6 activities of couple therapy
These are the main exercises and activities that are part of couples therapy.
Couples therapy is much more than the conversations that take place during the sessions with the psychologist. In fact, much of the progress and breakthroughs have to do with the activities that the couple does on their own, building on the ideas and practices done in the presence of the therapist.
Committing to this process of strengthening the bond of love involves carrying out certain habits and exercises on a daily basis, so that the change for the better extends to all areas of cohabitation and not only to what happens in the psychology office.
But... what are those actions in which both members of the couple have to get involved in their daily lives? Here we will see a summary of the typical activities of a couple therapy process, to get to know them better..
Typical activities in couples therapy
These are some of the habits and activities that are encouraged in couple therapy, both in the sessions themselves and, above all, between sessions, during the hours of being together doing everyday actions.
This is an approximation of what is usual in such a process, but we must bear in mind that each case is unique and psychologists always adapt our intervention proposals depending on the unique characteristics of each person, the relationship and the context in which both people live.
1. Keeping track of the time spent together
It is necessary to make a conscious effort to spend time together; but it must be quality time, in which each can focus on the other person without having his or her mind on other things. To this end, it is necessary to keep track of when it's time to do what, so that in the event thatIf problems or unforeseen events arise, it is possible to correct the schedule and create another time to be with the other person.
It is not a matter of constantly timing your time together, but rather of planning and making sure that during the week there are times when it is possible to be with each other.
In addition, it is recommended that these times together have variety, it is recommended that these moments together have a variety of situations and experiences, since this allows you to be in contact with each other.This allows one to be in touch with all facets of the other person and oneself in the context of the couple. For example, if all these moments occur in the evening and at home, we will see a very limited set of actions and attitudes, which leads us to have a simplistic and two-dimensional view of the relationship. In couple's therapy, different techniques and strategies are taught to make it easier to have a better control of time and avoid the calendar dragging us along.
2. Use discussion management guidelines
It would be unrealistic to expect that through couples therapy the arguments between the couple will disappear. The key is to know how to manage them correctly.
For this reason, psychologists who work with couples train them in a series of conflict management activities, so that they do not lead to fierce confrontations or to pretending that nothing is happening (which is as or more harmful than intense arguing). The aim is to be able to express oneself, reach consensus on the problems to be addressed, and reach compromises to solve them.
3. Activities of self-knowledge
Much of the progress made in couple therapy depends on the way in which we manage to put our heads in order: our opinions, our interests and concerns, our values, etc. To this end, psychologists teach many patients to carry out self-awareness activities on a daily basis.. Having this information about oneself allows us to reach a better fit between the two.
4. Training in non-verbal language and affective expression
Many times, part of the problem that leads people to couple therapy is that there are blocks in the way we communicate and express ourselves. For example, there are couples who have lost a lot of trust and are uncomfortable with the idea of being close and even vulnerable.These are key elements in an affective and intimate relationship. In this sense, in therapy we work so that both can learn or re-learn these interaction guidelines that go beyond words.
5. Do weekly check-ins
Approximately once a week, it is recommended to have a talk about the aspects in which one about the aspects in which one has noticed progress, added problems, or points in which for the moment no progress has been detected, both in oneself and in the person you love.in oneself as well as in the other person. In doing so, it is necessary to follow a series of guidelines to make this conversation productive, not a battle of egos.
For example, always do it at the same time and preferably in the same place (to create a kind of protocol), and explain what you feel and have observed in the most transparent and descriptive way possible, i.e., not to generate emotional reactions in the other (which could lead to accusations and reproaches), but to let him/her know what we feel.
6. Development of task-sharing skills
These activities so typical of couple therapy have a part of practice of negotiation skills, and another part of use of Emotional Intelligence principles, so as to be consistent with the following idea: clashes of interests do not equal conflicts..
Through effective task sharing routines, a balance is achieved between the two partners, so that no one person is more privileged or benefits more than the other. This is especially important for couples with children.
Are you interested in going to couples therapy?
If you are considering seeking the help of a psychology center to strengthen your emotional bond or overcome a dating or marriage crisis, please contact us. At Avance Psychologists we have two decades of professional experience helping all kinds of people, and we perform both individual therapy to address the forms of discomfort that affect people separately, as well as couples therapy to work on relational problems. You can count on us in our facilities located in Madrid, or make use of the online therapy format by video call. In this page you will find more information about us.
- Atkinson, B. J. (2005). Emotional intelligence in couples therapy: Advances from neurobiology and the science of intimate relationships. W W Norton & Co.
- Buss, D. M.; Haselton, M. (2005). The Evolution of Jealousy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 9(11): pp. 506 - 507.
- Campuzo Montoya, M. (2002). Pareja humana: Su psicología, sus conflictos, su tratamiento. Mexico: AMPAG.
- Dattilio, F.M. & Padesky, C.A. (2004). Terapia Cognitiva con parejas. Bilbao: Editorial Desclée De Brouwer.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)