Couples Therapy Arlington & Tyson's Corner

Therapy for Couples

“Couples who stay curious about each other, engaged in learning about their partners, open to growing together fare better long term. They’re able to adapt to changes and navigate bumps in the road with resilience.”
Gina Senarighi

Is your relationship struggling? Do you want to feel more connected to your partner?

Couples therapy can help. The purpose of couples therapy, also known as relationship or marriage counselling, is to support all couples regardless of their age, race, sexual identity, orientation, cultural or religious backgrounds at various stages of their relationship (dating, engaged, married or anywhere in between). We utilize a combination of evidence-based psychotherapy modalities to help couples build stronger and healthier relationships. Our therapists integrate strategies from the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy (GMCT), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), as well as other therapy models to provide relief for couples struggling from:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments
  • Poor or ineffective communication
  • Feeling emotionally distant, disconnected or dissatisfied
  • Decreased levels or interest in intimacy or sex
  • Infidelity (emotional or physical affairs) and/or Betrayals
  • Life transitions (changes in employment, retirement, empty nesting, geographical moves, grief/loss)
  • Questions of separation or divorce

What is the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy?

The Gottman Method is based on the knowledge and wisdom of nearly forty years of Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s research and clinical practice in the field of psychology. Their research shows that in order to create a successful long-term relationship couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes and dreams. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy (GMCT) is a skills-based therapy that helps couples achieve a deeper sense of awareness, personal understanding, empathy, and connectedness.

The Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps partners:

  • Increase respect, affection, and closeness
  • Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
  • Generate greater understanding between partners
  • Keep conflict discussions calm

What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples was founded in the 1980’s by Dr. Sue Johnson and is validated by over twenty years of research. It is based on the science of adult attachment styles and it helps partners recognize and understand the negative cycles each of us tends to get stuck in. EFT is a humanistic, experiential and collaborative therapy. It provides couples with the skills needed to identify, modify and restructure interactions, which ultimately leads to a more positive and fulfilling relationship.

Goals of EFT include:

  • To help partners identify and understand key emotional responses
  • To create a shift in negative relationship patterns
  • To foster the creation of a secure and lasting bond between partners

What should we expect when we enter couples therapy?

Because each couple enters therapy for varying reasons and has unique needs, the course and length of therapy cannot easily be predicted. However, the couples therapy process includes the following steps:

  • Joint Interview: Both partners will meet with a MPS PLLC trained couples therapist and participate in a joint interview. A series of questions will be asked to understand what brought the couple into treatment.
  • Individual Interview(s): At the onset of couples therapy, the therapist will meet with both partners individually to gather a more in-depth understanding of each partner’s history, relationship challenges and treatment goals.
  • Assessment: Each partner will be asked to participate in The Gottman Relationship Checkup (GRC). The GRC is an online assessment that assesses a couple’s strengths and challenges. Based on the findings the GRC provides specific treatment interventions and recommendations.
  • Feedback Session: Partners will attend a joint feedback session to learn about the assessment results and to develop a treatment plan.
  • Treatment: Based on the couple’s needs and goals for therapy, specific interventions and exercises will be taught and practiced.

Session length options:

Joint couples therapy sessions are available in 75 or 90 minute increments. The individual meetings at the onset of therapy are 55 minutes.

  • 75 minute sessions allow the couple an adequate amount of time to learn, practice and process strategies and techniques. Initially couples are encouraged to meet with the therapist weekly, however after the fundamental skills are learned, the frequency of sessions can be reduced. Meeting frequency can continuously be adjusted as progress is achieved. By spacing out meeting times, couples are able to practice the new skills they are learning which often results in longer sessions being more effective and economical in the long-run.
  • Extended 90 minute sessions are available if desired and are recommended for: (1) Couples who are traveling a distance to be seen (or if one partner lives out of the area and/or travels frequently for work); (2) Couples who are unable to schedule consistent appointments; (3) Couples who want to jump start the therapy process; and/or for (4) Couples in crisis.

Ready to get started?

Beginning couples therapy requires strength and courage. MPS PLLC is here to guide you along the way. Therapy is a journey that can help you achieve a more fulfilling and meaningful life. We are here to guide you along the way. To learn more, contact us today.