Couples seek therapy because of power struggles, communication difficulties, emotional disengagements, sexual dissatisfactions, and/or value conflicts.
The aim of couple therapy is to not only solve a specific problem or disagreement but, ideally, to give the partners a greater understanding of their relationship, the kind of understanding that will help them make better decisions in coping with the future.
In couple therapy, each of the partners gets to speak his or her mind without interrruption. With this opportunity to speak comes the responsibility to, first, speak honestly and, second, listen to what the other has to say.
Over time, much of what had been overlooked or tucked away may be sorted out. The relationship can now begin to feel less like it has a mind of its own and more like an experience to which the partners may contribute.
Here are some of the questions that help focus the therapy and move it forward:
- How does each of you define the relationship and yourself within it?
- How have your earlier ways of relating come to shape the life of the couple?
- In what ways has the relationship helped exacerbate/overcome any preexisting difficulties?
- How is either of you trying to change the other to fit an ideal or a past?