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Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling in Chicago

At Clarity Clinic, our couples therapy and marriage counseling services offer a nurturing environment where couples can explore, heal, and grow together. With the guidance of our experienced therapists, you and your partner can enhance your communication, deepen your intimacy, and revive the joy that brought you together.
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What is Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy or marriage counseling is a type of psychotherapy that helps those involved in a romantic relationship gain insight into their interactions, identify negative communication styles, resolve conflict, and find strategies and tools to improve and strengthen the relationship.

Many factors can add stress to a relationship including becoming new parents, infidelity, sexual dissatisfaction, and financial issues, among others. Additionally, untreated personal issues like anxiety, depression, or anger management problems can increase strain on a relationship. Our experienced marriage and family therapists are here to support couples in addressing these challenges, fostering a healthier, more fulfilling partnership.

The Benefits of Marriage Counseling and Couples Therapy

Our couples therapy sessions offer a safe and supportive space where couples can engage openly with a skilled marriage and family therapist. These sessions are designed to help couples identify and understand behavior and communication patterns that negatively affect their relationship and family dynamics.

The primary aim of both marriage and couples counseling is to address and resolve conflicts and maladaptive behavior patterns that prevent a healthy development of the relationship. Our therapists provide insight into these patterns and identify strategies for changing behavior and communication.

Here are a few of the benefits marriage counseling and couples therapy can offer:

  • Discover Strengths and Growth Opportunities: Identify and leverage areas where your relationship thrives, and address where it may need nurturing.
  • Enhance Communication Skills: Learn effective ways to communicate clearly and empathetically to strengthen your connection.
  • Manage Major Stressors: Develop strategies to handle big life changes and daily stresses that impact your relationship.
  • Resolve Conflicts: Gain tools to address disagreements constructively, without damaging ties.
  • Foster a Balanced Relationship: Work towards a more equitable and satisfying partnership where both partners feel valued.
  • Examine Family Backgrounds: Understand how each partner’s family history influences your relationship dynamics.
  • Navigate Financial Planning: Collaboratively discuss and plan your financial future, including budgeting and financial goals.
  • Set Personal and Family Goals: Define and agree on individual, couple, and family aspirations to pursue together.
  • Appreciate Personality Differences: Recognize and value each other’s unique traits, enhancing mutual understanding and acceptance.

Types of Couples Therapy

At Clarity Clinic, our expert therapists utilize a variety of evidence-based approaches tailored to meet the unique needs of each couple. Some of the treatment strategies we use include:

  • The Gottman Method
  • Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS)

The Gottman Method

The Gottman Method focuses on disarming conflicting verbal communication, increasing intimacy, respect, and affection, removing barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and creating a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.

This therapy was developed after researching more than 3,000 couples where Drs. John and Julie Gottman determined that the most successful relationships involve a strong friendship, conflict management skills, and support for the other partner’s hopes for the future.

The Gottman process includes the completion of an online assessment which is scored and reviewed by our therapist. This assessment is then used to develop a treatment plan to meet the specific needs of each couple. The assessment and associated treatment plan address:

  • Friendship and Intimacy: relationship satisfaction, romance, admiration, emotional disengagement, breakup proneness
  • The Safety Scales: trust, chaos, commitment, and emotional philosophies
  • The Conflict Scales: stress, relationship harshness, and conflict management tactics
  • The Shared Meaning System: shared rituals, values, and goals in a relationship
  • Individual Areas of Concern: individual risks, safety, sex, depression, drug and alcohol use, domestic violence, anxiety, and other psychological or psychiatric issues requiring attention
  • Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy

EFT is a structured method that addresses relationship distress by focusing on two main areas: how partners handle their emotional experiences and the interaction patterns that result from these emotions. This approach has been proven to help decrease, eliminate, and prevent couple conflict and distress by helping partners to create a secure bond.

With 20 years of outcome and process research to draw upon, Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy allows couples to attain a happy and fulfilling relationship.

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS)

Internal family systems are one of the most widely used modalities in treating couples and relationships. IFS will explore the patterns and parts of the family system. During this process, there will be a focus on motivations and conflicts within each person, and how to resolve these conflicts as a couple.

Is Couples Therapy Right for You?

The choice to begin couples counseling is a significant one that reflects strength and a determination to grow together. This path is best suited for couples who are willing to invest time and emotional energy into understanding and improving their relationship dynamics. If you find yourselves stuck in recurring conflicts, feeling distant, or struggling to communicate effectively, counseling at Clarity Clinic could be the transformative step you need.

However, it's important to approach therapy with realistic expectations. Couples therapy or marriage counseling is not a quick fix; it requires both partners to actively participate, engage in honest self-reflection, and commit to ongoing personal and relational development.

Each partner must be prepared to explore how their actions affect the relationship and be open to making changes. If both of you are ready to work collaboratively towards a healthier, more fulfilling relationship, and you're open to the challenges and revelations that therapy can bring, then couples therapy could be an excellent choice for you.

What to Expect From Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a journey of self-discovery and mutual understanding aimed at identifying and addressing patterns of behavior and communication that strain the relationship. It requires time, self-reflection, and empathy toward your partner to be effective.

  • Initial Sessions: In the first session, therapists typically ask couples to share their relationship history and dynamics, pinpoint specific issues causing distress, and discuss the individual reasons that led them to seek therapy. Understanding each partner's background and experiences is crucial, which may involve one-on-one discussions with the therapist to gain deeper insights.
  • Therapy Goals and Communication: Family therapists also focus on observing how partners communicate and react to each other. The couple's goals for therapy are discussed to tailor the approach accordingly.
  • Process of Change: Participants should understand that therapy involves a gradual process of change. Long-standing behavioral patterns and impulsive reactions take time to modify. Couples are encouraged to actively engage in therapy by recognizing these patterns and applying new strategies both during and outside of sessions to foster meaningful and lasting change.

Key Concepts of Couples Therapy:

  • Re-establishing Emotional Connection: Often, the emotional bond is what initially unites a couple. Therapy aims to rediscover and strengthen this foundational aspect, helping partners rebuild their emotional connection and intimacy.
  • Improving Communication: The therapist will work to identify and modify negative communication patterns. By introducing more effective communication techniques, couples can better manage conflicts and enhance their interactions.
  • Developing Mutual Understanding: Therapy fosters an appreciation for each partner’s differences, promoting respect and acceptance through empathy. This understanding is crucial for a harmonious relationship.
  • Strengthening the Family Unit: Conflicts between partners can significantly impact children and the overall family dynamics. Couples therapy not only supports the couple but also provides crucial benefits to the entire family, promoting a healthier home environment.

How to Ask Your Partner to Attend Couples Therapy

One of the more challenging aspects of couples therapy is simply making the decision to attend. Initiating the conversation with your partner or spouse about going to therapy together can provoke anxiety, often due to preconceived notions and expected reactions that add stress to the discussion. Here are some tips to help you initiate the conversation:

  • Choose the Right Moment: Find a calm, quiet time when you both are free from distractions. Avoid starting this conversation during a heated argument or stressful period.
  • Express Your Feelings Using “I” Statements: Instead of placing blame, express your own feelings and needs. For example, say, “I feel like we could benefit from some guidance to help us communicate better,” rather than, “You don’t listen to me.”
  • Focus on Common Goals: Emphasize the positive outcomes you hope to achieve together, such as improving communication, deepening your connection, or resolving specific issues that affect both of you.
  • Be Clear About Your Motivations: Let your partner know that your suggestion to seek therapy comes from a place of love and a desire to strengthen your relationship, not from criticism or dissatisfaction.
  • Reassure Your Partner: Acknowledge that therapy involves effort and vulnerability and that you’re committed to going through this process together. Stress that the goal is to improve the relationship, which benefits both partners.
  • Listen to Their Concerns: Be open to hearing your partner’s thoughts and feelings about attending couples therapy. They may have fears or misconceptions that you can address together.
  • Offer to Take the Lead: Let your partner know you’re willing to handle logistics, like researching potential therapists and scheduling appointments, to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Therapy After Divorce or Separation

Many clients wonder if it’s worthwhile to seek or continue couples therapy after agreeing to a separation or divorce. Separation and divorce inevitably bring pain, grief, and loss, affecting not only the partners but the entire family. Therapy can be a valuable resource during this challenging time, helping couples and families navigate the complexities of separation and divorce.

Benefits of Divorce Counseling

  • Determining if Separation is Right for Your Relationship: Unfortunately, many times couples seek therapy at the very end of their relationship when one or both partners have one foot out the door. However, couples therapy during this stage of the relationship can help partners determine if they are willing to work towards reconciliation or accept that separation and/or divorce is the best option.
  • Enhancing Post-Separation Communication Skills: For couples with shared responsibilities such as children, property, or pets, effective communication remains crucial even after separation. Therapy can assist in transitioning the relationship into a new form, helping both parties develop communication skills that foster neutrality and respect for future interactions.
  • Navigating Family Dynamics During Separation: The emotional impact of separation or divorce extends to children and other family members, often causing grief, loss, and confusion. Divorce therapy offers strategies for communicating the situation to children sensitively and effectively. It also provides tools for co-parenting that keep the children's well-being at the forefront, helping parents manage their own emotions while attending to those of their children.

In addition to divorce therapy, family therapy is recommended after separation and divorce to help children and other family members process the change and help them navigate their feelings during a stage of uncertainty and confusion.

The Best Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling Near You!

Clarity Clinic is the best mental health clinic in Chicago, we pride ourselves on providing top-tier couples and marriage counseling services that stand out above the rest. Our team of experienced therapists is deeply committed to offering compassionate, confidential, and effective support tailored to the unique needs of each couple. No matter your age, marital status, or sexual orientation, our licensed couples therapists will tailor treatment to you and your partner’s needs.

Whether you're looking to enhance communication, resolve deep-seated conflicts, or simply strengthen your partnership, our marriage and family therapists are here to guide you every step of the way.

Book a consultation with us today and see why we are considered the best choice for couples therapy and marriage counseling in your area. Additionally, we also provide the best divorce counseling in Chicago, for people who are looking for a proactive and positive way to part from their relationship amicably. Let us help you build a more fulfilling and joyful relationship.

Visit one of our clinics in the Loop, River North, Lakeview Belmont, Lakeview Broadway, Arlington Heights, and Evanston to find the top therapist near you today!

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