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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Vu

When to Seek Couples Therapy?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Couples often encounter rough patches in the course of their relationship. It is in these moments that couples therapy can offer a helping hand.


Signs That You Might Need Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can be a proactive step to strengthen your relationship or address existing issues. Recognizing these signs can help determine whether it is time to seek professional help.



1. Couples Therapy for Communication Breakdown

Effective communication is always the key to a strong relationship. When conversations between you and your partner begin to encounter problems, that is when misunderstandings increase, and negative emotions continue to build up. Suppose you and your partner frequently engage in heated arguments or intense conflicts where neither of you is willing to listen, consider each other's opinions, or have any constructive dialogue. In that case, it is a vital sign that your relationship may need assistance from a professional.

Couple fighting
Constant fighting can signify that your relationship may benefit from couples therapy.

2. Couples Therapy for Lack of Physical and Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy and physical intimacy are essential aspects of a healthy relationship, as they release happiness hormones such as oxytocin (Hurlemann & Scheele, 2016; Grewen et al., 2005), dopamine (Walum & Young, 2018), and serotonin (Mottolese et al., 2014). The lack of these intimate elements, both physically and emotionally, can lead to disappointment, disconnection, separation, frustration, dissatisfaction, and more. Couples therapy can help identify the underlying causes of these issues and reignite the flames of your love.



3. Couples Therapy for Trust Issues

Mutual trust is the cornerstone of any successful partnership. When trust erodes due to actions like infidelity or ongoing dishonesty, rebuilding it on your own is challenging. A couples therapist can provide a structured and neutral space to address trust issues and work towards regaining it.

Trust issue of a couple
Couples therapy can help rebuild mutual trust in a relationship.

6. Couples Therapy for Life Transitions and Stress

Life changes, such as job loss, becoming parents, or moving to a new place, can stress a relationship immensely. These changes may reveal underlying problems in the past but have now become more severe. Seeking therapy during these times can provide valuable support and strategies for navigating these challenging moments together.



5. Couples Therapy for Family and In-Law Conflicts

Conflicts with extended family members can spill over into a relationship and create tension. If you find that family dynamics are causing ongoing disagreements or emotional stress, couples therapy might assist you in developing strategies to cope with these challenges constructively.


Unhappy couple
Couples therapy can assist in developing strategies to cope with ongoing disagreements or emotional stress.

6. Couples Therapy for Repeating Past Patterns

If you and your partner find yourselves stuck in the same negative patterns, repeating the same arguments or conflicts, it is a strong indicator that you may need outside assistance. A couples therapist can help you identify these patterns and work on breaking free from them.


Overcoming Resistance

Some clients and couples may hesitate to seek therapy due to stigma, fear, or reluctance to confront their issues. It is essential to remember your decision is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step to improve the relationship. Encouraging open and honest conversations about the benefits of couples therapy can help overcome resistance.


In Conclusion:

Recognizing the signs that your relationship may need professional help is a proactive step toward improving it. Couples therapy offers a secure and encouraging environment for addressing these problems, improving communication, and working towards a healthier and more satisfying partnership. Seeking help at DAT indicates your dedication to improving your relationship and your strength, thereby considering couples therapy when facing these challenges is never too early or too late.


References:

  1. Hurlemann R., Scheele D. (2016). Dissecting the role of oxytocin in the formation and loss of social relationships. Biol. Psychiatry 79 185–193.10. 1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.013

  2. Grewen K. M., Girdler S. S., Amico J., Light K. C. (2005). Effects of partner support on resting oxytocin, cortisol, norepinephrine, and blood pressure before and after warm partner contact. Psychosom. Med. 67 531–538. 10.1097/01.psy.0000170341.88395.47

  3. Mottolese R, Redouté J, Costes N, Le Bars D, Sirigu A. Switching brain serotonin with oxytocin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014;111:8637–42.

  4. Walum H., Young L. J. (2018). The neural mechanisms and circuitry of the pair bond. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 19 643–654. 10.1038/s41583-018-0072-76

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