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The Power of Proactivity: How Couple Therapy Can Save Bonds

Couple smiling and holding a cup while doing therapy session
How Couple Therapy Can Save Bonds

The beginning of your relationship seemed like it was straight out of a fairytale. You found someone who loves you for who you are, someone who knows you like the back of their hand. Everything fell into place—and you couldn’t believe that what was once a pipe dream finally happened to you.

But in just a blink of an eye, you’re slowly drifting away from each other. You’ve hit a bump in the road, and you spend your nights asking yourself the same question all over again: ‘Should we break up?’

According to Dr. Gottam, it takes six years before a couple seeks couple therapy partly because of shame. A lot of couples falsely assume that if they can’t work through their issues on their own, then something is inherently wrong with their relationship.

This is why some couples rarely make it out of the tunnel, letting wounds fester instead of actively facing issues together.

So, in situations like this, how can couple therapy in Singapore help you and your partner patch up and reignite the spark? What are the benefits of this kind of counselling? And what are the telltale signs that say it’s time to seek the guidance of a licensed counsellor?

Let’s talk about them in detail below.

Getting Started: What Is Couple Therapy?

Also known as couples counselling, couple therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps partners in committed relationships attain a deeper understanding of their connection. You clear disagreements, misunderstandings, and negative feelings through the guidance of an unbiased professional called a couples counsellor.

During your sessions, they will mediate conflict, give neutral feedback and monitor progress, among other things.

It’s not about finding fault, unleashing your rage, or pointing fingers at each other. This type of therapy will equip you and your partner with new ideas, perspectives, and a healthy amount of compassion that can deepen your understanding of one another.

In a nutshell, couple therapy is where you learn how to be better partners.

However, it can be hard to get past the stigma of considering couple therapy due to harmful misconceptions. Some couples experience guilt and shame when they realize couple therapy is where they’re heading.

They think they aren’t good at communication. Worse, they tell themselves that none of this would happen if they only truly love each other. None of these things is true.

When you’re a couple, it’s normal to face conflicts. You didn’t grow up in the same environment; you were raised differently, resulting in differing beliefs about many things. That’s why you’re bound to argue and misunderstand each other. What matters is what you do when you’re knee-deep in conflict and how you choose to move forward.

This is what couple therapy is for.

Types of Couple Therapy Techniques You Should Know

There are different approaches and techniques to couple therapy, and choosing the right one for your relationship entirely depends on your goals. This includes the following:

Gottman Method

Created by husband and wife psychologists John Gottman and Julie Gottman, the Gottman method aims to equip couples with problem-solving skills and empathy. Through this method, you can identify the Four Horsemen in your conflicts which typically include criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Moreover, it involves areas of conflict like learning about each other’s triggers, discovering shared values, and sharing relationship histories.

Couples who opt for the Gottman method typically start their sessions with an assessment tool. It’s a comprehensive questionnaire that covers five categories:

  • Friendship and Intimacy

  • The Safety Scales

  • The Conflict Scales

  • The Shared Meaning System

  • Individual Areas of Concern

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) was developed back in the 1980s—a technique revolving around the belief that emotions are linked to identity.

When applied to couple therapy, EFT encourages couples to share problematic moments in the relationship. They will then identify and make sense of the emotions that further intensify specific issues and feelings of disconnection.

It usually lasts between eight to 20 sessions, where the therapist focuses on destructive patterns and the attachment styles of couples. This technique is especially helpful for treating couples where one suffers from addiction, depression, PTSD, and other conditions.

Narrative Therapy

The premise behind narrative therapy is that the stories you and your partner tell yourselves shape the behaviour you show towards one another. This is where you will slowly reconstruct negative narratives that potentially sabotage or harm your relationship dynamic.

Narrative therapists will guide you through writing healthier narratives that embrace the needs of each partner while nurturing intimacy. In most cases, it can help a person get rid of the mindset that they deserve a failing relationship because they are a failure themself.

Reflective Listening

If you want to improve your communication skills, reflective listening might just be the perfect solution for you. It’s a type of couple therapy that helps you hone the skill of deliberately listening to your partner to truly understand where they are coming from.

Each of you will take turns being an active listener and allow your partner to speak freely. Every time you express what you feel, you will try rephrasing your statements using ‘I’ instead of ‘you’. For a conversation to be productive and less stressful, you stop yourself from being accusatory.

The easiest way to practice reflective listening is to see a couples counsellor. The session will be structured in a way that keeps you or your partner from lashing out at each other and storming out.

Your therapist can also be on the lookout for passive-aggressive behaviour, which can just fuel confusion and conflict.

Other types of couple therapy techniques also include Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT), solution-focused therapy, and Imago relationship therapy, among others.

Benefits of Couple Therapy: Why You Should Seek One

It’s completely natural to feel anxious about the idea of seeking couple therapy. Revealing the details of your relationship to a stranger can feel terrifying, especially when you can’t imagine sharing these issues with your friends and family.

It can also feel like a sign that your relationship is coming to an end. Why else would you feel the need to sit in front of a therapist if everything is right on track?

Contrary to popular belief, couple therapy can actually be a sign of strength. It shows that you’re strong and mature enough to face the problems being thrown at your relationship with the help of the right therapist.

To help you redefine your perspective on couple therapy, let’s talk about its benefits:

Creates a Safe Space

One of the most important benefits of couple therapy is that it provides a safe space where you can truly navigate conflict.

Since your therapist will serve as a neutral third party without loyalties to either side, you are guaranteed that they’re not taking sides. Both of you are welcome to express whatever you’re feeling or thinking solely for the sake of making yourself understood.

Understandably, this can be hard to achieve. The fear of hurting your partner often overrides your desire to say what’s going on in your mind. But with a safe environment, a therapist can help you set boundaries and intervene when necessary.

Restore Trust

Oftentimes, couples seek counselling because trust has been breached. Trust issues can stem from financial problems, lack of honesty, and infidelity, to name a few.

Through couples counselling, you can freely express that the trust has been lost in the relationship, discuss how it was broken and explore the possibility of forgiveness. This is where you also set new boundaries and stand by them to start the healing process.

We understand that building back trust can feel overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. With the help of a trained counsellor, you can regain trust and find ways to move forward.

Deepen Intimacy and Connection

Lots of couples have complained that they’re starting to lose the spark—otherwise known as chemistry. Some of them chalk it up to the fact that they’ve been together for years, and their evolved differences no longer fit into the picture.

You think that this is typically how long-term relationships go, so you shrug it off even if it’s obviously taking a toll on your intimacy.

This is where couples therapy comes into play. It will help you understand that the connection you both miss isn’t permanently gone. When you constantly put in the effort to focus on each other’s wants and needs, intimacy often follows naturally.

The simple act of showing up in counselling sessions can bring back that passion you both felt the first time you met. That’s because you can both show each other that you’re willing to give your relationship undivided attention.

You Learn Tools and Methods

A great couples counsellor knows that couple therapy isn’t just limited to the four corners of their office. Their job doesn’t just revolve around the duty of moderating and facilitating conversations. They also equip you with the tools you need to improve your relationship even without the presence of a therapist.

For instance, before a session ends, they may assign homework that lets you identify things your partner does to make you happy. It can help you reinforce these positive interactions and show gratitude.

In the long run, whatever method they provide is necessary to help you achieve a better relationship.

Understand Each Other’s Perspectives

When you’re too invested in the stories that you tell yourself, you often assume that everyone is out to get you. This mentality can make it harder for you to understand your partner’s perspectives since you interpret everything through your own lens.

Yes, your feelings matter. You aren’t being delusional or selfish. It’s only natural that you have a deeper understanding of your own perspective than everyone else’s.

However, it can only exacerbate arguments if you don’t try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes, especially during arguments. A therapist can guide you in objectively looking at both sides of an argument to avoid misunderstandings.

For example, while your partner may not be completely right about something, you might realize that you aren’t, either. You’ll slowly grasp nuances, which often go over one’s head in the heat of an argument.

Telltale Signs You and Your Partner Need Couple Therapy

Now that you know what couple therapy is and the benefits that come with it, you might start wondering if you should seek one. When is it truly appropriate or necessary?

Here are some telltale signs you should watch out for:

You Both Lie And Keep Secrets

While you should always strive for total honesty in your relationship, there are some situations where white lies are acceptable. For instance, if your partner asks you if they already look old, you can tell them that they haven’t aged a day since the moment you met.

But when you lie about the big things, it signals the start of a larger problem in the relationship.

Of course, you have the right to your privacy, but keeping secrets that can potentially breach the trust in your relationship is disastrous. This includes maintaining affairs and secretly spending joint finances, among other things.

You’re Welcoming a New Phase In Your Life

Whether you’re having a baby, getting married, or accepting a new job three cities away, welcoming a new phase in your life can be stressful. These life milestones, no matter how positive they may seem, are challenging to adapt to and can put a strain on your day-to-day interactions.

Learning how to navigate changes in your life together without putting your relationship on the line is important. And during couple therapy, you can discover effective techniques that’ll help you and your partner slowly settle into a new life.

You Have The Same Argument Over And Over Again

One of the most common signs that you both need couple therapy is if you have the same argument over and over again with no resolution. Even if you’ve expressed that you’ve forgiven each other, you still circle back to the same conflict to no avail.

It’s a perfect opportunity to invite an objective third party into your argument to help you reframe how you look at a certain situation. That way, the therapist can help you address and solve the roadblock before it becomes a dead-end.

One Of You Is Considering Having An Affair

The mere thought of having an affair says a lot about the status of your relationship—you’re craving for something your partner can’t provide. Whether you want someone to meet your physical or emotional needs, you spend half the time fantasizing about what it’s like to be with someone else.

If you feel tempted to cross that line, it’s better to talk to your partner about couples therapy than go through with an affair. With professional help, you can identify issues together and the changes you need to make to dodge infidelity.

You Want Different Things

Have you remembered the first few years of your relationship? Perhaps you have talked about wanting kids, getting married, and moving abroad to raise a family.

But as years went by, you find yourselves disagreeing on the things you once agreed on. One of you doesn’t want marriage anymore, and the thought of raising kids doesn’t go hand in hand with your personal goals.

This is why it’s important to remind yourself that discussing personal values and goals isn’t just exclusive to the first date. It’s an ongoing process. Remember that you grow as people and your priorities are bound to change with time.

You might find yourself in a position where you and your partner have less in common, which can be a bit heartbreaking.

Getting a therapist’s perspective can help you understand if your goals are compatible and teach you how to find a middle ground. They will also give you honest feedback and insight into whether or not you can build a future together where both of you can thrive.

Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy

As your relationship grows and changes, it’s normal for intimacy levels to fluctuate. There are days when you feel like your romance is fizzling out, and the intimate moments you once both enjoyed don’t happen that much anymore.

If you feel frustrated about the lack of physical intimacy in your relationship, consider seeing a couples counsellor. During sessions, you will assess where this issue is coming from. Is it driven by physical or emotional factors? Are negative feelings like anger and jealousy preventing you from bringing back the physical closeness you crave?

You Want Your Relationship To Stay Healthy

Couple therapy doesn’t always have to be a last-ditch effort. Think about it this way: your relationship is like your car.

You wouldn’t wait for all the dashboard warning lights to stay on and leave you on the roadside before you do basic maintenance, right? So, why should you wait for a bomb to drop in your relationship before you put in the necessary work?

Therapy for couples will allow you to work with experienced therapists that can improve your relationship in every way possible. Even if you don’t constantly fight or face any major issues, it can strengthen your connection, commitment, and courage to make things work in the long run.

Getting Ready for the First Session: How To Prepare For Couple Therapy

If you’ve decided to get professional help to address what’s happening in your relationship, we understand that it might feel daunting at first. It won’t necessarily be an easy process, especially if you have no clue what to expect.

Fortunately, there are some effective ways to prepare for couple therapy and feel slightly less anxious before the session begins. Take a closer look at these tips:

Make Sure You’re Both Ready

No matter how great your couples counsellor is, not having the same amount of preparation and enthusiasm for couple therapy can affect its success. Keep in mind that it will only work if you’re both 100% ready to invest your time and dedication.

In most cases, the partner who proposed to seek relationship therapy is more excited and motivated, while the other may have hesitations. The therapist will then study the motivations of couples, try to put their fears at ease and understand their concerns.

However, if your partner completely refuses the prospect of therapy, listen to their concerns with an open mind. Try to help them understand the importance of seeking outside help and how it can give your relationship an honest try.

If they outright say no, respect their decision. It’s disheartening, but you can try individual counselling first where you can also discuss issues related to your relationship.

Know Your Goals

Before the session, be specific about the goals you want to achieve. Simply saying that you want your relationship to work won’t make things productive. Do you want to put an end to arguments that have been going on for years? Do you want to talk about your lack of physical intimacy? Or do you want to mend your relationship after an affair?

Make sure you discuss these things with your partner so you have shared goals. This will also help you find the right approach or technique, whether it’s the Gottman method or narrative therapy.

Clear Your Schedule

On the day of your first session, try to clear your schedule for the rest of the day. Couple therapy comes with a lot of advantages, but it can be emotionally taxing to delve into complicated issues for an hour or so.

Practice self-care once your appointment ends. Do anything that makes you happy like eating a tub of ice cream, playing video games, or reading a heartwarming book.

Final Thoughts

A huge chunk of our satisfaction and happiness comes from our capability to maintain and build healthy relationships. That’s why when conflicts in relationships arise, it can take a toll on one’s well-being, behaviour, and ability to love.

Relationships have always been complicated. You and your partner have different upbringings, conflicting beliefs, and goals that don’t always match. Even if you have the best of intentions, you’re bound to have disagreements that can either make or break the connection you’ve worked so hard to build.

This is why couple therapy can open up more honest conversations and get you back on track. From overcoming infidelity to bringing back intimacy, the tools you learn from a great couples counsellor are priceless.

Always remember, the people in your life are worth the fight. Make sure that you give your relationship the attention and love it deserves.


Can couple therapy help an unhealthy relationship?

Yes. Couple therapy, also known as couples counselling, can help you address and fix the issues plaguing your relationship. During sessions, you will get a neutral third party that can give honest advice and feedback on how you can be better partners for each other.

The technique or approach will depend on the therapist you choose and the goals you want to achieve. This includes the Gottman method, emotion-focused therapy or reflective listening, among others.

What are the benefits of couple therapy?

How do we know whether to go for couples counselling?

Build A Lasting Relationship With Life Affinity’s Couple Therapy

Here at Life Affinity Counselling, we are more than happy to help couples strengthen their bond. Through couple counselling, various programs, and exercises, our compassionate counsellors can rehabilitate your relationship and prevent issues from worsening.

Whether you’ve just been recently together or thinking of marriage preparation, you can talk to us so we can explore hand in hand how you can succeed as a couple. Book an appointment with us today—we’re ready to listen.

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