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What are the Best Couples Counseling Methods?

Counseling for CouplesAre you and your partner struggling with communication?

Maybe there’s been infidelity?

Do you spend more time arguing than enjoying each other’s company?

Maybe you don’t feel very secure in your relationship?

It’s probably time to try Couples Counseling

Here at RDU Counseling for Change, we have the tools and training to help you through the rough patches. We will work with you and your partner to build a stronger, more loving relationship.

How do we do that?

We offer three different styles of therapies, which our counselors will help you choose and implement.

Here’s a little bit about each, to give you some idea of what to expect.

Emotion-focused therapy (EFT) 

EFT is a popular option. It is founded upon the theory that one’s identity is intertwined with their emotions, and that those same emotions can aid the person in making decisions and individual choices.

Lack of awareness of your emotions, and subsequently trying to avoid them can be harmful, because our emotions can help guide us if we pay attention to them.

A healthy life of meaning can be found by understanding our emotions, not running from them.

What should you expect from an EFT session?

To develop a couple of important skills:

  1. Awareness: To gain awareness of your emotions (what they are and how they arise), and to accept them for what they are, instead of suppressing or avoiding them.
  2. Insight: You’ll learn to use your emotions as a guide to decision making, so you can avoid the negative effects they usually bring.

Each session may include work on the following:

  • Emotional awareness work
  • Acceptance and/or moderation of your emotions 
  • Articulating your emotions more clearly. What are you really feeling?
  • Elevated awareness of the many aspects of your emotions.
  • Being able to pinpoint your emotional reactions.

The therapy then focuses on what to do with your new found emotional awareness:

  • How to evaluate if the emotion you’re feeling is useful or not in a particular situation.
  • How to glean useful information from your emotions.
  • What are the triggers or sources of your unhelpful emotions.
  • How to transform emotions that are less than helpful.
  • Work to find alternative coping mechanisms to deal with those situations which trigger negative emotions.
  • Rewrite your internal dialogue so you can challenge negative emotions and thought patterns.

The Gottman Method

The Gottman Method, also known as the Sound Relationship House Theory, deals directly with relationships between people, especially couples.

In this method, the focus is upon the essential building blocks of a good, loving relationship.

You can expect to work on the following:

Constructing ‘Love Maps’

You’ll learn way more about your partner in this step. Their dreams, their fears, what makes them happy, and what makes them tick. What are they thinking when they aren’t talking?

Expressing Fondness and Admiration

The cure for contempt is respect and admiration. In this step, you’ll work with the counselor to strengthen these aspects of your relationship.

Learn to Turn Towards Your Partner, not Away

Instead of retreating in stressful moments, you’ll learn how to spot your partner’s unspoken cries for connection, so you can face your partner and respond to them.

Taking a Positive Perspective

You’ll learn how to employ a positive mindset to solving problems that might arise.

Managing Conflicts

We’ll delve into the difference between problems that can be solved versus naturally recurring problems which must be ‘managed.’ 

Achieving Life Dreams

You’ll learn how to have honest conversations about yours and your partner’s hopes, dreams, values, and beliefs.

Creating Shared Meaning

Gain insight into the key stories, visions, myths, and metaphors you both hold about your relationship.

Building Trust

One of the key components of every relationship is the belief that your partner is there to support your interests and well-being, not just their own. If trust has been damaged, then it must be repaired.


In order to make a relationship work, in the long term, there must be a solid commitment to working on it, even when things go wrong. You must both commit to seeing the good in each other, and practice gratitude for one another to do this.

Family Systems Therapy

The third system we employ focuses on the family unit as a whole. Hence it is called Family Systems Therapy

The theory behind this is that the behavior of the individual must be understood within the context of the group.

It is important to understand each person’s place in the family system, which can be two people, or multiple.

What can you expect from family system therapy?

  • Each member (both partners, and possibly other family members) will be able to talk about difficult experiences and emotions in a safe space.
  • You’ll work to understand the other’s perspectives, experiences, and beliefs.
  • Strive to appreciate the other’s needs and wants.
  • Learn to build on the positive relationship strengths you already possess. 
  • Make positive changes to your relationship and your lives in general.

Our Counselors Are Here For You

Whether you have trouble communicating or have experienced a breach of trust, our counselors are here to help. 

We know you want to improve your relationship, but it’s often difficult to see a path forward through your pain. 

Because of this, couples often get stuck in their own perspectives and no longer view their partner favorably. 

We seek to shine a light on each partner’s experience so understanding, empathy, and forgiveness can take place. 

If you live in the RDU/Wake County area, set up an appointment today, so you can get started on your journey to a stronger relationship.

We also offer Telehealth Therapy, family therapy, individual counseling, and other mental health counseling.

Contact us today, and let’s get started!

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Our Team of Professionals

  • Kelly Harrison

    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC)
  • Kelley Baughman

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Whitney Chambers

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate (LCMHCA)
  • Christy Douglas

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Hugo Izzo

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Bryon Lawrence

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Breanna Linn

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate
  • Sallie Ratcliffe

    Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate