Relationship therapy, like individual therapy, has the same purpose of helping a client achieve their goals, however, in the context of relationship therapy, the goal is to improve the relationship, not the individual. Some areas for focus in relationship therapy are communication, conflict management, intimacy, understanding one’s partner(s) better, trust and vulnerability, preparing for the next step in a relationship (moving in together, marriage, having children), or finding solutions to ongoing problems (or ways to work around them).
There are many different relationship therapy models out there. Some of the most popular ones are Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the Gottman model, Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), and others. While they each take slightly different approaches, the ultimate goal of all of them is to improve relationship satisfaction and well-being, seeing the relationship as the focus of improvement, not the individuals.
You may wonder why we’re using “relationship therapy” in our phrasing, rather than the more traditional, “couples’ therapy” or “marital therapy.” First, you don’t need to be married to consider relationship therapy; any romantic relationships are welcome. Secondly, modern relationships are not all the same, and many people are not in “couples” relationships. We as a practice here at Austin Counseling and Nutrition strive to be open and supportive of all forms of relationships, including bot monogamous and polyamorous relationships, as well as open relationships.
Polyamorous: characterized by or involved in the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved