Tampa Bay Center of Relational Psychology

Couples Therapy

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Couples Therapy

In couples therapy, sometimes called marital therapy, marriage therapy, or relationship therapy, you and your partner meet together with a trained therapist to work together on improving your relationship. Couples therapy works well for people in committed relationships, whether they are opposite-sex, same-sex, married, or unmarried partners. Couples therapy can also be helpful regardless of your age or the stage of your relationship. Therapists who do couples therapy have specialized training to work with relationships as this mode of therapy differs from individual therapy.

Therapists at TBCRP use a well-researched and highly effective model of couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and often supplement their work with having a couple read the book Hold Me Tight, use a related workbook between sessions or attend a Hold Me Tight® couples workshop as a springboard for more rapid and effective change.

The EFT model emphasizes the importance of the special attachment bond between partners. The couple is helped to see how their negative patterns of interaction can be understood differently through the attachment lens. Partners’ behaviors are seen as connected to our underlying longing for safety and connection in this most precious relationship. In addition to helping reduce conflict and improve cooperation, this approach allows new ways of understanding yourself and your partner, different ways to identify and express feelings, and helps remove barriers to fully supporting one another. It helps couples to bond and regain the connection they have lost.

Couples therapy is appropriate for couples who find themselves:

  • constantly fighting
  • cut-off from one another and lonely
  • recovering from an affair or other betrayal
  • experiencing a lack of intimacy
  • having sexual problems
  • struggling with addictions
  • trying to manage external stressors.
  • dealing with extended family conflicts and demands
  • having problems with parenting or navigating stepfamily integration


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Couples Therapy Near Me

Wesley Chapel

2100 Ashley Oaks Circle Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

Land O Lakes

20747 Sterlington Drive Land O Lakes, FL 34638

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Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy F.A.Q

In couples therapy, the therapist usually meets with you together for one session and then individually with each partner for one session as a way to get a full picture of how you and your relationship are faring. After that initial assessment period, both partners will attend most sessions. Sessions may run 60-90 minutes, as determined in consultation with your couple’s therapist. You can expect the therapist to work to understand the joint patterns of interaction in your relationship, as well as to attune carefully to each partner’s experience. The therapist may explore how past experiences from childhood or other adult experiences have influenced how you perceive or feel in interactions with your partner, always with the focus of bringing therapy back to improvement of your current relationship. The therapist often helps you to identify and make sense of your feelings and put them into words. Once emotional safety in the therapy has been established, you may be asked to share your feelings with your partner in the therapy session so that the therapist can help you learn new ways to speak and listen to one another. You and your partner progress systematically and surely towards more warmth, more connection, and more ability to navigate difficult subjects. For some couples with few complications, the therapy process is short-term; for those with complicating factors such as addiction, affairs, trauma backgrounds, or major losses, the process is still highly effective but will likely take more time.

Discernment counseling is used when the partners are not aligned on whether to remain in the marriage/relationship and where divorce is strongly being considered by at least one partner. We often see situations in which one partner is deeply committed to remaining in the marriage and the other is uncertain or leaning out. Through a process of exploring your feelings and options separately and then together, a trained couples therapist assists the couple to discern the best path for them. Partners who are ambivalent or leaning out, are helped to develop greater self-awareness and to identify the reasons the marriage isn’t working, acknowledge their own role in the breakdown and consider why previous efforts to improve the marriage have been unsuccessful. Partners who are committed to remain in the relationship are encouraged to increase their understanding of their spouse’s feelings and views and to be curious and non-blaming as they make space to hear their partner’s feelings. This is a short-term model of therapy, lasting from 1-5 sessions.

Couples may go from discernment into more traditional couple’s therapy, usually making a six-month commitment to working on the marriage. Having a clear identification of obstacles in the marriage and a committed plan for working on it together often makes the subsequent marital therapy more effective. For those who decide to part ways, the therapist can offer guidance and support on best practices for separating. Couples who participated in discernment therapy prior to divorce report better understanding of the reasons for the divorce, have more compassion for their partners, and more cooperation with their former spouse in tasks such as co-parenting.

TBCRP couple’s therapists are trained and experienced in discernment therapy – please let us know if these services can help you and your relationship during a time of great duress.

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