“There are more than 900,000 divorces in the United States of America each year, fewer than 10% ever talk to anybody about their relationship.” ~ Dr. John Gottman
Making the decision to go to couples therapy is rarely easy. Once you and your partner have committed to seeking help through working with a marriage counsellor or couples therapist, you want to make sure you are in good hands. At One Life Counselling & Coaching, we have built this quick guide to help you feel confident in selecting a therapist and investing in the right process for you.
There are many Calgary psychologists and therapists to choose from, and depending on your needs, you want to make sure you have chosen someone that specializes in supporting your specific situation. Psychologists and psychotherapists often specialize in different methods or approaches to therapy after they graduate.
If you are weighing your options, it is always a good idea to inquire if the therapist has completed specific training in couples therapy and marriage counselling outside of their formal university degree.
Below we provide short descriptions of some of the most well known and evidence-based couples training for psychologists in Calgary who specialize in couples counselling. To give you and your partner the best shot at improving your situation, you will want to seek out a psychologist or psychotherapist with one or more of these trainings.
The Gottman Method is an approach to couples therapy that uses assessment tools, skill-based research and theories that help couples learn how to communicate with greater ease and connection. Gottman couples counselling has been researched for over 40 years now and has a very specific method for helping repair connections and learn to communicate effectively.
The Gottman Method is a very skills based approach to marriage counselling and effective at helping couples have more meaningful dialogue to enhance their ability to connect, communicate, and build intimacy with one another.
When dealing with conflict, a Gottman therapist will help each of you to identify the specific negative behaviors (ie. criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stone-walling) you present that get in the way of managing relationship problems in a healthy way . Conflict is inevitable - all couples fight to one degree or another, but what sets apart the relationships that last from those that don’t is learning how to manage our problems in a healthy way (ie. taking responsibility, building a culture of appreciation, etc.).
Explore the Gottman Institute describing their process and approach you can expect a Gottman Method trained couples therapist to take in working with you and your partner.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), created by Dr. Sue Johnson, is also rooted in years of research focused on our attachment styles, or ways of relating and behaving in relationship (ie. secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant). This therapy approach uses a well researched method of helping couples to communicate and connect more effectively.
Marriage counselling with a EFT trained therapist means you will be learning through a very hands on approach how to de-escalate conflict, share your needs and wants in a more effective way, and learning how to deeply connect in your communication style.
Watch a short video clip of an EFT therapy session with Sue Johnson to see what working with an EFT therapist might look and feel like.
Getting the Love You Want is a classic couples therapy book by Imago Relationship Therapy developers Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt co-authored on helping couples reconnect and gain deeper understanding of their reactions, behaviors and responses to one another. Imago is an approach that works with unhealed wounds from your and your partners’ pasts and focuses on deeply seeing and hearing each other.
We come into relationships as great teachers for one another and Imago is a great approach for focusing on how to re-frame our perceptions for seeing our negative responses as learning opportunities to grow and respond differently in the future.
Watch a short video clip where Oprah provides a brief overview of Imago Therapy and how powerful of a healing journey it can be for couples.
Author and therapist Terry Real developed a powerful approach to couples therapy from the work of Pia Melody that focuses on helping couples take responsibility for their behaviors that get in the way of their communication styles.
The premise of this approach is focused on having a couple lean into their agreement of how they will show up in future situations and take an empowering stance with each partner owning their unconscious habits and taking responsibility for their actions.
This approach examines traditional masculinity and the dissatisfaction it can create for partners seeking deep emotional connection. A therapist trained in Relational Life Couples Therapy often helps one partner to be seen and heard, while supporting the other to feel appreciated and desired. It is particularly effective in relationship scenarios with a narcissistic partner or individual therapy for grandiose men wanting to work on themselves to better connect with others (partners, children, co-workers, friends, etc.).
Sound interesting? Read a blog written by Terry Real about Relational Couples Therapy, particularly in working with what he terms “difficult men.”
If you like this approach, check out our couples counsellor Ken Fierheller.
Taking the step towards improving your relationship is a courageous and worthwhile investment for both of you. We hope you found the brief descriptions above on different approaches to couples therapy helpful when deciding on which psychologist or psychotherapist in Calgary to work with to get your relationship to a thriving state again.
At One Life Counselling & Coaching, each of our team members (psychologists and psychotherapists) have taken formal training to specialize in couples counselling. We would be happy to assist you in finding the right fit for your specific situation.