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Couples Therapy: Can CBT help to improve relationship problems?

When it comes to relationship issues, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. However, couples therapy has been proven to help people and improve their relationships. Unfortunately, not all people are familiar with marriage counseling and the approaches involved. For the unversed, relationship counseling aims to improve communication, increase emotional attachment, resolve conflicts, and dysfunctional behavior, and build resilience and trust between the partners.

There are many approaches and modalities for couple therapy, and one that has been found to be particularly effective is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  In this blog, we have focused on how the CBT approach can be used for couples therapy.

CBT for Couples Therapy

During the therapy, the therapist will work with both partners to identify issues that may be contributing to relationship problems. This may involve exploring communication patterns, beliefs about each other and the relationship, and any other factors that may be causing conflict.

In the therapy session, therapists will identify the wrong or negative thinking patterns that they have regarding their relationship and help them to make the necessary changes by challenging the thought process.

The therapist will also help the person recognize and deal with triggers, and how stop continuous automatic and overly negative thoughts, judgments and conclusions. Another important aspect is understanding and reshaping the core beliefs. Weak core beliefs can be a source of disputes among couples.

During couples counseling or relationship counselling, once the issues and beliefs are identified, the psychologist or the therapist will work with both partners which can involve techniques such as cognitive restructuring (challenging and replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones). The therapist may also work with the couple to develop new communication skills and strategies.

Some of the common steps involved are:

Identifying and challenging the negative thought patterns
Development of new behaviors 
Reinforcing the positive aspects.

What are the benefits of CBT for couples therapy?

Improved communication
Resolution of conflicts
Improved relationship satisfaction: 
Can be applied to other relationships.

Overall, CBT for couples therapy can be an effective way to address relationship problems and lead to better communication, stronger relationships, and happier life together. Other popular therapies for couples are Emotionally Focused Therapy and Gottman Method.

If you are struggling in your relationship, talk to Scarborough Psychology’s therapist for couples therapy. Click here to book an appointment.