship (when not both), endowed with those skills that allow him to manage his emotions in a more appropriate way, and that it is. helps to avoid conflicting behavior.

      And it is common for one of the couple’s issues to be treated, along with the relationship, to progress well in therapy. Therefore, after one or more contacts with both, it is usually necessary to have individual sessions, separately, with each. In other cases, individual psychotherapy will even be necessary, before couples therapy.

      Treatment of common problems

      It will also be practical check if there is a common goal. Sometimes the members of a relationship not only have different goals, but even opposites.

      Seeing them together first and later separately (especially if they have different goals) will make it easier to set common goals. Subsequently, the fact that they do not get along or did not get along together will be worked on.

      Obstacles to the development of therapy

      If someone’s intention to go to a couples therapist is to prove the other’s fault, or if the reason for dating is that you don’t know how to end the relationship, counseling therapy is couple (seen as a goal of continuity) becomes very difficult, if not impossible.

      Another reason for the couple’s discomfort is that, over time, they disintegration of erotic desire. The phase of falling in love lasts as long as it lasts, after it, if there is no conversion of falling in love to something else that we will call love and eroticism is not cultivated, it will decompose. As in almost everything, when we devote attention, time, energy and care to it, the interest will last.

      The important thing is that we can and should change the behaviors that lead to a bad relationship. We have no doubt that it is possible and that we have the tools to achieve it, if there is a real will and motivation for it.


      When two people have a lot of fun together, they carry out their projects together, they are present in the life of the other when they need it, they help each other and push the other to achieve their dreams, these are demonstrations of continued and frequent affection, longing for it, admiring it and expressing it, treating each other with respect, sharing what they have … it will be difficult for a relationship like this to break down or break down.

      So good, this is the goal of couples therapy, Help them resolve their conflicts, change problematic behaviors and improve communication, and thus, produce such desirable results between two people who say and want to love each other.

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