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What Is Intensive Couples Therapy?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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Intensive couples therapy is a type of professional counseling, typically given to a couple who have encountered difficulties in their relationship. The therapy sessions may be conducted by a psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, or a social worker with specialized training in marriage or relationship therapy. During an intensive couples therapy session, the therapist may employ cutting edge or non-conventional methods of treatment, such as workshops for couples with unstable relationships.

Intensive couples therapy is typically done on an outpatient basis, in weekly or daily sessions. When enrolling in such a program, the couple may be given an assessment or analysis to determine what aspects of their relationship should be focused on. Each partner may be asked a series of questions, in the form of either an oral or written examination. This examination will help the counselor determine an effective course of treatment for the couple's unique situation.

The couple may be asked what they hope to achieve from their relationship during a typical intensive couples therapy session. This will help the counselor or psychotherapist implement a course of action, and, as the sessions progress, he may keep a record of each goal that has been met. The counselor may also ask each partner to write down things that bother them most about their partner's attitude or habits. Additionally, the couple may be asked to share their fears or frustrations regarding their relationship.

Intensive couples therapy generally takes less than an hour for each session. Although session times may vary, it is rare for a session to last more than 90 minutes. According to experts in this field, sessions that move at a face pace generally produce better results.

Each session may focus on a particular area that needs to be addressed. Some of the topics may include infidelity or financial difficulties. Other aspects, such as difficulties dealing with stepchildren, may also be addressed. Intensive couples therapy programs may involve anywhere from one to five sessions, sometimes more. Some programs involve counseling from only one professional, while others may employ two or more therapists, either simultaneously or alternately.

The cost of intensive couples therapy will also vary, with most therapists charging an hourly fee. Many intensive couples therapy programs are covered by insurance. Not every therapist will accept insurance, so it is advised to inquire about fees beforehand.

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