More and more married couples and couples in fact decide to go to couples therapy. This type of therapy seeks to provide a solution to all the conflicts or obstacles that couples encounter when facing their daily lives.

María Maqueda tells us the most frequent reasons for consulting in couples therapy

One of the psychologists with a more contrasting trajectory in this type of therapy is María Maqueda , psychologist at the Abriendozirculos clinic. With her we have shared a space where we have been able to consult her about some of the frequent questions that both mental health professionals and the general population may have about the best strategies for offering psychological treatment in these cases.

What kind of problems do people who attend couples therapy complain about the most?

The universe of couples is as wide as people request therapy. The fundamental pillars on which the sessions are focused are related to communication so that it joins the surname of effective. On the other hand, the stick of confidence related to jealousy that without being pathological generates disagreements between the members of the couple, or on this same pillar the emotional dependence and the attachment in adults.

The disparity in the basis of love, as a basic emotion in the couple, must also be emphasized and evaluated, thus capturing a significant range of feelings and behaviors related to the experience of sexuality and mutual support. And the fourth essential point is an obvious consequence of the three previous ones, respect. Respect marks the lines of what will be the coexistence of the members of the couple as well as the development of the different stages through which one passes, in a natural and healthy way, when one decides to make his life with another person.

Bertrand Regader: What is the main function of psychologists in the face of these problems that affect love relationships?

María Maqueda : The role of the therapist in couples’ therapy consists of actively listening to the perception of the personal problems of both members of the couple and establishing, through dialogue and integrating agreements, points of inflection that help them to modify those thoughts and behaviours that have kept them apart or stagnant and that in principle are the basis of the assistance to couples’ therapy.

Conflicts often arise because of poor communication dynamics. In what ways can this wear down a relationship, according to your professional experience?

When the couple focuses on talking without listening or hearing without dialogue, communication is not possible. In order for communication to be effective, it is necessary to put in order different elements that make up the circuit of understanding. If there is no feedback, it is practically unfeasible for the couple to grow and bring each other closer together.

In what situations is it understood that there is no basis from which to work and that there is no point in starting couples’ therapy sessions?

The fundamental objective of couples therapy is to bring both members closer together. It is true that, although in a much smaller percentage, this is not possible in some cases because of the wear and tear with which they arrive at therapy. This is when couples therapy focuses more on achieving a less painful process of separation where people maintain their dignity and identity as unique beings

Is it difficult to adopt a neutral perspective from the point of view of psychotherapy professionals? How is this achieved?

When the professional is immersed in a therapeutic process, whatever its nature, the demand to be met is not the one that seems convenient or adequate but the one that the patient considers will help him/her to stabilize his/her mood and cognitive patterns and as a consequence derives in a proactive behavior. Achieving maintenance is that point of support between both parties is attainable if the objectives to be achieved with the psychological treatment are clear from the initial assessment session.

Approximately how long can it take for the effects and improvements brought about by the therapy sessions to appear?

If we transfer the recovery times to a healing and physical recovery it is easier to understand that the process is relative and characteristic of each person in question. When a psychological therapy is started the positive effects and the changing details are usually detected earlier by the therapist than by the patients themselves. This occurs because in most cases they arrive at therapy with a great deal of deterioration and choosing this option as the last resort to save their relationship.

However, the first sessions are crucial and it is not advisable to delay the time between sessions because if you have already decided to do therapy now is the time to start intervening and evaluating short-term results.

Is there a need for more awareness about assessing the possibility of attending couples therapy before breaking up?

It is not so much a question of generic awareness as of personal conviction. Assimilating and accommodating that we need a third person to fix our relationship problems is not easy.

However, if couple’s therapy is considered as a moment of encounter for the understanding without losing the individuality as a person and as a frame in which both feel as winners, the couple’s therapy will be, without a doubt, the best of the options and the alternative of solution to obtain favorable agreements.