What Are the Different Types of Couples Therapy?

During the dark months of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. divorce rates spiked 34%. Of all divorcing couples, 31% said added pandemic stress contributed to their break-up.

It’s not hard to see the logic. A national health crisis and its economic consequences caused marriages with fissures to break.

Our relationships changed during the past year, and we’re in a “new normal.” Don’t let that mean the end of your marriage. There are many types of couples therapy available.

Is your marriage in trouble? Read on to learn about the different types of marriage counseling and how they can help.

Gottman Method

Are you and your spouse in the midst of a communication breakdown? Odds are, one or both of you don’t know how to effectively. Effective communication is a learned skill.

Dr. John Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, developed a marriage therapy based on facilitating communication. This communication reduces resentment and increases couples’ intimacy.

How Does it Work?

The Gottman Method is one of the most famous and widely used types of couples counseling.

Each partner in a marriage works with a counselor to develop a clear picture of the relationship. This work includes an inventory of relationship history and relationship philosophy.

From that initial assessment, the couple works in tandem to navigate conflicts that cause distance and resentment. They do this with direct counselor coaching.

Gottman Method coaches couples to deal with conflicts in a way that doesn’t further damage the relationship. By doing so, couples can reestablish positive intimacy through healthy communication.

Who Does it Help?

The Gottman Method is meant for couples in all relationship stages. Of all the couples therapy techniques, this one works best for newlyweds who experience conflict and desire healthy mitigation strategies.

It is also helpful for couples caught in destructive patterns or dealing with trust issues brought on by infidelity.

Narrative Therapy

We all create stories in our minds. We do this to make sense of the world around us and to help navigate our relationships. Unfortunately, many of these stories don’t conform to reality.

Think about memory and how two people can remember the same event or occurrence in far different ways. Narrative therapy works to bridge the narratives both parties build concerning the relationship.

How Does it Work?

Narrative therapy focuses on externalization. Problems within the relationship move outside the relationship through language exercises that seek to turn issues into nouns.

With an objective eye, couples can begin to address relationship issues free from the narratives they’ve created around them. By doing this, two people can write a collaborative story about their relationship.

Who Does it Help?

Narratives are existential, and societal factors contribute to the stories we create about our partner. Our history interacts with our partner’s history.

For example, partners from different socioeconomic backgrounds often construct stories about their significant other far from reality. These stories often lead to severe communication gaps.

The Narrative Method is the best couples therapy for people who can’t seem to make other counseling work. By identifying as unreliable narrators, couples can then work to construct a sustainable story.

Imago Therapy

Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly, a married couple, developed this marriage therapy in the late 1980s.

Their groundbreaking 1988 book, Getting the Love You Want, established Imago Relationship Therapy as an effective counseling strategy. 

How Does it Work?

Imago Relationship Therapy resolves relationship conflicts by focusing on early childhood. Our expectations of loving relationships develop at a very young age.

When two people come together, these early experiences interact and can create conflict. Your partner’s actions may trigger an involuntary emotional response.

Couples who engage in Imago Therapy explore their formative years with a counselor. During the exploration of these childhood relationships, partners are then able to identify problematic emotional triggers.

Who Does it Help?

Relationships follow patterns. If you and your partner both notice destructive patterns extending beyond your relationship, Imago Therapy is a worthy type of counseling.

This therapy also works well for couples who have recurring arguments they cannot solve.

Relational Life Therapy

Gender roles and our conception of them play a significant part in our romantic relationships. Society shapes our expectations of what a life partner should be.

Dr. Terrance Real developed Relational Life Therapy to deconstruct these assumptions that often lead to conflict. This therapy focuses on the toxic masculine dynamic of gender roles and how these destroy relationships.

How Does it Work?

Relational Life Therapy maintains that society strips people, especially males, of the skills they need to build healthy relationships.

Men and women feel pressure from society to deny their true desires and conform to roles in relationships they feel are expected. Playing these roles often leads to resentment and conflict.

Relationship equality is the only way two people can achieve the harmony necessary to navigate a lifetime together. Through extensive talk therapy, couples will explore and crush these artificial boundaries.

Who Does it Help?

Proponents of this therapy believe it works for individuals and couples alike. Couples with intimacy issues will benefit from the assertiveness and confidence this therapy aims to foster.

Save Your Marriage With These Types of Couples Therapy

Is your relationship on the rocks? You’re not alone. This past year stressed marriages, even those thought to be solid.

It’s not time to give up. Many types of couples therapy will help salvage your partnership and help you start anew. Any of these counseling methods are the tools you need to repair broken marriages.

Now is time to double down on your partnership. Contact us today for more information about couples counseling and how it can save your marriage.