I have a particular interest in couple therapy. In my practice a couple is defined as any two people who share love and intimacy and consider themselves to be a couple. I generally work with couples in 60 minute sessions with a frequency of 1 session per week.
My practice of couple therapy has recently been influenced and informed by an approach called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) which is one of only two empirically supported treatments for couple therapy (Snyder, Castellani & Whisman, 2005).
“EFT is usually a short term (8-20 sessions), structured approach to couples therapy formulated by Drs. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. Sue Johnson has further developed the model, adding attachment theory to further understand what is happening in couple relationships and to guide therapists in helping them. A substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT now exists. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, post traumatic stress disorders and chronic illness.” – The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.
When to consider couple therapy:
- When a couple is having trouble resolving their differences
- When the couple’s communication has become negative
- When a couple is considering whether or not to separate/divorce
- When one or both partners are feeling alone or isolated in the relationship
- When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children
- When one partner is in individual therapy, and the relationship is having trouble adjusting to the resulting changes in the relationship
- On recommendation from an individual therapist
When is couple therapy not indicated?
Under certain circumstances couple therapy will not be indicated. The major contraindication for couple therapy is on-going violence in the relationship.
Snyder, D.K., Castellani, A.M. & Whisman, M.A. (2005). Current status and future directions in couple therapy. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, 317-344.