What Are the Types of Couples Therapy in Psychology?

types of couples therapy

A lot of couples are still skeptical about utilizing couples therapy to iron out the issues in their relationship. They see it as a third party interfering in their affairs, which is not so. The different types of couples therapy techniques are important in our world today. This is because there will always be relationship issues. Did you ask why? It’s quite simple. Imagine you met your partner at the age of 28. This means you need to start to understand the values, preferences, and attitudes your partner has built up for the past 28 years. In trying to understand all these, misunderstandings will occur. And such issues may need the intervention of a trained third party.

I am trying to point out that it is never a crime to seek help from a therapist. The motive for seeking help which is to improve your relationship, is all that matters. A lot of couples do not even seek to improve their relationship, they just want out. Having said all these, let me quickly guide you through the types of couples therapy in psychology.

What Is Couples Therapy Like?

Are you trying to start your couples therapy and you want to know something about couples therapy? You are reading the right article. For a start, I would like to point out that there are no types of couples therapy. Couples therapy is simply couples therapy. However, there are different couples therapy techniques. Your therapist might use one of these techniques or more based on the situation in your relationship. More of these techniques will be discussed later in this blog post.

Now to the question, what is couples therapy like? Couples therapy is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy, and it aims at helping individuals to live functional life. It provides individuals with techniques to control or eliminate distressing symptoms. In the same way, couples therapy focuses on helping partners to control or eliminate distress in their relationship. Such distresses include emotional distance, lack of communication, financial problems, and infidelity, among others.

Couples Therapy Techniques

Furthermore, before we talk about a few couples therapy techniques, I must point out a fact. There is nothing like couples therapy for boyfriend and girlfriend. It doesn’t matter if both partners are still at the boyfriend-girlfriend stage, they are couples. It is the boyfriend and girlfriend that becomes husband and wife. Therefore, the social status of the two partners have no effect on couples therapy.

As mentioned earlier, there are no types of couples therapy as such. Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy that consist of different techniques. However, these couples therapy techniques are also referred to as types of couples therapy. Listed below are the 7 major types of couples therapy or couples therapy techniques in psychology.

  1. Emotionally-focused therapy
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy
  3. Narrative therapy
  4. Gottman method of couples therapy
  5. Discernment counseling
  6. Solution-focused therapy
  7. Imago relationship therapy.

Overview of the Types of Couples Therapy

Each of the techniques mentioned above is not chosen randomly for couples. It is the problems in a particular couple’s relationship that will determine what type of technique(s) to be used. Moving forward, let’s quickly take a look at what these 7 couples therapy techniques are all about.

1.    Emotionally-focused Therapy

One of the basic ideas of this couples therapy technique is that for a lifelong and healthy relationship, an emotional attachment that is secure and safe is inevitable. Hence, this therapy explores the different emotions that cause issues in a relationship, including partners’ unmet needs. By so doing, partners understand the underlying emotions causing problems and adopt a more secure emotional attachment.

2.    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This therapy says irrational thoughts or beliefs lead to negative behaviors and emotional disturbances. Therefore, applying this couples therapy technique has to do with helping partners to say their thoughts about relationship conflicts. In a relationship, lack of communication leads to partners holding irrational thoughts. And this therapy helps to solve that problem.

3.    Narrative Therapy

This therapy is almost similar to cognitive behavioral therapy. It has to do with helping partners to give an account of what happened in the relationship positively. Each partner narrates their relationship stories from the perspective of the other partner. In that way, both of their needs are addressed. This helps couples to increase their bond and intimacy.

4.    Gottman Method Couples Therapy

This therapy helps couples to address issues geared towards providing solutions to disagreements caused by differences in values. Also, it helps couples to learn different conflict management skills

5.    Discernment Counselling

This type of couples therapy applies to couples who have a different notions about breaking up. That is, one of the partners wants to end the relationship but the other doesn’t. In this case, this couples therapy technique is used to help them explore their options and come to a conclusion.

6.    Solution-focused Therapy

Just as the name implies, this therapy focuses on providing a solution to a particular problem. Thus, it is a couples therapy used to help couples solve a specific problem. The therapists and couples work together to determine a solution and how to work towards achieving the solution.

7.    Imago relationship therapy.

This is a beautiful type of couples therapy. It is channeled towards exploring childhood images that shape partners’ perspectives about relationships. Such childhood experiences are explored, and erroneous beliefs are exposed.


So far, we have discussed what couples therapy is like and the types of couples therapy techniques in psychology. Nevertheless, there is one more thing you should know about coupon therapy. It is called the stages in couples counseling in psychology. There are different perspectives on these stages. However, there always will be four stages in the different types of couples therapy techniques. They are:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis stage
  2. Counseling goals formulation stage
  3. Problem-solving stage
  4. Follow-up stage.

Having gone through these four stages in couples therapy, then you can say you have completed your couples therapy. Contact us for more information as regards what suit you best.