Couple therapy, also called marriage counseling, is an effective treatment to help couples resolve difficulties experienced at any point in their relationship. Typically, a couple will seek help when they are experiencing chronic conflict, a loss of intimacy and closeness, or communication problems. Couple therapy is also helpful after the disclosure of an extramarital affair.
Couple therapy focuses on the patterns of interaction between the two partners as well as on the emotions and beliefs they have about themselves and each other. After finding out about the problems each partner is experiencing in the relationship, the therapist will explore what happens between them when a conflict occurs or when they are unable to communicate effectively. The process of the therapy is to identify the repetitive, harmful patterns of relating to each other, to assist each partner in recognizing their own and each other's behaviours that contribute to these patterns and to identify the underlying emotions that trigger the behaviours. When these emotions are acknowledged and validated, partners can start to relate to each other with more honesty and empathy and to feel more connected to and supported by each other.