5 Types of Couples Therapy You Should Know About

Couples Therapy


There are a lot of different ways to approach relationship problems. Sometimes, couples receive help from a professional. Sometimes, they seek therapy independently with the help of friends or family members. Oftentimes, both types of couples therapy are utilized in conjunction with one another to improve the state of their relationship.

A popular way of approaching problems in relationships is couples therapy. Couples therapy is a broad category of treatment and includes different approaches. There are several psychotherapeutic techniques, and they all have different philosophies on why relationships go wrong. You can find a couples therapist that utilizes these approaches here:

The primary types of couples therapy are as follows:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. CBT is particularly effective in treating anxiety and depression. It helps treat other mental health conditions such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and personality disorders. 

It is developed based on clinical practice and research with a collaborative and goal-oriented approach. The core principle of CBT is that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. Therefore, we can change how we feel by changing our thoughts and behaviors.

This translates to an effective approach to couple therapy because it creates an awareness of your partner’s thoughts and challenges. This brings both individuals to a common meeting point and arms them with specific tools for life challenges that are common in relationships

2. Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT)

SFT is a strength-based, goal-oriented therapy that focuses on solutions rather than problems. It is based on the premise that individuals can change and improve their lives. It falls under constructive therapy, which means that it helps individuals build on their strengths rather than dwelling on their weaknesses. It is collaborative, and all parties involved have a say in the direction of the sessions. 

Solution-focused therapy deals with specific problems or issues and works towards finding solutions to these problems. It uncovers what is good in a situation rather than focusing on what is wrong with it. For example, this approach is used to provide goal-oriented tips for couples moving in together. SFT contributes to improved communication and problem-solving skills and better goal attainment. It also enhances self-esteem and individuals’ belief in their ability to take control of their lives.

3. Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT):

EFT is a type of therapy that focuses on the emotion and feelings within couples and the emotional bond between them. It addresses pain, hurt, and grief which may be present in relationships that have not been able to resolve conflicts in the past. EFT also addresses different attachment styles (secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant) and helps couples establish a secure emotional bond. 

EFT recognizes that schemas are likely to be developed in relationships. Schemas are negative belief systems that we have about ourselves, others, and the world around us. These schemas can lead to distorted thinking patterns and negative coping mechanisms. EFT strives to help couples understand and change these negative belief systems while developing emotional management skills to cope with daily life.

4. Psychodynamic Therapy:

When most people think of therapy, they think of psychodynamic therapy. This therapy focuses on the unconscious mind and how it affects our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is based on the belief that our early childhood experiences shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. To change our current behavior, we need first to understand how our past experiences have influenced us. 

Psychodynamic therapy is a slow process and can take months or even years to see results. It is not for everyone, but for those willing to commit to the process, it can be incredibly helpful. It can help individuals understand their patterns of behavior and how to change them. For example, someone with a history of abusive relationships may benefit from psychodynamic therapy to understand why they keep choosing abusive partners.

5. Family Systems Therapy:

A central tenet of family systems therapy is that the family is a system, and each member of that system has a role to play. This type of therapy focuses on the identified patient – the person who is experiencing the problem – but also looks at how that problem affects the entire family system.

The therapist will work with the family to help them understand the problem, identify their roles in the problem, and then work together to find a resolution. This type of therapy can be helpful for families who are struggling with communication, conflict resolution, or other issues.


Couples therapy can be a very effective way to improve your relationship, but choosing the right type of therapy for your needs is important. If you’re unsure where to start, research the proper channels on how to find the right therapist for you. A good place to start is to ask your doctor or any friends with couples therapy experience for a referral.

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