Social media is an ongoing highlight of the reel, the reality is that having problems as a couple is quite common nowadays. Many couples do face conflicts and find comfort in guidance from a licensed relationship counselor.
Most of us are not very comfortable confronting our relationship conflicts face-to-face with our partner on account of regular arguments, sarcasm, blame, and fights. With help of a relationship psychologist, your determination, and a positive mindset the challenges can be conquered.
The relationships can be repaired. If you’re interested in trying relationship counseling or couple therapy or wondering whether it’s a fit for you, we have rounded up the best strategies, techniques, and exercises to get started.
What is Relationship Counselling or Couple Therapy?
We all have noticed that all relationship has some conflict. Learning how to manage your conflicts, help not only to identify and patch up your issues, but it can also make your relationship much deeper and stronger.
In couples therapy, a certified counselor works with two people to improve their relationship effectively. Certain types of counselors/psychologists are also specifically trained to work with couples, including marriage and family therapists.
Like any other form of psychotherapy, couples or marriage counseling requires a commitment and willingness to open up from both involved parties. Counseling is not a guarded practice reserved for any “type” of person. Couples therapy or Relationship Counselling can be of help to anyone in a relationship, regardless of demographics, caste, sexual orientation, and age.
“Couples can form a deeper and more secure bonding with one another and be able to have difficult vulnerable conversations without pushing the other person away,” says Dr. Prof R K Suri, Ph.D., Founder of Psychowellness Center.
When you’re committing to couples therapy, come with an open mindset, and be ready to break down the negativities and barriers of communication.
Marriage Counselling techniques
A platform like TalktoAngel and other online resources and telehealth have made couples therapy more accessible than ever.
If you’re looking to engage in self-care and enhance your relationship, there are many techniques and exercises at your fingertips.
1. Reflective or Active listening
“Reflective or listening is a highly beneficial exercise where the couple takes turns to be active listeners,” s Use “I” in place of “you” statements. For example, say “I feel hurt when you do [X]” instead of “You’re wrong for doing [X].”
2. Emotionally focused therapy
Some therapists use a technique called emotionally focused therapy (EFT), to facilitate enduring behavior changes. The goal is for couples “to identify maladaptive emotional, thinking and behavioral patterns within the relationship that are interfering with secure bonds and attachments”, Partners “learn and utilize techniques to heal or create safe and secure attachments within the relationship,”
3. Narrative therapy
Narrative therapy is a form of counseling that views people as separate from their problems. The practice of narrative therapy revolves around people listing their problems in narrative form and rewriting their stories. This can help them see that no single story can possibly encapsulate the totality of their experience. Narrative therapy is helpful for couples who feel like their relationship is failing due to both of their faults.
4. Gottman Technique
The most popular method of marriage counseling Gottman Technique practiced among couples’ therapists. The technique is designed to help couples develop an intense understanding of one another for identifying and managing conflicts in their relationship, intimacy, and marital adjustment.
5. Imago Relationship Therapy
Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt developed Imago Relationship Therapy in 1980, emphasizing the connection between adult relationships and childhood experiences. The understanding childhood traumatic experiences couples make more empathetic and understanding of one another.
6. Solution-focused Brief therapy
It focuses on dealing with a particular issue, like burnout, or trying to work toward a specific goal, solution-focused brief therapy is a model to consider.
It is “a short-term goal-focused evidence-based therapeutic approach which helps clients change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems.”
7. Get crafty or Vision Board Technique
“Having a physically visible vision board exercise can help remind you of your shared desires and goals for when you are having issues within the relationship,” It is recommended for couples to get crafty by writing down goals and collecting pictures that embody their relationship desires. “It’s a tangible reminder that a marriage is a work in progress and that it takes hard work and time on both ends to create a strong, healthy, and enduring relationship,”.
8. Improving deeper conversation
Get over from surface-level conversations and ask your partner deeper engaging questions other than “What’s for dinner today?”, “Can I help you in making Dinner today?” Giving clients the homework of simply talking with each other to improve deeper conversations. “Oftentimes, we get so busy and caught up in the day-to-day needs and mundane chores, we don’t realize that we stop having conversations about anything else,”.
9. Express Gratitude
Expressing gratitude and communicating what works in your relationship can help strengthen your appreciation for one another. Gratitude therapy is one of the very useful techniques for improving relationships “Make it a habit of expressing appreciation daily through in-person conversations, texts, or a sticky note in a place your partner will find it,”
10. Notice your partner’s love language
If you’re in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you, experience love, in the same way, as your partner.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is useful for couples to notice what makes them feel loved, so they can show up for each other. The five love languages are based on the idea that each person has a preferred way of receiving love:
- Accepting gifts
- Doing acts of service
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Physical touch or Cuddle
11. Scheduling important moments and difficult conversations
If you are looking to have an important moment or difficult discussion with your partner? Serious talks or enjoying occasions are best when you have a plan. “We often engage in conflict or arguments because the timing is wrong, and we aren’t in the right frame of mind where we can thoughtfully engage in a difficult conversation,” according to a top Clinical Psychologist and Relationship Counsellor who recommends scheduling difficult conversations or parties in advance, so no one is caught off guard.
12. Fixing in one-on-one time
Life can often feel hectic, don’t let outside pressures override time with your partner. “Fixing an hour of ‘couples time’ to get intimate is a great beginning. Fixing an hour of time to focus on topics that will help improve the intimate relationship or emotional warmth can be done several times a week or once a week,”.
13. Filling your intimacy basket
Please understand that as a couple and as individuals, you both have intimacy needs. The “intimacy basket,” comprised the following:
Spending time finding exercises in each other’s intimacy bucket. For example, you can explore a new hobby together or party with mutual friends or watch Netflix, or couple trip.
14. Practice Couple yoga
It is a good way of considering teaming up with your partner for couples’ yoga. allows you to balance together with your partner, establishing and strengthening trust as you flow through tandem moves.
With the synchronization of your breathing, you’ll be one with your partner during your practice — and the benefits may even exceed your yoga class.
15. The 6-second kissing Technique
The kissing is just long enough to be passionate while also acting as a distraction from the busyness of the day. Don’t reject this technique before you try it. Dr. John Gottman, advocates for the 6-second kissing. It’s a way for couples to add a dash of romance seamlessly throughout the day.
16. Showing keen interest in each other’s day
When did you ask last time your partner what they were most excited about for the day? Spending a few moments discussing your partner’s interests, agenda and goals will help support them and make them feel cared for in your relationship. “The sense of appreciative inquiry creates curiosity and can help your partner feel connected to you.”
17. Share your expectation with your partner
Write down five expectations you have from your partner and want them to do weekly that would make you happy. Share your list with one another while looking into each other’s eyes. The expectation lists may not be something your partner can do every day, but a reminder of things they can manage to do at least once a week to help build commitment, trust, respect, and communication.
“The emphasis over here is that we all show and need affection in different ways, and honoring those differences in expectations is essential to feeling heard and understood,”
18. Use Practice icebreaker technique
You might have a glimpse of icebreaker techniques used by trainers during summer camp or work seminars, but this go-to conversation-starting game may help reinvigorate your relationship and teach you something new about your partner.
Icebreaker is a very powerful tool to make a better understanding of yourself and your partner. Reintroduce yourself to your partner by setting time to discuss icebreaker questions that dig beneath the surface, for example, 5 qualities you appreciate in your partner and love him/her for same.
19. Connecting through music or Videos
Do you remember the days of making your school crush the ultimate mixtape? It is noted from the studies that shared music and video preferences create stronger social bonds. Feel the passion and curate your own playlist of songs and videos that remind you of your partner and the moments you’ve shared. Swap your playlists, and get a peek into each other’s romantic side.
20. Start a book club or Journaling
Reading can allow you to explore emotions and share an experience together at your own pace. Alternate the responsibility of choosing a book that’s grabbed your attention, and set a date to discuss it over dinner. Joining the Book Club or Journaling the book, article, videos, and experiences and asking partners to share is a wonderful way of deeply connecting.
21. Eye gazing & Eye Contact
Improving good eye-to-eye contact is a part of communication, social acceptance, and respect. Initiating deeper eye contact often called gazing into your partner’s eye may help you two feel a stronger connection.
Prolonged eye contact can help you recognize emotions, trust, and love, and increase intimacy. Studies indicate that eye gazing with “self-other merging,” reducing the boundary between yourself and the other person to feel unity. As the saying goes, the eyes are the window to the soul, so why not give it a try?
22. Increase cuddling
Cuddling causes your body to release oxytocin and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. The interpersonal touch from your partner could act as a stress buffer and relieve pain and may help lower resting blood pressure. This means that, if you’re feeling warm and fuzzy, your body is doing its job. It promotes well-being and happiness.
24. Investing in a therapy workbook
Find a couple’s therapy workbook in a book store or online, and take time each week to go through assigned activities with your partner. Seek couple counseling by the best relationship counselor who will recommend workbooks or exercises like the book “Hold Me Tight”, “Cognitive Behaviour Therapy workbook”, and The couple Home Lasting Connection Systems”, having a lot of worksheets and exercises designed to help couples connect in “deeper, more meaningful ways.”
24. Unplugging digital devices
Studies have found that one of the serious issues in relationships is excessive you of digital gadgets like cellphones, and TVs, which distract their partner when they’re alone together.
Very often called phone snubbing (or “phubbing”), focusing on your phone instead of your partner in a social setting could negatively impact your relationship over time. If distraction and a feeling of absenteeism are infiltrating your relationship, experiment with setting aside time to fully unplug, digital detox by going on a jungle safari, and communicate with each other more meaningfully.
Avoid some unnecessary topics and help create healthy boundaries
Whatever preparation you make prior to each session, you’re likely to show up to counseling with more thoughts in your head. Perhaps the two of you had a major disagreement earlier during the day.
Although it’s fine to talk about the issue, however, you shouldn’t make it the primary discussion point for the session. It’s better to stay clear of issues of the moment and stick to your planned subjects.
Staying true to your plans is adhering to your plan. This is the most effective way to deal with your marriage issues in a systematic manner. If you’re not careful, focusing on the issues of the moment can lead to an unbalanced approach that won’t produce the most effective outcomes.
Preparation and planning allow us to make connections. We can sequentially tackle the issues that make life difficult for yourself and for your partner just as you might acquire the new skills.
It’s a fundamental method that can lead to a deeper understanding of the reasons the two of you are having trouble as well as more effective solutions to those issues. The therapist must help the client in building healthy boundaries.
26, Goal Setting
It’s easy to get into marriage counseling with the general purpose to improve your marriage. However, a stronger relationship is an expectation. It’s helpful to move past that general goal to create something concrete. What are the places you and your spouse want to be in six months from today? What kind of lifestyle do you wish to create with your partner?
We create goals so we can have something to work towards. Let’s say that you together with your partner choose three goals you would like to reach. We begin to work towards one.
If we accomplish it there are two outcomes The first is that you are in a position to begin working towards the next goal, and both you as well as your coworker feel the satisfaction that inspires you to continue going forward.
Relationship Counselling can help in a relationship, regardless of demographics, caste, sexual orientation, and age