Types Of Couples Therapy
You may have talked to friends who have gone through individual or couples therapy, so they may have given you a good overview of how it was helpful to them, but you do not have to rely solely on word-of-mouth as you make your decision to pursue therapy as the next step in your healing and reconciliation process. Approximately ⅔ of the couples who go through couples therapy after infidelity experience improvement in their relationship, while as many as ½ are considered “recovered”.
Therapists are trained in different therapy methods, so it is important to be familiar with these methods in preparation for therapy. Some therapists have found success in treating the affected partner as if they have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, like a military veteran or the victim of a natural disaster. There is an extensive body of research on relationships and couples therapy, to which
have contributed significantly. We will explore their research and findings here briefly.
The Gottman Method
After a time of assessment for both partners and the relationship as a whole, therapists can begin to use Gottman’s ideas for your therapy. Therapists who use the Gottman Method emphasize The Shared Relationship House Theory which involves these principles:
- Build love maps
- Share fondness and admiration
- Turn towards instead of away
- The positive perspective
- Manage conflict
- Make life dreams come true
- Create shared meaning
Gottman says that all marital conflicts can either be resolved (31% of conflicts) or are perpetual (69% of conflicts). His couples therapy method is meant to help couples work through conflicts that appear to be perpetual, encouraging both partners to find their meaning and connection in what they agree on, rather than those nagging conflicts that just won’t go away.
For a full description of the Gottman Method and more resources, visit https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/.
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (Johnson Method)
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on research surrounding the bonding that takes place between parent and child and also between partners. Supported by this research and each partner’s particular background, therapists using this method can create and use a map of sorts to help couples navigate conflict and intimacy. This method has been successful in getting couples on the path to reconciliation, with 70-75% of couples moving from “distress” to “recovery” during their time in therapy and 90% showing significant improvements.
For a full description of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy and more resources, visit http://drsuejohnson.com/emotionally-focused-therapy-2/what-is-eft/.
Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (Tatkin Method)
The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) originated from research in three areas:
- Neuroscience – by studying the brain, researchers have discovered which areas are intended to have fight or flight capabilities and which are supposed to harbor love and acceptance
- Attachment theory – the biological need to bond with others stemming from early memories
- Human arousal – the ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage at any moment
PACT therapy sessions are unique in that they can often last for 3-6 hours rather than the typical hour, but fewer PACT sessions may be needed to resolve the conflicts related or unrelated to the infidelity. Additionally, the therapist may try to trigger certain emotions or reactions by talking about particular past experiences while observing your real-time expressions. All of these factors combine to allow the therapist to usually provide feedback and areas for improvement rather quickly.
For a full description of the Psychobiological Approach and more resources, visit https://stantatkin.com/.
You will likely find that you and your partner prefer one method over another, or it might take more than one method in combination to get to the root of your conflicts and lay out a path to healing and reconciliation. But remember that there is always hope for your relationship as long as you are both willing to seek and receive help and work together to build back your trust.