Couples therapy is a form of psychological therapy used to treat relationship distress for both individuals and couples and to restore a better level of functioning. Couples may seek therapy because of increased frequency or severity of arguments; a specific problem or a set of problems they are unable to solve.
The focus of Couples therapy is to identify the presence of dissatisfaction in the relationship, and to devise and implement a treatment plan with objectives designed to improve or alleviate the presenting symptoms and restore the relationship to a better and healthier level of functioning.
The cognitive therapist educates and increases awareness concerning perceptions, assumptions, and interactions between the couple. Distressed couples generally have few pleasant and rewarding interactions, but rather many blaming, angry or punishing ones. Interactions of such couples are often characterised by reciprocated negative behaviour. If one partner behaves negatively, the partner is likely to respond in kind, and thus starts a chain of escalating negative interaction. CBT attempts to discover and change the negative types of thinking that drive such negative behaviours that cause relationship distress.