Couples therapy is a form of psychological treatment that is also sometimes called marriage counseling or marital therapy. It is different from psychotherapy because rather than the individual who is the focus of attention, in couples therapy the relationship between the partners, and problems existing in the relationship are the focus of attention.
Relationship problems always involve individual problems and symptoms, as well as interpersonal conflicts. It is very typical that constant arguing with one’s spouse will result in chronic anxiety, depression and/or anger in both partners. Or, if one partner has difficulty controlling his/her temper, this will produce arguments with the other partner. If one partner drinks or uses drugs excessively, this can produce stress for the other partner.
In couples therapy, Dr. Peck will help you and your partner identify the conflict areas and issues in your relationship, help you decide what changes are needed in the relationship and in the behavior of each partner, and be an ally with both partners in helping them work toward making the changes needed in order for both individuals to feel satisfied in their relationship. She will help the couple learn ways to resolve their conflicts in more constructive ways, leading to more fulfillment for both partners, if they consistently practice these new skills.
Couples therapy involves learning ways to communicate more effectively identifying common life goals, and learning to share responsibilities within the couple’s relationship. Couples therapy can take different forms as the process evolves, sometimes seeming very similar to individual therapy, when one or the other partner will be the focus of attention, with the other partner observing. At other times, the process will have more of a mediation emphasis, or an educational perspective. Sometimes it will be recommended that one or both of the partners in a relationship seek individual treatment, in addition to couples therapy, if it appears that this addition will help the relationship work more successfully and harmoniously.