If you find yourself wondering how much is couples therapy and is it effective, chances are, on a subconscious level, you recognize the need for help. It is not uncommon for couples to feel stuck in their relationship. This happens when one or both partners feel unseen and unheard. A sense of aloofness begins to creep into the relationship.
When you’re in a long-term relationship, a few tumultuous twists and turns along the way are to be expected. Sometimes the swerve from the happy, content connection is minor and manageable, at others, it can bring you to a crossroads that can leave you second-guessing your compatibility as a couple and the future of your relationship. Infidelity, breach of trust, losing the spark, toxic patterns, abusive tendencies, poor or broken down communication or simply feeling that you’ve drifted apart are some of the reasons that can brew trouble in paradise.
In such situations, romantic partners often find it hard to bridge the ever-widening chasm between them, even if they earnestly desire to make the relationship work. It is in these circumstances that an experienced and trained professional can prove to be the catalyst you need to salvage your bond. Thanks to the growing access to affordable couples counseling, which in most cases you can even avail of from the comfort of your homes, seeking help has become easier than ever before.
What Is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that focuses on partners in romantic relationships. Typically, a licensed therapist works with a couple, helping them work through their differences, gain insight into their equation and improve the health of the relationship using a wide array of techniques.
The kind of interventions involved varies, depending on the problem at hand as well as the therapist’s approach. However, a few general elements remain universal to the concept:
- Getting to the root of the issues: Uncovering the underlying triggers for your relationship issues and focusing on a core problem. This can be anything ranging from infidelity to poor sex life, jealousy, addictions, trust issues, and so on
- Establishing objectives: A therapist can help you establish objectives early on. Not all couples therapy is focused at helping couples work through their differences and stay together. You can also seek help to find ways to end a relationship in a healthy manner or set boundaries for co-parenting after a divorce, in case there are children involved
- Solution-centric: Working with a couples counselor gives you a solution-focused approach. Instead of going around in circles of blame game, you learn to find a direction to move forward in
- Change in dynamics: Interventions from the beginning of the couples counseling process with an aim to bring about change in relationship dynamics
- Safe space: The focus here is on addressing the relationship issues and not ‘fixing’ the individuals in it. It’s a safe space where you can voice your concerns and problems without the fear of judgment
- Expert insights: Active participation from the therapist in the form of insights, interjections, exercises, and suggestions
The process begins with an interview that comprises standard questions about your relationship history as well as the family and cultural background, values, and beliefs of each partner. This allows a therapist to make sense of the root cause of the relationship issue. If necessary, they may even resort to crisis intervention from the first few sessions.
Related Reading: 9 Proven Benefits Of Counseling – Don’t Suffer In Silence
How does a therapist approach couples counselling?
Based on these insights and parameters, a therapist will create a structured plan for treatment. Throughout the treatment, the therapist will gradually draw your attention to dysfunctional elements of the relationship and each partner’s role in it. This sets the foundation for revamping perceptions vis-à-vis the relationship and each other.
While gaining insights is an important part of the process, the real goal of couples therapy is to effect change. That is also its biggest challenge. A skilled counselor can make this happen over time, by transferring their skills onto a couple’s day-to-day interactions without invading their private space.
A majority of couples report an improvement in the quality of their relationship after undergoing therapy. It enables them to spot troubling patterns, navigate them, and communicate better to express emotions and solve problems. A study indicates that nearly 50% of couples have improved and more satisfying relationships for up to 4 years after undergoing counseling. Another 10 to 20% of couples find a way to co-exist even if they’re unhappy.
Going into couples therapy is no reflection on the state or future of your relationship. It does not mean that you’ve failed as a couple or that your relationship is doomed. Instead, it serves as a means to help romantic partners work through the problematic areas of their relationship that they may not be equipped to handle on their own.
For instance, not many people are aware that our attachment styles as adults are governed by our childhood experiences and formative interactions with our parents. Yes, how you were raised affects your relationships. So, the issues you and your partner may be dealing with could be a sum of your individual baggage from your childhood. Self-awareness about why you or your partner reacts to situations the way you do can help you approach your differences with greater empathy.
That’s exactly the kind of insight a couples counselor can help you achieve. So, don’t suffer in silence, avail of the affordable online couples counseling avenues to strengthen your bond.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
7 Types Of Counseling Available
There is no set formula for couples counseling. A therapist often takes a call on the treatment pattern on a case-by-case basis. Following are the types of counseling available to couples working through their differences, and a therapist may use any one or a combination of these:
1. Couples therapy
Here both partners attend the counseling sessions together. Both partners voice their perspectives on the relationships issues and hear each other out. The counselor injects where necessary. These sessions are followed up with home-based assignments and exercises aimed at fostering better communication and conflict resolution capabilities.
2. Individual therapy
In some cases, couples therapy may also include individual therapy sessions. This is done when a therapist feels either one or both partners lacks the necessary communication skills to convey their point to the other. The therapist then talks to both partners individually in a bid to understand their points of view, and then acts as a neutral party to help the couple get over their communication barriers.
3. Family therapy
Family therapy comes into play when relationship issues extend beyond just the couple. Often, relationship issues can be a projection of one’s unresolved issues with one’s family or growing up in a dysfunctional family setup. As a therapist uncovers these underlying issues, they may ask the concerned family members to get involved in the counseling process to address the root cause of the trouble.
4. Premarital counseling
Couples counseling isn’t just meant for partners or spouses grappling with issues in their relationship. It can also be a vital tool to equip people at the threshold of marriage or a long-term committed relationship to prevent conflict by learning the right communication techniques. That’s where premarital counseling comes into play.
Here principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy are used to help couples interact positively with their partners. The goal is to equip a couple with the right coping strategies and skills for critical decision-making to tide through the myriad ups and downs of life.
5. Art therapy
Art therapy enables personal growth. It is a creative extension to the mainstream process of therapy. The key purpose of this therapy technique is stress release. Colors, shapes, lines and textures are used as tools of expression in conjunction with routine therapy sessions.
This technique proves especially helpful in dealing with issues such as infidelity, parenting, behavioral problems and so on. Your artistic skill has no bearing on the outcome of this form of therapy.
6. Exposure therapy
This is also a cognitive-behavioral technique used to bring out the fears of both partners that unwittingly contribute to anxiety, stress, poor communication, and decision making. All of these negative forces can damage the fabric of a relationship. So the objective here is to eliminate them over time.
In exposure therapy, potential stressors are first identified and then introduced in a controlled environment.
Since the affected person is in control of the circumstances, it enables them to become immune to these stressors. This type of counseling is a good fit for people with intimacy concerns, dysfunctional family structures, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
7. Acceptance and commitment therapy
The objective of this form of therapy is simple – accepting your present circumstances and committing to making positive changes to improve the quality of life. Strategies from cognitive behavioral therapy are used to give the affected person a new perspective of their relationship as well as their personal circumstances. Through this practice, couples learn new ways of looking at their life situation and become better equipped to handle their problems in the future.
Related Reading: 15 Signs Your Marriage Is On The Rocks And Almost Over
Who Needs Couples Counseling?
Every relationship has its share of rough patches. Then, how do you decide whether it is time to seek couples therapy? Considering seeking professional help to heal your relationship can seem like a big step, mainly because it means acknowledging that there are problems beyond your control.
This is also one of the reasons why a lot of couples keep putting off counseling until it’s too late. If you’re unsure about whether you’ve reached that point where your issues cannot be addressed just by the two of you, learning who needs couples counseling will bring you some clarity.
Factors that determine the need for couples counseling
Here is a lowdown on instances where you must not put off seeking help:
- Trust issues: There are trust issues in the relationship. In most cases, this can be traced back to a history of infidelity – emotional or sexual. A partner’s compulsive tendency to lie can also be to blame. Or a lack of transparency about money leading to financial troubles could be a factor
- Ineffective conflict resolution: Your arguments are becoming more frequent and severe. As a result, you and your partner feel like you’re walking on eggshells around each other
- Poor communication: If you or your partner constantly feels ignored, misunderstood, or simply, unheard in the relationship, it points to a serious communication gap. Poor communication can lead to a host of issues in a relationship
- Feeling disconnected: You live with a nagging feeling that something is amiss in your relationship, yet can’t put a finger on it. Couples therapy can help you identify underlying issues or dysfunctional issues in a relationship and work on resolving them
- Secrets: You have a secret to share but you don’t know how to come clean to your partner. In this case, couples counseling can offer the necessary support you need to get it off your chest. The secret can be anything from cheating to something you haven’t told your partner about your past
- Dysfunctionality: If one or both partners start displaying dysfunctional tendencies during a conflict, then therapy is definitely worth considering. From silent treatment to lashing out, passive-aggressive tendencies and vengeful behavior, there are a lot of red flags that signal to dysfunctional ways of handling conflict
How is it done?
The traditional ways of couples counseling have undergone a transformation, thanks to technological advancements and the growing reach of the internet. Today, you can access low-cost marriage counseling or couples therapy without even having to step foot in a counselor’s office. Therapy sessions are done in two popular ways:
- Face-to-face counseling sessions: This is the good old-fashioned approach to counseling. You find a licensed therapist in your vicinity, based on whether their expertise is in line with your requirements. Book a session, and attend scheduled therapy sessions with your significant other in person.
- Online counseling sessions: A virtual extension of the traditional therapy approach, affordable online couples counseling allows you to seek professional help without venturing out of your home. You can seek therapists online, and work with them via video calls, texts, chats or emails, depending on the platform they’re using.
This form of couples therapy is gaining momentum, as it offers you the cloak of anonymity and facilitates seeking the necessary help without the fear of stigma or prejudice – a factor that holds many a couple back from taking the leap into counseling. At Bonobology, we have a panel of certified consulting therapists and counselors who can help you deal with your relationship issues in a healthier and more coherent way. Don’t suffer in silence, help is only a click away.
How Much is Couples Therapy?
How expensive is couples therapy? If you’ve pondered over this question and stopped yourself short of seeking the necessary help due to a lack of affordable couples counseling avenues, know that you’re not alone. Economics are a huge governing factor in determining a couple’s decision to seek counseling.
With mortgages, debts, savings, and household expenditure to take care of, it is only natural for people to consider how much is couples therapy when deciding whether to seek help or not. Let’s address the cost variables, keeping in mind that couples therapy can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more:
How much does couples therapy typically cost?
In the US, most licensed therapists charge anywhere between $100-200 an hour for their sessions. Since couples counseling sessions typically last 90 minutes, each session will cost you in the range of $150-300. In India, the average cost for in-person couples counseling can be in the range of INR 2,000 to 7,000 per session.
However, these figures may vary depending on your location. Besides, the expertise and experience level of the counselor you choose also governs the cost. The complexity of problems also plays a role in determining the cost of therapy.
For instance, a couple may remain in therapy longer than the standard 10-12 weeks period if there are deep-seated chronic issues at play. Or you may need to work with therapists with special skills and training if there are mental health issues involved. This translates to a higher fee.
Besides, the city you live in also governs how much is couples therapy going to cost you. In the US, the cost per session can be 50 to 100% more in bigger cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Similarly, in smaller towns, therapists with similar qualifications and skill-sets may charge significantly less. You can avail a 90-minute session for around $100 or less.
In India, however, the dynamics are reversed. Owing to a paucity of skilled and licensed therapists in most tier II and III cities in the country, seeking couples therapy can be costlier for couples living outside of metros and cosmopolitan cities. Besides, couples therapy is considered taboo in many such places, owing to which there may not be any skilled therapists practicing in smaller cities and towns. So, if a couple needs counseling, they may have to travel outside their city to find a licensed therapist equipped to deal with their issues.
While this remains true of in-person couples therapy, it doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of the right help. With affordable online couples counseling on the rise, you can go into therapy virtually. There is a whole spectrum of highly trained therapists today, whom you can reach out to help online and begin counseling over video calls, phone calls or even chats. If you’re looking for affordable couples counseling avenues, our panel of licensed therapists is here for you.
Experience also plays a role. A licensed therapist with an established practice will certainly charge you more than one working for licensure under supervision. However, a cut in cost, in this case, comes with less experience.
How long is the session?
As mentioned before, as a standard practice, most therapists working with couples prefer to keep their sessions 90 minutes long. This accords enough time to hear both sides of the story, diagnose the core issues, offer suggestions, and conduct workshops or exercises to help you navigate through your problems more effectively.
How many sessions does one need to take?
You will most definitely need more than one session to make progress with the help of couples counseling. How many sessions one needs to take is determined by the therapist, depending on the complexity of issues. Generally, you need to attend a weekly session for at least three months – that’s 12 weeks of therapy – to see some real progress.
This amounts to anywhere between $2,400 – 4,800. In India, the corresponding amount translates to anywhere in the range of INR 24,000 to 84,000 for in-person couples therapy. If you’ve wondered how expensive is couples therapy, these figures would reiterate your perception that it is exorbitant. However, these figures strictly correspond to the traditional approach to couples therapy.
The rise of low-cost marriage counseling or couples therapy avenues in the present times presents a more financially viable way to seek necessary help. For instance, affordable online couples counseling services prove to be way more cost-effective. Bonobology offers 60-min therapy sessions with trained and certified therapists in the range of $15 to 40. You can review our panel of consulting experts, here.
Is couples counseling covered by insurance?
Unfortunately, no. A majority of insurance companies do not cover couples therapy unless deemed as a medical necessity. For example, in case one of the partners suffers from a diagnosed mental disorder such as PTSD, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorder.
Even if you can find health insurance that covers couples counseling, it may not be the most advisable course of action. For one, insurance providers make it mandatory for therapists to give a diagnosis. This remains on your health record permanently. Secondly, using insurance cover for counseling limits your choices drastically. Insurance companies regulate the therapists as well as the type of session covered by health insurance.
The better alternative is to look for a therapist who offers sliding scale fees. In this model, household income and recurring expenditure are factored in to determine the per-session rate. It allows you to access the right care and support without breaking the bank if you choose in-person therapy sessions.
How often should you go to couples counseling?
If you’re determined to save your relationship and resolve your differences, you should keep going back to therapy. Keep at it until your therapist feels that you’re well-equipped to go it alone. It is most vital to stick to your commitment when you feel like you’re not making any real progress, despite being in therapy. Even more so, at the initial stages. Working at issues that may have become chronic takes time, patience, and perseverance.
Is couples therapy worth it?
There’s no denying that couples therapy can prove to be quite an investment in the long run. This often raises the question – is couples therapy worth it? Given that it proves effective in saving the relationship in 50% of the cases, makes it worth a try. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, counseling proves effective in improving relationship satisfaction in nearly 75% of cases.
How expensive is couples therapy? Well, these odds make couples therapy a priceless proposition. Especially in comparison to the ordeal of separation, divorce, and a broken home. Judging by the emotional or the monetary toll that dissolution of a relationship takes on people, couples’ therapy is any day a preferable investment of your time, money, and effort.
However, counseling does not guarantee a restored relationship 100% of the time. In some cases, therapy makes couples realize that their differences are irreconcilable, making them choose to end the relationship. If you’re caught in a toxic equation with your partner, this may prove to be a blessing in disguise in the long run. Even if this wasn’t the outcome you had hoped for.