Here’s what the typical couples therapy or marriage counselling process looks like…

Couples who are having challenges in their relationship will often seek out the help of a couples therapist near you or a nearby marriage counsellor. With couples counselling or marriage counselling, both individuals in the relationship will typically attend therapy sessions together. It usually starts with developing an understanding and awareness of the issue from both sides, followed by some action items and strategies. Many of the interventions in couples therapy revolve around improved communication skills and abilities and managing conflict.

On average, couples tend to wait about six years before seeking out help. That means they’ve been struggling for six long years without any interventions. A lot of the time, couples go in for a specific issue (infertility, gambling issue, infidelity, etc), but as you can imagine, this issue becomes complex and intertwined with other issues and challenges.

A better way to improve your relationship

Couples therapy can be a transformative experience for many relationships, as it offers a safe and supportive environment for partners to address their concerns, improve communication, and foster a deeper understanding of one another. When facilitated by a skilled therapist, couples therapy has the potential to not only resolve conflicts but also enhance the overall quality of the relationship. Here are three main benefits couples can expect from participating in therapy:

  • Improved communication: Couples therapy helps partners develop effective communication skills, enabling them to express their thoughts, feelings, and needs more clearly. This can lead to a reduction in misunderstandings, assumptions, and conflicts.
  • Conflict resolution: By providing a structured setting for open and honest discussions, couples therapy enables partners to address unresolved issues and work through conflicts in a healthy, constructive manner. The therapist can offer guidance and support, helping couples find mutually satisfying resolutions to their problems.
  • Enhanced emotional intimacy: Couples therapy encourages partners to explore their emotional vulnerabilities, fostering a deeper understanding and empathy for each other’s feelings and experiences. This can strengthen the emotional bond between partners, leading to increased trust, closeness, and satisfaction within the relationship.

What are some main therapeutic methods for couples?

While the Shift Protocol for Individual Therapy draws on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and exposure therapy, there are often quite different approaches and modalities when it comes to couples counselling.

Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy aimed at helping couples resolve conflicts, improve communication, and enhance their relationships. There are numerous methods of couples therapy, each with its own theoretical foundations and techniques. In this introduction, we will briefly outline three main methods: Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT), the Gottman Method, and Imago Relationship Therapy.

  1. Brief Solution-Focused Therapy (BSFCT):
    • Solution-focused therapy for couples is an approach that focuses on identifying and building upon strengths within the relationship while working towards specific goals for improvement. Rather than dwelling on past problems or conflicts, this therapy emphasizes finding practical solutions and implementing positive changes in the present and future.
    • In solution-focused therapy, couples are encouraged to envision their desired outcomes and identify small steps they can take to achieve them. Therapists help couples recognize their existing strengths and resources, fostering a sense of empowerment and hope. By focusing on what is already working well and amplifying those aspects, couples can experience tangible progress and build momentum towards their goals.
    • This approach also emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration between partners. Couples learn effective communication skills, such as active listening and expressing appreciation, which can deepen their connection and understanding of each other. Through guided conversations and exercises, couples gain insights into their dynamics and develop strategies to navigate challenges more effectively.
    • Overall, solution-focused therapy offers couples a proactive and collaborative approach to relationship enhancement. By harnessing their strengths and focusing on achievable goals, couples can cultivate a more fulfilling and resilient partnership, fostering greater harmony and satisfaction in their relationship.
    • Research: One study investigated the effectiveness of brief solution-focused couple therapy in reducing couple burnout among women. It utilized a semi-experimental design with pretest-posttest and follow-up measures, including a control group. Thirty women with high scores on a couple burnout questionnaire participated, with half assigned to an experimental group receiving therapy and the other half serving as controls. The experimental group attended seven sessions of 1.5 hours each, while the control group received no intervention. Results indicated that the therapy significantly decreased couple burnout both immediately after treatment and at a follow-up session approximately five weeks later. This suggests that brief solution-focused couple therapy holds promise for reducing marital problems among couples.
  2. The Gottman Method: Developed by Dr. John and Dr. Julie Gottman, this evidence-based approach is grounded in research on what makes relationships successful. The Gottman Method identifies nine components of healthy relationships, known as the Sound Relationship House. Couples therapy using this method involves assessing the relationship, teaching skills to improve communication, and helping partners manage conflict effectively. Techniques may include using a “soft startup” for discussions, practising active listening, and developing empathy and understanding of each other’s perspectives.
  3. Imago Relationship Therapy: Created by Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt, Imago Relationship Therapy is based on the idea that individuals unconsciously choose partners who resemble significant figures from their childhood. The therapy helps couples understand the underlying reasons for their relationship patterns, enabling them to heal and grow together. Key techniques include the “Imago Dialogue,” which involves structured communication exercises that foster empathy, understanding, and connection between partners. This method aims to create a safe space for partners to explore their feelings and needs, ultimately transforming their relationship into a source of growth and healing.

Our Couples Therapists


What is couples counselling and how can it help my relationship?

Couples therapy, also known as relationship therapy, is a form of therapy that aims to help couples identify, address, and resolve conflicts or issues within their relationship. Through guided discussions, couples learn to communicate more effectively, build trust, and develop a deeper understanding of one another. ShiftGrit Couples Counselling Service offers a safe and supportive environment for couples to explore their feelings, learn new skills, and work towards a stronger and healthier relationship.

How do I know if my partner and I could benefit from relationship counselling?

Couples may benefit from counselling if they are experiencing persistent conflicts, communication breakdowns, trust issues, or emotional distress. However, even couples who are not experiencing significant problems can benefit from counselling to strengthen their relationship and prevent future issues. If you feel that your relationship could use improvement or support, ShiftGrit can help you work through your concerns together.

How long does each counselling session last, and how many sessions will we need?

At ShiftGrit relationship counselling Service, each session typically lasts for 50 minutes to an hour. The number of sessions required varies depending on the unique needs and goals of each couple. Some couples may see progress in just a few sessions, while others may require ongoing support to address deeper issues. Our therapists will work with you to determine the appropriate duration and frequency of sessions to meet your specific needs.

Will our conversations during therapy be kept confidential?

Confidentiality is a key component of any therapeutic relationship. At ShiftGrit relationship counselling Service, we prioritize your privacy and adhere to strict confidentiality guidelines. All discussions during your counselling sessions will remain confidential, except in cases where there is a risk of harm to yourself or others, or when required by law.

How do I get started with ShiftGrit Couples Counselling Near Me?

To begin your relationship counselling journey with ShiftGrit, simply visit our website or contact our office to schedule an initial consultation. During this consultation, you and your partner will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns with a therapist, who will then help you determine if counselling is the right fit for your relationship. If you decide to proceed, we’ll work together to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and goals.