Best Relationship Counseling Resources: Who They’re For and Who They’re Not For

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on June 6, 2023
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Relationship counseling can be a vital tool for couples and individuals seeking to improve their communication, resolve conflicts, and strengthen their emotional connection.

With a wide variety of online mental health resources available, it’s essential to find the right fit for your unique needs and situation.

Our team is dedicated to helping our readers understand the field of online mental health, find the right mental health solution, and we’ve got both the personal and professional connection therapy that motivates our work.

In this article, we’ll explore the top relationship counseling resources, discussing who they’re for, who they’re not for, and their potential limitations.

The Importance of Relationship Counseling

Relationship counseling can help address various issues, such as communication breakdowns, trust issues, and emotional disconnects long distance relationships. By working with a professional, couples and individuals can develop healthier coping mechanisms, foster empathy, and create lasting positive change in their relationships.

Couples Therapy Quick Summary

  1. Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps couples – married or not – improve their relationships. It can help couples resolve conflicts, improve communication, and build trust.
  2. Through counseling, couples can learn to better understand each other’s needs and feelings, and develop healthier ways of interacting with each other.
  3. Couples therapy can also help couples work through difficult issues such as infidelity, financial stress, parenting disagreements, and more.

Top Relationship Counseling Resources

  1. BetterHelp: BetterHelp is an online platform that connects users with licensed therapists specializing in relationship counseling. This resource is ideal for those who prefer remote sessions and flexible scheduling. However, it may not be suitable for couples dealing with severe relationship issues that require intensive therapy. Visit BetterHelp
  2. Talkspace: Talkspace is another online counseling platform that offers relationship therapy from licensed professionals. It’s best for those who appreciate the convenience of messaging-based therapy and live video sessions. It may not be the best fit for those who prefer traditional in-person therapy. Visit Talkspace
  3. The Gottman Institute: The Gottman Institute offers various relationship resources, including books, workshops, and therapist referrals. Their research-backed approach is beneficial for couples and individuals looking for evidence-based strategies but may not suit those seeking alternative or spiritual perspectives. Visit The Gottman Institute
  4. Esther Perel: As a renowned relationship expert, Esther Perel offers insightful books, podcasts, and workshops. Her resources are ideal for those interested in exploring the complexities of modern relationships but may not be as helpful for individuals seeking personalized therapy. Visit Esther Perel’s Website
  5. The 5 Love Languages: Based on Dr. Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages provides quizzes, books, and courses to help couples better understand their partners’ emotional needs. This resource is great for those looking to improve communication but may not address deeper relationship issues. Visit The 5 Love Languages
  6. PREPARE/ENRICH: PREPARE/ENRICH offers assessment tools and workshops for couples at different relationship stages, including premarital counseling. This resource is excellent for couples seeking to build a strong foundation but may not be suitable for those dealing with severe relationship problems. Visit PREPARE/ENRICH
  7. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT): EFT is an evidence-based approach to couples therapy that focuses on attachment and emotional connection. It’s beneficial for couples experiencing emotional disconnection but may not be the best option for those looking for a more cognitive-based approach. Visit Sue Johnson’s EFT
  8. Relate: Relate is a UK-based organization that offers relationship counseling, workshops, and self-help resources. While it’s a great resource for UK residents, it may not be as accessible for those living outside the UK. Visit Relate
  9. Hold Me Tight: Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight offers workshops and online programs for couples looking to strengthen their emotional bond. This resource is ideal for those interested in EFT but may not appeal to individuals seeking other therapeutic approaches. Visit Hold Me Tight
  10. Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT): MFT is a form of therapy that addresses relationship issues within the context of family dynamics. It’s ideal for couples and families dealing with complex relational challenges but may not be necessary for those seeking individualized relationship counseling. Find a Marriage and Family Therapist

List of Free Online Relationship Counseling Services and Resources

Here are some of the best free online relationship counseling services and resources:

  • Relate: Relate is a UK-based charity that provides free relationship advice for couples in need of support. They provide information on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and understanding each other’s needs.
  • 7 Cups: 7 Cups offers free online therapy from trained listeners who provide emotional support for people dealing with relationship issues or other life challenges.
  • Loveisrespect: Loveisrespect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline that provides resources for young adults dealing with unhealthy relationships or dating abuse. They offer educational materials as well as live chat and text message support services for those in need of help navigating their relationships safely and responsibly.

Understanding the Benefits of Relationship Counseling

• Relationship counseling is a powerful tool for couples looking to strengthen their bond and build healthier relationships.

• It can help improve healthy communication skills, lead to increased understanding, resolve conflicts, and strengthen the bond between them.

• Counseling sessions provide an opportunity for couples to better understand each other’s needs and wants in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Online relationship counseling offers many benefits such as:

  • Increased accessibility – no need to travel or take time off work
  • More flexibility – sessions can be scheduled at any time of day
  • Cost savings – often cheaper than traditional therapy
  • Privacy – conversations are kept confidential
  • Convenience – no need to find childcare or make special arrangements

Knowing When to Seek Relationship Counseling

Seeking relationship counseling can be beneficial for a couple’s bond, but there are things about relationship counseling you should know, according to VeryWellMind.

• Signs that indicate it may be time to seek help include difficulty communicating, feelings of disconnection, trust issues, conflicting values, and frequent arguments.

• Difficult situations such as illness, death of a loved one, or job loss can also require professional assistance.

• Couples should look into qualified counselors specialized in relationships and communication skills building for couples therapy sessions

Recognizing When Your Relationship Needs Therapy

• It can be difficult to know when a relationship needs professional help, but there are signs which suggest it may be time to consider couples counseling.

• These signs include feeling disconnected from your partner, difficulty resolving conflicts, not being heard or understood, lack of communication and trust, unsatisfying sex life, one or both struggling with mental health issues or addiction, and a lack of respect.

• If any of these sound familiar, it may be beneficial to seek out couples counseling as a way to address the issues in the relationship and move forward more healthily.

The Different Types of Relationship Therapy

Relationship counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples and individuals work through the issues they are facing in their relationships. It can be used to address a wide range of topics, from communication problems to infidelity. There are several different types of relationship therapy available, each with its unique approach, appropriate professionals, and focus.

The Different Types of Relationship Therapy

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that can lead to relationship conflict.

• Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) helps couples identify and express emotions in a healthy way to create stronger emotional bonds.

• Family Systems Therapy examines how family dynamics may influence individual relationships and how these can be improved.

• Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) improves communication skills between partners, such as active listening and appropriate expression of feelings.

• Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) encourages couples to focus on solutions rather than problems and develop strategies for future conflicts.

• Narrative Therapy facilitates creating new stories about romantic relationships by focusing on positive experiences.

• Gottman Method Couples Therapy uses research-based techniques to improve communication, increase intimacy, and resolve conflicts better.

• Imago Relationship Therapy helps couples understand underlying needs that drive their behavior for meaningful connections between them.

Premarital Counseling

• Pre-marital counseling helps couples build a strong foundation for their relationship.

• It involves discussing communication, conflict resolution, finances, expectations of marriage and family therapists, and personal values.

• It enables partners to gain insight into each other’s personalities, values, and goals.

• Couples can also learn how to effectively communicate and develop strategies for healthy conflict resolution.

• Qualified counselors are available to provide premarital counseling online or through virtual meetings.

individual Relationship Therapy

Relationship counseling offers couples and individuals help in working through conflicts, communication issues, and other challenges to build stronger bonds and learn to understand each other better.

• Through the process, couples can learn new ways of communicating, problem-solving, and expressing themselves for a healthier relationship.

• Individual relationship therapy focuses on helping an individual work through their issues related to relationships to identify patterns in their behavior or thought processes that may be contributing to difficulties in their relationships.

• It also provides guidance on how to manage emotions, build self-esteem, and develop healthier coping skills when it comes to dealing with difficult situations or people in their lives.

Relationship Therapy vs. Individual Therapy: Which is Right for You?

• Couples therapy focuses on the relationship between two people, while individual therapy focuses on an individual’s mental health and well-being.

Couples counseling can help couples with issues such as communication problems, trust issues, infidelity, or other conflicts in their relationship.

• Individual counseling can help individuals work through personal issues like depression, anxiety, stress management, trauma recovery, addiction recovery, and more.

• When considering which type of talk therapy is best for you and your partner, it is important to consider both options.

The Role of a Relationship Counselor

Relationship counselling: What people need

• Relationship counselors provide guidance and support to help couples build strong, healthy relationships.

• They use a variety of techniques such as communication skills training, conflict resolution strategies, problem-solving exercises, and emotional regulation techniques.

• They can also identify the root causes of relationship problems and create action plans for addressing them.

• Additionally, they may refer clients to other professionals or resources if needed.

• The overall goal is to provide couples with the tools and resources they need to maintain a more healthy relationship and connection with each other.

Relationship Coach vs. Therapist

• Individuals and couples both seeking counseling and relationship counseling can find aid from both relationship coaches and therapists.

• Relationship coaches help clients address issues in their relationship, such as communication problems, trust issues, or lack of connection. They guide how to improve relationships through techniques like active listening.

• Therapists are licensed mental health professionals who provide counseling services for individuals and couples dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, or addiction. They can also offer marriage counseling to assist couples in conflict resolution and build healthy relationships.

Exploring the Psychology Behind Relationship Counseling

The psychology behind relationship counseling focuses on understanding the meaning romantic love has in one’s life and the traumatic effects of abrupt changes in relationships.

Couples therapy also looks at unhealthy communication patterns used in the relationship and takes steps to create a better connection between partners.

Benefits of couples therapy include improved communication, increased trust, a better understanding of each other, and improved outcomes for both partners.

The Difference Between Counseling and Therapy

Counseling and therapy are both forms of mental health treatment, but they have some key differences.

  • Counseling is typically focused on helping people with current issues, such as relationship problems, while therapy is more focused on long-term issues and growth.
  • Therapists can help people understand themselves and how they perceive the world, while counselors provide more pragmatic solutions to current problems.
  • Psychologists are also mental health professionals, but their focus is on diagnosing and treating mental illnesses.

How to Find and Choose a Relationship Therapist

• Look for qualified therapists and clinical psychologists who specialize in couples work.

• Consider factors like experience and qualifications when selecting a marriage counselor.

• Use online therapist directories and insurance lists to find potential therapists.

• Ask about the therapist’s experience working with couples similar to yours.

• Make sure both partners feel comfortable with the therapist’s job before committing to sessions.

Making Relationship Therapy Effective: Tips and Strategies

• Couples should attend counseling sessions together to maximize their effectiveness.

• Honesty and openness are essential for working through any issues that arise.

• Setting goals helps keep the focus on progress and improvement.

• Be open-minded to different strategies suggested by the family therapist and the counselor.

• Follow up with the counselor first few sessions after each session and take time for self-care as well.

• Don’t give up if progress is slow; relationship counseling takes effort but will be worth it in the long run!

Use Talkspace to Quickly Find Couples Relationship Counseling

Talkspace offers a dedicated plan that is designed to address relationship issues, making it a potential option for couples counseling. We bought, documented our experience using, and reviewed Talkspace, and we believe:

  • This platform is a popular option for couples who prefer a convenient and accessible way to engage in therapy, without the need to attend in-person sessions.
  • Talkspace offers a digital platform that enables couples to communicate with their therapist at their convenience, which can help them incorporate therapy into their busy schedules.
  • Talkspace offers couples the opportunity to work with experienced therapists who are trained to help them navigate various challenges, including communication difficulties and more complex relationship problems.

While Talkspace can be a helpful option for couples seeking counseling, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other alternatives to consider.

Some couples might like conventional in-person counseling or look into other online resources that can meet their particular needs. Choosing the right couples counseling option can be a personal decision that depends on factors such as individual preferences, comfort levels, and the specific issues that need to be addressed.

Couples Therapy Exercises to Practice Outside Sessions

Couples therapy exercises are activities that couples can do together to strengthen their relationship.

  • These activities can be done in or outside of counseling sessions and can help couples learn how to communicate better, resolve conflicts, and build emotional intimacy.
  • Some examples of couples therapy exercises include reflective listening, making a list of fun activities to try together, resolving all arguments before bedtime, developing a culture of appreciation, and clarifying statements.
  • Practicing these exercises outside of therapy sessions can help couples improve their relationship and create a stronger bond.

For more couples therapy exercises worksheets, please see this excellent Positive Psychology article (https://positivepsychology.com/couples-therapy-worksheets-activities/).

Common Questions and Misconceptions about Relationship Counseling

Relationship counseling is a type of therapy that helps couples strengthen their relationship and work through issues. Despite its benefits, Brides.com notes there are many common questions and misconceptions about it.

  • Is relationship counseling only for couples on the brink of divorce? No, relationship counseling can be beneficial for any couple at any stage in their relationship. It can help to build a strong foundation, improve communication, and resolve conflicts.
  • Do both partners need to attend counseling sessions? Yes, both partners must attend the sessions together to get the most out of the experience.
  • Does relationship counseling always work? While it may not work for every couple, research has shown that couples who participate in therapy have better outcomes than those who do not.

The Success Rate of Couples Therapy

Studies have shown that couples therapy has a fairly high success rate, according to meta-analysis1, with many couples reporting improved communication and satisfaction in their relationship after completing the program.

  • The success rate of couples therapy depends on several factors, including the type of therapy used, the commitment level of both partners to make changes, and the quality of the therapist-client relationship.
  • Research suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective forms of couples therapy for improving communication and resolving conflicts.
  • Other types of therapy such as emotion-focused or psychodynamic therapies may also be beneficial depending on the specific needs of the couple.

How to Get the Most Out of Couples Counseling

In addition to choosing an appropriate type of therapy, both partners need to be committed to making changes to achieve positive results from couples counseling.

This includes being open to feedback from the therapist and being willing to practice new skills outside of sessions. Finally, it is important for both partners to feel comfortable with their therapist for them to be able to express themselves honestly and openly during sessions.

Overall, research shows that couples therapy can be highly successful if all three components are present:

  1. An appropriate type of therapy
  2. Commitment from both partners
  3. A good therapist-client relationship.

With these elements in place, couples can expect improved communication skills and increased satisfaction in their relationship over time.

Relationship Counseling Conclusion

Finding the right relationship counseling resource can make a significant difference in your journey toward a healthier, happier partnership.

Consider your unique needs and preferences when exploring these options, and remember that it’s essential to find an approach that resonates with you and your partner. Feel free to share your experiences or ask questions in the comments below.

We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment with any questions you have about relationship and family therapists or counseling, or share your suggestions on which mental health service, app, or course you think our Online Mental Health Reviews team should buy and try next. Your input helps us continue to provide valuable resources for everyone’s well-being.

Sources

  1. Roddy MK, Walsh LM, Rothman K, Hatch SG, Doss BD. Meta-analysis of couple therapy: Effects across outcomes, designs, timeframes, and other moderators. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2020 Jul;88(7):583-596. doi: 10.1037/ccp0000514. PMID: 32551734.

If You’re In An Emergency

In a crisis, waiting for an online therapy session may not be safe. If immediate assistance is required, dial 911. This includes situations where you or someone else may be at risk of harm. For thoughts of self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available by calling 988, providing help 24/7.

Additionally, you can reach out to the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357). This free, confidential helpline offers support and treatment information for individuals dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues, available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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