If you are struggling with your relationship and you are thinking about couples counseling, there is a very good chance that you are curious about whether or not it will work. Many people are skeptical about couples counseling and for a good reason. Prior to the 1980s many of the common methods used for couples counseling did not have a very high success rate. However, currently, the methods used for couples counseling have a much higher success rate. In fact, couples therapy is effective in nearly 75 percent of couples who seek it.

Does Couples Counseling Work?

Failure Groups

The 25 percent group that tends to fail even after couples counseling are often the couples who are in a relationship that is abusive. This could be a physical abuse situation or an emotional abuse situation. It should not be expected that therapy will work until the abusive behavior ends. It is typically recommended that each person has therapy on their own at first. This will help to work toward self-control and also maintains safety based on each person’s needs.

When one person in the relationship is an addict, couples therapy is likely to fail unless the person who is the addict needs to be ready to admit that they have a problem and be willing to go to rehab and overcome their addiction. They need to take care of themselves before they can even begin to take care of and be in a relationship with someone.

Emotionally Focused Therapy

The most common form of couples counseling that is being used and has this success rate is emotionally focused therapy. This type of therapy uses a systemic approach to help change patterns of interaction between couples in distress. This then helps to change the emotional responses they have to each other.

Prior therapies were directed more towards changing thoughts and behaviors. Emotionally focused therapy leads to changing emotional responses that help to strengthen the emotional bond between the couple. The overall goal of this type of therapy is to establish more secure attachments. Most of the time at least a six-month commitment will be necessary, dependent on the other circumstances of the couple as well as how frequent the sessions are.

Maximizing Positive Outcomes

In order to improve the chances of a positive outcome, the partners must both be willing to learn some skills and to become more self-aware. It is also important that the couple is emotionally vulnerable. Basic communication skills are needed so that feeling words can be used. Many people struggle between communicating their feelings and separating them from their thoughts.

Successful married couples will also need to stop seeing each other as an opponent. Couples must begin to see each other as teammates. When one person thinks that the other is always out to get them or views the relationship as a competition, there is not going to be a winner. This will improve mutual contentment. When couples view each other as being on the same team it will improve cooperation. This also improves the willingness of each of them to open up emotionally for a healthy relationship.

Empathy is also critical when it comes to this type of couples therapy sessions. Each person in the relationship has to be able to be compassionate and empathize with the other. This is the only way to get through emotional traumas from the relationship.

Finally, each individual must be willing to work on changing themselves to improve in the relationship. Relationships take a lot of work and in order for therapy to be successful. It is important to make sure that you are willing to work on yourself.


 To answer the question of whether or not couples counseling will work, in short, it can. Whether or not it will work for your particular situation is truly dependent on both you and your partner and your willingness to accept each other’s faults. To be successful each person in the relationship must be willing to open up emotionally and accept the other person. This is the only way that therapy is going to be successful.

SAGE Counseling Omaha

At SAGE Counseling Omaha, our primary focus is on helping you to get the support and treatment that you need as you move forward. We all experience challenges that are often too difficult to work through on their own, and we are here to support you during these tough times.

When you connect with our compassionate counseling team, you can rest assured that you will receive the individualized care that you need. Contact us today. For approved clients, we are able to utilize telehealth services through our HIPAA compliant virtual software.

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