Updated: Sep 6
You’re wondering if you should go to couples therapy, but you’re not sure who to ask about it. None of your friends are in couples therapy…you don’t think. Or maybe that’s just because you don’t talk about it. And is it really going to help anyway?
We created this FAQ just for you. And if you still have questions, we encourage you to reach out to us. We’re always happy to answer your questions.
What are reasons to go to couples therapy?
There are a lot of reasons why couples work with a therapist. Maybe you and your partner just don’t seem to get each other right now and you’re fighting all the time. Or maybe you aren’t fighting and your interactions are filled with tension. Perhaps you are doing well in many areas, but never seem to have sex anymore. Or there has been a serious breach of trust and you need help rebuilding a sense of safety and connection.
Other reasons include needing help with…
Navigating life transitions (marriage, birth of a child, new job or job loss, children leaving the family home, retirement, and death or loss.)
Differences of opinion on aspects of life together
One or more partner’s physical or mental illness and the impact on your relationship
A sense of loneliness or distance within the relationship
Improving communication and connection
Boredom or unhappiness
Bringing more fun and play into the relationship
Parenting stress, disagreements, and difficulties
Financial changes or consistent differences
Issues around sex and sexuality
There are so many good reasons to work with a couples therapist. If you’re wondering if couples therapy is right for you, feel free to reach out to us and we’d be happy to have a conversation.
Does it work?
Our practice uses Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which is based in attachment theory. EFT is currently the only evidence-based modality for couples therapy, and is considered the gold standard for couples therapy around the world. Research on EFT is overwhelmingly positive, with 70-75% of couples moving from distress to recovery and 90% experiencing an improvement in their relationship. Research shows that couples who were treated with EFT often continued to experience improvements in their relationships even after they ended therapy.
Okay, so what’s EFT?
The goal of EFT is not just to make the bad parts go away or stop fighting, but to transform your relationship into one of deep connection-- even if that feels really impossible right now, and all you want to do is rip your partner's head off half the time. When you are deeply connected and feel safe and vulnerable with your partner, you can repair the moments of brokenness and disconnection. Your relationship will feel stronger and more resilient, and you can enjoy being together.
Don't we just need to learn to communicate better?
Great question! We've taken the liberty of answering that with a full blog post that you can check out here.
What are the benefits of a healthy relationship?
Beyond just the joy, fun, and satisfaction of being in a loving relationship, it is also good for you. Research shows that people in healthy relationships live longer, healthier lives!
Healthy relationships have been linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and have been shown to be protective against the impact of stress.
A 2012 study showed that married patients who had bypass surgery were more likely to survive for three months following the surgery than single patients. Other studies have shown that people in healthy relationships are less likely to get the flu, cancer, and dementia.
The touch and/or presence of a loving partner has been shown to decrease the experience of physical pain.
Being in a committed relationship increases a sense of purpose and wellbeing.
People in healthy relationships have lower rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Bottom line: Working on your relationship could literally save your life, help you live longer, and make life more enjoyable.
How long will it take before things get better?
Healing begins from the first session! However, because each couple is different, there is no set time frame for you to start to notice improvement. You might feel better after the first session, just being able to start talking about the things that have been piling up for so long. Or you might notice that uncomfortable emotions are stirred up during the session and things feel a little worse before they get better. It is important to share your experience with your therapist so they can collaborate with you and provide the best possible care.
How long can we expect to be in couples therapy?
Many couples are in therapy once a week for 6 months to a year, and then may check in with their therapist from time to time, as needed. But there is no set amount of time for couples therapy. We often find that the couples who are able to do the hard work of being vulnerable in sessions move more quickly through the stages of treatment.
Will my insurance cover couples therapy?
Some insurance plans cover couples therapy; others do not. The best way to find out is to call your insurer. Our practice is an out-of-network practice, meaning that our clinicians are not considered “in-network” providers. If your plan provides out-of-network mental health benefits, we will help you navigate submitting your sessions for reimbursement.
Is couples therapy worth the cost?
Chances are, even if you have a fantastic insurance plan, you will still have at least a co-pay for each session. So we understand that you are thinking about the cost of therapy and the return on investment–and you should be! Couples therapy is an investment in you, your partner, and your relationship. It is an investment in your overall health and happiness. If you have children, it is also an investment in the health of the family and the wellbeing of your children. Separation, divorce, and splitting up households come at a great cost, too. They are financially and emotionally expensive. Why not try out couples therapy and see if it is right for you?
My partner wants a divorce; will couples therapy help?
Generally, if one person in a couple has absolutely decided that they want a divorce, couples therapy is not recommended. That being said, sometimes people are so frustrated and hopeless that they will threaten divorce or separation because they can’t figure out how else to convey their despair. In our first session, we will assess whether both partners are willing and able to commit to working on the relationship, and will proceed with therapy only if the answer to that is yes.
We don’t fit the heteronormative and/or dominant culture definition of a relationship– what about us?
We believe that your relationship is how YOU define it. We work with, affirm, value, and celebrate people of all genders, sexualities, socio-economic status, races, ethnicities, abilities, bodies, and countries of origin. We keep an open dialog with our clients about their identities, as they feel comfortable sharing, and strive to stay aware of our own positionalities and how they might impact you.
The stuff we’re going through is super embarrassing. Help?
If you can’t talk about it in therapy, where can you talk about it? Our sessions are safe, judgment-free spaces where you can talk about absolutely everything. As therapists, we’ve seen and heard it all. And you get to choose what/how much you want to share and when you’re ready to share it. We’re so grateful for the trust of our clients–it’s what allows us to help you.
We want to book a couples therapy session; what are the next steps?
Wonderful! We’re ready to help you heal. Reach out to Simi Lichtman, Practice Owner and EFT clinician, at email@example.com /732.355.3307. She will listen to your needs and pair you with a clinician.