Here at Willapa we offer several great Couples Counseling for issues such as:
- Premarital counseling
- Couples who are struggling to feel connected
- Couples who have poor communication
- Couples trying to recover from affairs
- Couples who feel their relationship has stagnated
- Couples who feel frustrated with each other
- Couples who have trust issues from past relationships and have brought that into their current relationship
Willapa Couples Counseling is private and customized
Couples counseling is one of the most valuable tools a couple can utilize to strengthen and improve their relationship. Listening to podcasts and reading books can be helpful—the ideas, theories, and practices sound life-changing and encouraging, however, putting the ideas into practice can be difficult and discouraging. That is where couples counseling can be helpful.
Your therapist will work with you as a couple to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in your partnership. As you, your partner, and your therapist come to know and understand the culture of your relationship and how that culture affects its health, you will be able to create custom, measurable treatment goals that you can ask for help in implementing and follow up on their progress. Working together to improve your relationship can promote healing, growth, and happiness.
I really like my therapist. He understands, he gets me and he also gives me the tools to use in my everyday life... The staff is great.––M.R.
Getting to know you
What does the first session look like?
We know you may feel apprehensive leading up to your first couples counseling appointment. We also recognize the vulnerability and trust it takes to take a seat in your therapist’s office. The first session is an intake session designed to help your therapist understand you and the history that has led to your present circumstances. This allows them to identify potential treatment options and goals for you as an individual and as a couple. Here is what you can expect to discuss during your intake.
- Your therapist will want to get to know each of you. They are interested in your hobbies, work, daily life activities, views on your relationship, the history of your relationship to include rough and happy times.
- Each individual will disclose family histories. This assists your therapist in understanding how your past experiences have shaped your beliefs about relationships.
- Your ideas about what a successful relationship looks like to you.
- Communication strategies and practices within your relationship will be discussed and observed.
- Your therapist will seek to understand why you are seeking couples therapy and what you hope to gain from your sessions.
The intake session is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers. The more honest and open you can be as individuals and as a couple, the more prepared your therapist will be to guide you through your journey to healing.
Interested in Talking? Let's Chat about your options.
What do healthy outcomes of couples counseling look like?
Understanding what your life and relationship look like after successful couples counseling gives you something to work towards and look forward to during your journey. While counseling can be continually beneficial, even after all your original therapy goals are met, it is a validating feeling to reach benchmarks along your path.
Successful therapeutic outcomes from couples counseling may include:
- Resolution for past disagreements and arguments
- Confidence that you have the right tools to “fight fair” when new disagreements arise
- Trust in your new communication habits and styles
- Past traumas have been identified, examined, and addressed
- Trust in your partner is rebuilt
- Healed from relationship wounds
- An action plan for reducing tension due to disagreements over money, housework, extended family issues, physical intimacy, parenting, work, and other common stressors has been created
Success looks different for each individual couple. Based on your therapy goals, when two individuals put in the work necessary to improve a relationship, we are confident you will feel the positive impact in your relationship from your time in counseling.
Questions and Answers
Learn more about Couples Therapy
- When is a good time to go?
One of our most commonly asked questions is when a couple should start seeing a therapist. Finding a therapist before experiencing a crisis in your relationship is the best time to start therapy. If you are feeling a bit of extra strain in your relationship, you are finding you are easily agitated with each other, arguments frequently erupt, or you are simply wanting to create a closer bond and strengthen your relationship, it is the right time for couples counseling.
One of the most significant benefits of couples counseling is establishing boundaries and procedures for your relationship. Having a plan of how you are going to work through a disagreement before a disagreement occurs can reduce the amount of stress and tension you both experience during hard times. Stressors in your relationship naturally will occur. Successfully working through those times can strengthen your relationship and create feelings of fulfillment and love. By attending couples counseling and creating a clear roadmap of how you are going to navigate your relationship journey, you are being proactive in protecting and strengthening it.
Couples struggling through a crisis can also benefit from couples counseling. Your therapist can be an unbiased mediator who can help you get your relationship back on track. Our therapists understand the trauma you may be experiencing. They can help you work through your immediate needs as a couple and as individuals and help guide you to be proactive in preventing future relationship crises.
Common relationship issues we see in our practice include:
- Substance abuse from one or both partners
- Lack of communication or misunderstanding of proactive communication styles
- Unhealthy habits between the couple
- Past traumas affecting current relationship
- Overall feelings of stagnancy
- What types of approaches are used for couples counseling?
Your therapist’s approach to your sessions will be specific to your needs. At Willapa Behavioral Health, we have therapists who specialize in multiple modalities. Listed below are the approaches we most often use, but your therapist will further specialize your treatment to serve your needs as a couple.
Gottman Method: Therapists guide couples to clear communication practices, assist in improving the desire for intimacy, affection, and trust, encourage progress over stagnation and increase empathy and compassion in the relationship.
Family Systems: Therapists enable a safe environment for couples to explore complex and hard thoughts and emotions surrounding their relationship. They provide a space for sharing and understanding opposing views, and they assist in fostering an appreciation for each other’s strengths and needs. Building a relationship focused on a couple’s strengths allows for more growth and change.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Therapists aid couples in improving communication, increasing occurrences of positive behaviors in the relationship while reducing occurrences of negative behaviors, and understanding how harmful assumptions can cause conflict in a relationship.
Adult Attachment Theory: Therapists aid the couple in exploring their attachment styles, how these styles affect their behavior, ability to bond, and their levels of trust.
Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT): Therapists aid couples in becoming more aware of their emotions, where those emotions come from, how they are related to thoughts, behavior and the health of communication and functioning in the relationship.
Structural Strategic Family Therapy (SFT): Sessions focus on strengthening and sometimes making changes to the family system to ensure that appropriate boundaries are in place so that interactions between family members can improve.
- What are our options when only one partner is open to therapy?
We know how frustrating and hurtful it may feel when you want to improve your relationship through couples counseling but your partner is not on board. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Building a support system and not isolating can be a helpful way to cope.
- Couples seminars can be a great way to dip your toe in the water without committing to weekly therapy. They can give you overarching tools for helping your relationship.
- Express your appreciation for your partner’s willingness to consider attending counseling with you.
- Discuss the hesitation for going to counseling with your partner. When you understand their “why,” you may be able to find a solution.
- Emphasize that counseling is not an attack on one person. Couples counseling is a two-way street where both individuals are able to share and address their thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
- Attend therapy as an individual to work through your own struggles. Making changes in your personal life will oftentimes roll over into your relationship. When your partner notices changes in your attitudes and behaviors, they may feel more comfortable and confident in attending therapy with you. The positive benefits you experience are a favorable outcome no matter what your partner chooses in regards to therapy attendance.
- We both agree we need help, we are just not ready to commit to counseling
We understand counseling may not feel right at this time. The fact that you are here means you are looking to improve your relationship. Here are some ideas to try out if you are not ready to commit to counseling.
- Commit to weekly date nights – Setting aside this time for your partner and yourself helps make your relationship a priority. Knowing your partner is making the effort to spend time with you can create a big difference in how you feel towards each other. The quality time to reconnect weekly can also improve your relationship. To keep it simple, we recommend you take turns planning date night activities.
- Increase Intimacy – Intimacy looks many ways and is not just about the physical act of having sex. It is in the way you talk to each other and touch or hold each other. Intimacy involves the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of a person’s being. Giving loving, gentle attention to these aspects of your partner will increase positive regard and bring you intimately closer.
- Consider a break – If you are finding you are in a relationship crisis and you cannot seem to find solutions, it may be a good time to take a purposeful break from each other. Being independent may help you and your partner evaluate if you are happier away from your relationship. Your partner and you can decide on the length of your break as well as any boundaries you would like to keep during your break.
- We are both open, we are not sure we can afford it
We will soon be offering marriage seminars and workshops that are a good way to learn skills to enhance the quality of your marriage and “try on” a therapeutic environment. **These workshops are not a good fit for couples who are experiencing domestic violence or have severe issues.
Would You Like To Get In Touch With A Couple Counselor?
Call us to see if you may qualify for a sliding fee scale and explore financial options.