Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Couples 

Cognitive behavioral therapy helps alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma.  It can also help couples.  Cognitive behavioral treatment addresses how people think as well as how they behave.

Couples treatment that utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy helps each individual recognize distorted thought patterns.  Perhaps one partner feels frustrated that their partner works long hours and thinks, “he never spends time with me and does not care about me.”  The therapist would help evaluate those thoughts and help change them to more realistic thoughts.  This might be something like, “my partner works hard to support the family and spends time with me in the evenings and on weekends.”  Changing thought patterns can change how people feel.

Changing thought patterns can help people who feel resentment toward their partner or who feel annoyed and frustrated.  It can also help couples who are dealing with disagreements about money or children.  Changing thoughts helps people change their behaviors.

Behavioral interventions may help couples dealing with a variety of issues such as anger or addiction.  It can also help when couples face major life changes such as a child moving out of the home or retirement.  Changing behavioral patterns can also change the way people feel.

A behavioral intervention might include changing the way a couple behaves about money.  For example, a couple who argues frequently about how to spend money might benefit from treatment.  One partner spends money on clothing and knows her husband will be angry about her spending habits, so she keeps it a secret.  When her husband discovers a bag of new clothing hidden in the closet, he becomes angry and yells at her.  She then gives him the “silent treatment” for three days.  A therapist using a cognitive behavioral approach could help this couple change behavioral patterns in several ways.  Helping them to establish a budget and communicate openly about money and spending habits may be the first step.  They may also benefit from learning new ways to resolve the conflict rather than yelling and giving the “silent treatment.”

Cognitive behavioral approaches provide relief to many couples for a variety of problems.  Look for a therapist with experience treating couples.  Discuss whether or not cognitive behavioral interventions could help your situation.

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