Philip Van Munching (Author) gives expert video advice on: When should couples therapy be considered?; How effective is couples therapy? and more...
When should couples therapy be considered?
Couples therapy tends to come into play when communication is broken down so badly that you can't communicate; when there's so much more negative feeling than positive feeling that you can't find a way to even open up the conversation. That's when you need a third party to sit with you and sort of say, "Look, let me here both side, and then let's talk about the areas of common ground and how we can build from there."
What should I look for in a couples therapist?
When you are first talking to a therapist, the thing to make absolutely sure of is: they're not throwing all kinds of opinions at you right away. Therapists are there basically to take in information and then make observations about how the two of you are relating, and to sort of understand what it is within each one of your personalities that is not getting along effectively with what it is within the other person's personality. So a therapist who starts with all kinds of advice probably hasn't listened to you enough yet.
How does couples therapy work?
In couples therapy you're not the patient, your relationship is. So that's what the therapist looks at. For the first few sessions they tend to look at how you react with your spouse. Then they gather information about each of you, and then they make observations based on what they've seen and what they've heard.
How effective is couples therapy?
Couples therapy can be completely effective, and it can be noneffective. It depends upon a few factors. One is how severe the breakdown in this relationship is. The second and the key thing, is how willing each partner is to actually look at what's happening between them and try and make adjustments, so that they can relate better to each other. Thirdly, how capable is the therapist of making the right recommendations for them?
How long does couples therapy last?
The length of couples therapy completely depends upon how severe the problem is, how willing each partner is to work on the problem, and how good the therapist is. But here's the thing, as a patient in couples therapy, you're allowed to ask the doctor where he sees it going. How long do you think this will take? If they tell you years and years, you've probably found the wrong therapist.