Couples Therapy: When is the Right Time?

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about couples therapy, what it involves and how it can help a relationship. “But it’s usually for when things are pretty bad in the relationship, right?”, she said to me. “Oh, no, not at all! It can certainly help when things are going wrong but there’s so much to gain from couples therapy long before things are breaking down”, I replied. I realised I might take the importance of couples therapy for granted. For me it is a chance to improve on communication between two people and air any grievances in a holding and supportive environment facilitated by an impartial third person. If individual therapy can be a tool in the self-improvement kit, why can’t couples therapy too? I reflected on this as a major misconception about relationship counselling.

The Rollercoaster of Relationships

In the intricate dance of a romantic relationship, there often comes a time when partners find themselves stumbling over each other’s steps. It’s not uncommon for conflicts to arise, communication to falter, and the once vibrant connection to dim. In these moments of turbulence, many couples contemplate seeking the help of a couples therapist to navigate the complexities of their relationship.

It’s All About Timing

Timing is crucial when it comes to couples therapy. The ideal moment isn’t necessarily when the relationship is teetering on the edge of collapse; instead, it’s often best sought when the first signs of strain appear. Early intervention can prevent deep-rooted issues from taking hold, allowing couples to address challenges before they become insurmountable.

One indicator that it might be the right time for couples therapy is a breakdown in communication. When open dialogue turns into a series of misunderstandings, arguments, or even prolonged periods of silence, it’s a red flag that something needs attention. Couples therapy provides a safe space for partners to build deeper connections and learn effective communication skills that can strengthen their bond.

Major Life Transitions

Another opportune moment for couples therapy is when major life transitions occur. Whether it’s moving in together, getting married, having children, or facing an empty nest, these milestones can bring about unexpected challenges. Couples therapy can help partners navigate these transitions, fostering understanding and resilience in the face of change.

Furthermore, seeking couples counselling during a period of heightened stress can be incredibly beneficial. External pressures, such as work-related stress, financial difficulties, or family issues, can strain a relationship. Relationship counselling equips partners with coping mechanisms and stress management tools, enabling them to support each other through challenging times.

In conclusion, the best time for couples psychotherapy is when the first signs of distress emerge. Whether it’s a breakdown in communication, major life transitions, or external stressors, seeking help early on can pave the way for a healthier, more resilient relationship. Remember, it’s never too early to invest in the well-being of your partnership and discover the path to lasting harmony.

Get in touch to find out about current availability for therapy together with your partner.

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Building a Deeper Connection With Your Partner

Whether you’ve been together 10 weeks or 10 years, you might be at a comfortable stage of things with your partner but you’re also wondering if things could be better. What’s the next level of fulfilment and is there a deeper connection to build with your partner? If there is, how can couples therapy support you in this process?

Let’s dive into the art of building a connection so deep, it’s practically oceanic. We’re talking about forging a bond with your partner that’s not just surface-level; it’s rooted in understanding, communication, and a sprinkle of Transactional Analysis magic.

Using TA in Couples Work

So, what’s Transactional Analysis? Imagine it as your relationship GPS, helping you navigate the intricate highways of communication. Developed by Dr. Eric Berne, this modality is all about dissecting the ways we interact and the roles we play in our relationships.

First up, let’s embrace the concept of “Parent,” “Adult,” and “Child” modes. In every interaction, we unconsciously switch between these roles. When you catch yourself slipping into a parental role, take a step back. Are you nurturing or maybe a tad too controlling? The key here is balance. Aim for a blend of care without overshadowing your partner’s independence.

Next, the “Adult” mode. Picture it as the rational, data-driven scientist in you. When faced with a challenge, approach it with reason and empathy. Leave behind judgments and assumptions; they’re like roadblocks on your path to connection.

Now, onto the “Child” mode – the playful, emotional side. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and encourage your partner to do the same. Share dreams, fears, and, yes, even those embarrassing childhood stories. Embracing vulnerability creates a bridge to deeper emotional connection.

Communication and Synchronisation

Communication, the lifeline of any relationship, gets a makeover with Transactional Analysis. Instead of playing the blame game, focus on “I” statements. Express your feelings, needs, and desires without pointing fingers. It’s like turning your GPS from “Recalculating” to a smooth, scenic route.

In the grand dance of relationships, synchronisation is key. Keep an eye on your partner’s cues and adjust your steps accordingly. Sometimes a two-step, sometimes a waltz – the beauty lies in the harmony you create together.

So, there you have it – a crash course in forging a connection that’s not just deep but also enduring. Remember, relationships are like fine wine; they get better with time, attention, and a sprinkle of Transactional Analysis wisdom. Happy connecting, lovebirds!

Couples Counselling with Southdowns Psychotherapy

For more information on couples counselling and to find out about current availability at Southdowns Psychotherapy, get in touch.

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Navigating Couples Therapy When Your Partner Isn’t on the Same Page

Deciding to seek couples psychotherapy can be a significant step toward improving your relationship. When you opt for the modality of Transactional Analysis (TA), it demonstrates your commitment to understanding and resolving issues in a healthy and constructive manner. However, what happens when you’re all in, but your partner isn’t on the same page? Challenges in couples therapy like this can be overcome and could be the start of sorting things out.

Open Communication

Start by having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your desire to pursue TA couples psychotherapy. Clearly express your reasons for wanting to do so and listen to their concerns and reservations. Encourage your partner to share their perspective, and try to empathise with their feelings.

Education and Information

Share information about TA therapy and what to expect with your partner. Provide resources, books, or articles that explain what TA is and how it can benefit couples. This knowledge might help alleviate some of their concerns or misconceptions about the therapy.

Respect Their Decision

It’s essential to respect your partner’s choice if they are not willing to engage in TA couples therapy at this time. Understand that therapy should be a mutual decision, and pushing your partner into it may lead to resistance and resentment.


While you may have initially sought therapy as a couple, you can still embark on individual therapy in the modality of TA. Working on your own issues can have a positive impact on your relationship, and your partner may eventually be inspired to join you.

Patience and Understanding

Remember that everyone progresses at their own pace. Be patient with your partner and try to understand their concerns. Encourage open dialogue and revisit the topic periodically, as their perspective may evolve over time.

Setting Boundaries

If your partner’s unwillingness to participate in TA therapy is causing significant strain on your relationship, it may be helpful to establish clear boundaries and expectations about how you’ll navigate these differences.

Seek Mediation

If your relationship issues are severe, consider seeking the assistance of a professional mediator or relationship coach. They can help facilitate communication between you and your partner and guide you toward mutually beneficial solutions.


While you’re waiting for your partner’s decision or working through your own issues, don’t neglect self-care. Maintaining your emotional and mental well-being is essential, regardless of your partner’s choices.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue couples psychotherapy in the modality of Transactional Analysis should be a joint one. If your partner is not initially open to the idea, it’s important to respect their boundaries and proceed with understanding and patience. Over time, with open communication and the right approach, they may come to see the benefits of TA therapy for your relationship. In the meantime, remember that self-work and self-care can still bring about positive changes within your partnership.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash