Therapy for Couples

Your relationship isn’t over. Let’s talk about strengthening your bond.

It’s time to stop getting your relationship advice from Buzzfeed.

If you want real strategies that actually work for restoring trust, deepening intimacy, and building confidence with your partner, you might be ready for couples therapy.

Couples therapy can be helpful for all types of relationship situations, including but not limited to heterosexual relationships, LGBTQIA+ relationships, marriages, non-monogamous / open relationships, polyamorous relationships, and more. River Oaks Psychology is committed to honoring the diversity of all people in relationships, holding space for the experiences of people who have partners of a different race, ethnicity, gender, ability, religion, or other difference.

Exploring the complex dynamics of your relationship in a non-judgmental space can be transformative for people because it often reveals inner truths, emotional needs, and the reasons why you feel stuck. You might be part of a long-term marriage or maybe you are dating and thinking about living together. You may be considering separation or trying to rebuild trust and heal from an act of unfaithfulness. You might be struggling with infertility or may be overwhelmed by parenting disagreements. There are endless possibilities for what you and your partner might be experiencing but it’s important to remember that no relationship is perfect and sometimes professional support from an unbiased therapist is needed to strengthen your connection to each other.

Together, you and your therapist will discover what works well in the relationship, what’s not working, and how to develop solutions for even the most stressful life problems. We understand that life is not always easy and circumstances like job changes, loss, illness, addiction, finances, pregnancy, parenting, affairs, sexual concerns, trauma, and countless other stressors can diminish the “spark” that initially created attraction. We work with you and your partner to identify the underlying dynamics, patterns, and issues that may be impacting your relationship. By gaining a deeper understanding of these factors, we can guide you towards healthier communication, improved problem-solving skills, and a greater sense of emotional intimacy. It’s completely normal to experience a wide range of emotions along the way. We are here to recognize, explore, and honor your feelings and acknowledge that navigating the complexities of a relationship can sometimes feel overwhelming or discouraging. We listen without judgment and offer guidance and strategies tailored to your unique circumstances. We truly believe in your ability to overcome challenges and cultivate a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.

Most importantly, we want you and your partner to feel empowered and never alone in your journey. We understand that the challenges you face in your relationship can sometimes make you feel isolated or overwhelmed. We strive to create a therapeutic environment that fosters support, understanding, and collaboration. Our ultimate goal is to support you in building a resilient and fulfilling partnership based on trust, emotional connection, and shared values. We want to empower you and your partner by providing you with the tools, insights, and guidance necessary to overcome obstacles and build a resilient partnership. We are wholeheartedly passionate about helping couples create a solid foundation for long-lasting happiness and satisfaction.

FAQ about Couples Therapy

People seek couples therapy for various reasons, as every relationship is unique. Here are some common motivations for couples to pursue therapy:

Communication Issues:  Difficulties in communication, such as frequent misunderstandings, escalating conflicts, or a breakdown in effective dialogue, can signal the need for therapy to improve communication patterns.

Emotional Distance: Feeling disconnected or emotionally distant from your partner, experiencing a lack of intimacy or shared emotional connection, can be a sign that couples therapy could help you and your partner rebuild and strengthen your emotional bond.

Trust and Infidelity: Infidelity or breaches of trust can significantly impact a relationship. If trust has been compromised, couples therapy can provide a structured and supportive environment to address trust issues, rebuild trust, and work towards healing and forgiveness.

Frequent Arguments or Gridlock: If you and your partner find yourselves engaged in frequent or unresolved arguments, or if you feel stuck in a cycle of recurring conflicts without resolution, couples therapy can help identify underlying issues, develop healthier conflict resolution skills, and create a more harmonious relationship.

Life Transitions and Adjustments: Major life transitions, such as becoming parents, dealing with career changes, or adjusting to an empty nest, can strain a relationship. Couples therapy can provide guidance and support to navigate these transitions, maintain a strong partnership, and enhance communication and understanding.

Lack of Intimacy or Sexual Difficulties: A decline in physical intimacy or persistent sexual difficulties can create strain and dissatisfaction in a relationship. Couples therapy can offer a safe and non-judgmental space to explore these issues, improve communication around intimacy, and work towards building a more satisfying and fulfilling sexual connection.

Pre-Marital or Pre-Commitment Counseling: If you and your partner are considering marriage or a long-term commitment, couples therapy can provide a valuable opportunity to strengthen your bond, clarify expectations, and develop effective communication and conflict resolution skills before embarking on this significant journey together.

Decreased Relationship Satisfaction: If you and your partner have noticed a decline in overall relationship satisfaction, a sense of unhappiness or dissatisfaction, couples therapy can help you identify the underlying factors, address them proactively, and work towards a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship.

Resentment and Anger: If you or your partner harbor deep-seated resentment, unresolved anger, or past hurts that continue to affect your relationship, couples therapy can provide a safe space to address and heal these emotional wounds.

Differences in Values and Goals: Significant differences in values, life goals, or visions for the future can create tension and conflict within a relationship. Couples therapy can help you and your partner explore these differences, find common ground, and develop strategies to align your values and goals.

Lack of Emotional Support: If you feel emotionally unsupported or have difficulty expressing and receiving emotional support from your partner, couples therapy can facilitate a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and help you create a more nurturing and supportive environment.

Financial Conflicts: Disagreements and conflicts around money, financial decisions, or financial priorities can place strain on a relationship. Couples therapy can assist in addressing financial conflicts, improving financial communication, and working towards shared financial goals.

Parenting Challenges: Parenting can bring both joy and added stress to a relationship. If you and your partner are struggling with differing parenting styles, conflicts around discipline, or challenges in co-parenting, couples therapy can provide guidance, tools, and strategies for effective parenting and enhanced teamwork.

Remember, seeking couples therapy is not a sign of weakness, but rather a proactive step towards improving your relationship. It shows a commitment to growth, understanding, and investing in the health and happiness of your partnership. A couples therapist can provide the guidance and support needed to navigate challenges, enhance communication, and strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

If you resonate with any of these signs or concerns, it may be beneficial to consider couples therapy. Ultimately, the decision to seek therapy is personal and should be made in collaboration with your partner.

For most couples, the decision to begin couples therapy often stems from a sense of unhappiness or dissatisfaction in the relationship. However, it’s important to recognize that waiting until reaching a breaking point or hitting “rock bottom” is not necessary. Couples therapy can be beneficial at any stage of a relationship, whether you’re facing significant challenges or simply seeking to strengthen your connection and deepen your intimacy.

At River Oaks Psychology, we encourage couples to view therapy as a preventive health measure for their relationship. Just as we prioritize our physical health through regular check-ups and exercise, couples therapy can serve as a proactive approach to maintaining a healthy and thriving partnership. It provides a space to nurture your relationship, explore areas of growth, and develop skills that will strengthen your bond.

Therapy is a collaborative process that places you in control. Your therapist is there to provide guidance, support, and a safe environment, but the direction and pace of therapy are determined by you. Couples therapy can be tailored to meet your specific needs and goals, whether it’s addressing identified problems, enhancing communication, deepening understanding, or learning new ways to show empathy and compassion towards each other.

Even if there isn’t a specific problem or crisis in your relationship, couples therapy can be a valuable space for personal and relational growth. It offers an opportunity to learn more about each other, explore your values and aspirations, and develop strategies for maintaining a strong and fulfilling connection as you navigate life’s changes together.

Remember, seeking couples therapy does not mean that your relationship is failing. It signifies a commitment to investing in your partnership and taking proactive steps to ensure its health and longevity. By starting therapy earlier rather than later, you can address concerns, strengthen your bond, and develop the skills necessary to navigate future challenges with resilience and unity.

Yes, there are signs that may indicate a need for couples therapy. While it is important to remember that every relationship is unique, there are common indicators that suggest therapy could be beneficial. Here are some signs to consider:

  • Frequent fighting or ongoing arguments among each other with little hope for resolution
  • Constantly moving through cycles of breaking up, getting back together, breaking up, etc.
  • Ongoing feelings of jealousy, panic, anger, or resentment toward each other
  • Experiencing unfaithfulness (cheating, having an affair, or otherwise being unfaithful)
  • Noticing more and more disconnection and emotional detachment from each other
  • Frequent criticism among each other or instances of disrespect, hostility, or lack of empathy
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, irritable or generally upset about the relationship
  • Making quick decisions on the relationship without fully exploring thoughts and feelings
  • Socially withdrawing from friends or family due to problems in the relationship
  • Continuing to feel like the relationship is causing stress in your life without a clear plan for solutions
  • Reconsidering your role in the relationship or beginning to wonder whether the relationship will last
  • Trouble sleeping, feeling abnormally fatigued, generally drained due to the relationship problems
  • Unable to tolerate the emotional pain caused by the relationship which is interfering with forgiveness
  • Reduced ability to solve problems in the relationship or feeling incapable of moving forward
  • Frequently talking negatively about each other or making threats about leaving one another
  • Struggling with balancing responsibilities that are negatively impacting the relationship
  • Disagreements on parenting styles, family conflicts, the decision to have children or to get married
  • Patterns of manipulation, distrust, reduced vulnerability, lack of intimacy, or sexual problems
  • Alcoholism or substance use disorders that are impacting the health of the relationship
  • Any signs of domestic violence, abuse, harassment, or desires to hurt one another
  • Feeling emotionally overwhelmed by any kind of stress that is causing friction in the relationship
  • Missing the “spark” that initially created attraction among each other and wanting it to be restored

Couples therapy provides a supportive and neutral space where couples can address challenges, gain new perspectives, and develop skills to nurture a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. Therapists work collaboratively with couples to create lasting positive change, promoting resilience, and fostering greater satisfaction within the partnership. Specifically, therapy can be highly beneficial for couples in several ways:

Improved Communication: One of the primary focuses of couples therapy is to enhance communication between partners. Therapists provide guidance and teach effective communication strategies, enabling couples to express their needs, feelings, and concerns more clearly and listen actively to each other.

Conflict Resolution: Therapy helps couples develop healthy conflict resolution skills. Couples learn to identify underlying issues, address disagreements constructively, and find mutually satisfactory solutions. Therapists facilitate productive dialogue and teach techniques to manage and de-escalate conflicts.

Relationship Insight and Awareness: Couples therapy fosters a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the relationship. Therapists help partners gain insight into their own and their partner’s emotions, behaviors, and perspectives. This increased awareness promotes empathy, compassion, and a more comprehensive understanding of each other’s needs.

Rebuilding Trust: For couples grappling with trust issues, such as infidelity or breaches of trust, therapy provides a safe space to work through these challenges. Therapists help partners address the impact of betrayal, rebuild trust, and establish healthy boundaries and commitments.

Strengthened Intimacy and Connection: Couples therapy can revitalize emotional and physical intimacy within the relationship. Therapists assist couples in understanding the factors influencing intimacy, exploring desires and needs, and developing strategies to enhance emotional and physical closeness.

Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Therapy equips couples with effective problem-solving skills, enabling them to navigate challenges and decision-making processes more effectively. Couples learn to collaborate, compromise, and negotiate in ways that honor both partners’ perspectives.

Support during Life Transitions: Significant life transitions, such as marriage, parenthood, or career changes, can strain a relationship. Couples therapy offers support and guidance during these transitions, helping couples adapt, maintain a strong partnership, and navigate the associated challenges.

Prevention and Maintenance: Couples therapy is not solely reserved for couples in crisis. Many couples proactively seek therapy to strengthen their relationship, deepen their connection, and address minor concerns before they escalate. Therapy can serve as a preventive measure, supporting long-term relationship health and satisfaction.

Emotional Support: Couples therapy offers a supportive environment where partners can express their emotions, fears, and vulnerabilities. Therapists provide validation, empathy, and guidance, helping couples navigate difficult emotions and fostering a sense of emotional support within the relationship.

Increased Self-Awareness: Therapy encourages individual self-reflection, allowing partners to gain a deeper understanding of themselves. As individuals become more self-aware, they can identify personal patterns, triggers, and behaviors that may impact their relationship. This self-awareness contributes to personal growth and facilitates healthier interactions with their partner.

Healthy Boundaries: Couples therapy helps couples establish and maintain healthy boundaries within their relationship. Therapists guide couples in setting boundaries that respect each partner’s needs and create a sense of safety and autonomy. Clear boundaries can promote mutual respect, reduce conflict, and contribute to a healthier dynamic.

Healing from Past Trauma: If unresolved trauma from the past affects the relationship, therapy can help partners process and heal from these wounds. Therapists provide a safe and supportive space for partners to explore the impact of past experiences, work through trauma-related challenges, and support each other’s healing journey.

Enhanced Problem-Solving: Therapy equips couples with effective problem-solving and decision-making skills. Couples learn to identify common goals, brainstorm creative solutions, and make decisions collaboratively. These skills enable couples to navigate challenges more effectively and work together as a team.

Support during Transitions and Loss: Couples therapy can be particularly beneficial during major life transitions, such as retirement, loss of a loved one, or relocation. Therapists provide support, guidance, and coping strategies to help couples navigate these transitions and maintain their emotional connection amidst change and loss.

Renewed Intimacy and Passion: Therapy can reignite the spark and passion within a relationship. Through open dialogue, exploration of desires, and addressing barriers to intimacy, couples can cultivate a deeper, more fulfilling physical and emotional connection.

Strengthened Coping Skills: Therapy equips couples with effective coping skills to navigate stress, external pressures, and challenges that may arise within the relationship. Couples learn healthy ways to manage stress, communicate their needs, and provide support to each other during difficult times.

Continued Growth and Learning: Couples therapy offers ongoing opportunities for growth and learning within the relationship. Therapists provide resources, tools, and exercises to support couples in developing new skills, deepening their understanding of each other, and continually nurturing their bond.

Therapy can help couples explore and find answers to a wide range of questions that may arise within their relationship. Here are some common questions that therapy can assist couples in addressing:

  • Why don’t we enjoy the things that we used to enjoy together?
  • Why does it feel like my partner is pulling away?
  • How can I get my partner to understand me better?
  • How can I communicate my real feelings to my partner?
  • How can I better support my partner experiencing anxiety or depression?
  • Why is it so hard for my partner to support my life dreams?
  • How can we build our confidence and self-esteem together?
  • How can we learn to accept each other for our flaws and differences?
  • How can my partner and I learn to give each other space when we need it?
  • Why did my partner be unfaithful to me when we love each other so much?
  • What are the specific issues or recurring themes that cause us to feel unhappy?
  • How can we cope with the differences among our families of origin?
  • How can my partner and I learn to forgive each other for our past mistakes?
  • How can we improve our communication and understand each other better?
  • What can we do to rebuild trust after a breach or betrayal?
  • How can we deepen our emotional connection and foster intimacy?
  • What are our individual needs, and how can we balance them with the needs of the relationship?
  • How can we effectively co-parent and align our parenting styles?
  • How do we manage external stressors and challenges that impact our relationship?
  • What are our shared goals and values, and how can we work towards them together?
  • How can we maintain a healthy balance between our personal lives and the relationship?
  • How do we navigate differences in opinions, preferences, or cultural backgrounds?
  • What can we do to keep the spark and passion alive in our relationship?
  • How do we support each other during major life transitions or unexpected changes?
  • How can we address issues related to financial management and decision-making?
  • How do we address the impact of past trauma or unresolved issues on our relationship?
  • What steps can we take to prevent recurring patterns or conflicts from resurfacing?
  • How can we nurture our relationship and make it a priority amidst other life demands?

For couples therapy, both partners will need to electronically sign our Informed Consent document. However, to comply with clinical record protocols, we can only list one partner as “the patient” in our documentation.

If using insurance, the partner serving as the patient will provide their individual insurance plan information. We are unable to split treatment costs between multiple people or multiple insurance plans.

Please note that it’s common for therapists to hold a “no secrets” policy between two partners in couples therapy. This means that one partner in the relationship cannot reveal information privately to the therapist and ask for that information to be hidden from the other partner. Most therapists feel this undermines the process and does not lead to effective outcomes.

In addition, neither couples therapy or family therapy is appropriate when there are problems interfering with the process, such as intentional hostility or abuse, untreated addictions, or other concerns directly interfering with therapy. While arguments or intense emotions are allowable and may occur in couples therapy, both partners should be interested in treatment and demonstrate a willingness to cooperate together.

Most importantly, your therapist can talk to you more specifically about their therapeutic style and what will work best for you and your partner.

YES. You and your partner do not need to be in the same location to both participate in video sessions with your therapist. Our secure video therapy platform allows multiple people to access the video sessions from separate digital devices. Therefore, it’s not necessary for you and your partner to be sitting on the same couch sharing one digital-screen together. This is perfect for couples who are taking a break from living together, couples with opposite work schedules, or couples who simply prefer to sit alone during sessions.

Couples therapy is a collaborative process that requires mutual commitment and consent. It is important to respect each individual’s autonomy and choice in seeking therapy. We cannot force or mandate your partner to engage in therapy if they are not interested.

While it may be disappointing or challenging when your partner is resistant to participating, it is crucial to have open and honest communication about your desires and concerns. Express your reasons for wanting couples therapy and the potential benefits it can bring to your relationship. Encourage your partner to share their perspective and listen with empathy and understanding.

In situations where one partner is not interested in couples therapy, you still have the option to seek individual therapy for yourself. Individual therapy can provide you with a supportive space to explore your thoughts, emotions, and relationship dynamics. It can also help you develop healthy coping strategies and gain insights that may positively influence your relationship. As you gain insights and develop healthier communication and coping skills, it may inspire positive changes within your relationship.

Ultimately, the decision to engage in couples therapy must be a mutual one. It is important to respect each other’s choices and boundaries. Our therapists are here to support you in navigating relationship challenges, whether through couples therapy or individual therapy.

It is our policy to recommend different therapists for individual therapy and couples therapy. This approach is designed to ensure that the couples therapy process remains neutral, unbiased, and focused on the specific needs of your relationship. Having separate therapists for individual therapy and couples therapy allows each therapeutic space to maintain its unique purpose.

Individual therapy provides a confidential and dedicated space for personal exploration, growth, and addressing individual concerns. Couples therapy, on the other hand, focuses on the dynamics, communication, and challenges within the relationship as a whole.

Having the same therapist for both individual and couples therapy can create potential challenges to maintaining neutrality and impartiality. The role of a couples therapist is to facilitate open communication, provide unbiased guidance, and address the dynamics within the relationship. They must remain neutral and act in the best interest of the relationship as a whole.

Healthy Relationship Goals:

  • Practicing Active Appreciation and Validation
  • Cultivating a Culture of Compromise and Flexibility
  • Prioritizing Self-Care and Supporting Each Other’s Well-being
  • Embracing Vulnerability and Authenticity
  • Maintaining a Sense of Humor and Playfulness
  • Building and Sustaining Mutual Trust and Loyalty
  • Fostering a Sense of Adventure and Exploration Together
  • Resolving Conflict in a Constructive and Respectful Manner
  • Regularly Expressing Interest and Curiosity in Each Other’s Lives
  • Striving for Balance between Individuality and Togetherness
  • Cultivating Trust and Forgiveness
  • Engaging in Regular Relationship Check-ins and Evaluations
  • Building a Strong Foundation of Trust, Emotional Safety, and Respect
  • Maintaining Independence and Individuality
  • Honoring Commitments and Promises
  • Building Financial Transparency and Planning
  • Cultivating a Positive and Supportive Environment
  • Expressing Love and Affection Daily
  • Building a Strong Foundation of Friendship
  • Nurturing Emotional and Physical Intimacy
  • Celebrating Relationship Milestones
  • Respecting Personal Space and Autonomy
  • Seeking and Providing Emotional Safety
  • Honoring Relationship Agreements
  • Regularly Expressing Love and Gratitude
  • Encouraging Personal Growth and Development
  • Creating and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
  • Actively Engaging in Active Listening and Empathy
  • Creating Rituals and Traditions that Strengthen the Bond
  • Embracing Growth and Change as Individuals and as a Couple
  • Celebrating and Honoring Each Other’s Achievements and Milestones
  • Demonstrating Acts of Kindness and Thoughtfulness
  • Respecting and Supporting Each Other’s Dreams and Ambitions
  • Building a Sense of Gratitude and Positivity in the Relationship

We want to guide you towards a happier, healthier relationship.