You love your spouse, but during the pandemic, you’ve been waking up with them, working in the same house, eating every meal together, taking care of your kids (who have likely also been stuck at home), then sleeping next to them at night; it's starting to feel suffocating. This past year may have also affected other aspects of your life; many struggle without their much needed hobbies through which they found a sense of wholeness and fulfillment. It has left a countless number of people without jobs and financial security. It’s limited how much we’ve been able to see our friends and family. You’re feeling isolated, anxious, even depressed. Now, you find yourself getting frustrated with nearly everything your partner does, and they may feel the same way. You’re not alone; according to a survey conducted earlier this year on married and engaged couples, only 18% of participating couples reported satisfaction with their communication during the pandemic.
No doubt about it, it’s been a rough year for even the healthiest of marriages, and it’s no surprise: statistics show that financial insecurity, a weakened social circle, and too much time spent together all attribute to strains within relationships. Many existing struggles are likely to be magnified, and communication may be at an all-time difficult. Some couples feel like their relationship has gone stale, others feel like every interaction is hostile and explosive. Sometimes, it’s one sided; it feels personal when our spouse withdraws from us. On the other end, it’s irritating when you need alone time and your partner doesn’t understand.
How do we go about resetting our interactions? It can seem next to impossible when we’re afforded very little space, but with purposeful intervention through marriage therapy, it can be done.
When you’re stuck in a hostile situation for an extended period of time, things become cloudy. Couples become blind to the boundaries they’re crossing, negative jabs become a daily occurrence, and unhealthy dynamics turn into the norm. It’s difficult to take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
Cue the psychotherapist; with a toolkit of knowledge and experience, a counselor can be a third pair of eyes that are invested not in one person’s narrative, but the health and prosperity of the relationship as a whole.
Are you really annoyed that your partner forgot to do the dishes, or is this the latest in a series of events that has you feeling underappreciated? Is your partner ignoring your needs, or have you assumed they are aware of what you want without explicitly telling them? Therapists can isolate the root of your daily anxieties, and improve communication in a safe and open environment. It’s no surprise then that studies show high levels of patient satisfaction after attending couple’s therapy; in one study, 93% of patients stated they felt they had better, more effective tools to communicate with their partner after attending marriage counselling.
There’s been a significant shift in focus for couple’s therapy. Emotionally Focused Therapy, EFT, has become the center of the conversation and for good reason: it’s effective.
Emotionally Focused Therapy is a solution-based practice with a simple underlying mantra; our emotions are closely tied to our needs. They help us understand who we are, and how we relate and communicate with others. By increasing our awareness of our emotions, we can learn to regulate them, and transform them. EFT helps you identify which emotions inform you and help you reach your objectives, and which emotions deter you from them. It allows you to reframe conflict and understand it from your partner’s point of view.
So, does it work? Research spanning back decades establishes EFT as one of the most successful couple’s intervention methods ever. Countless studies on EFT found it to be effective in improving marital satisfaction during sessions, and maintaining and even furthering said improvements after completing sessions. One study showed that a whopping 70%-73% of EFT administered couples shifted from a state of distress to recovery. 90% of couples agreed that they saw significant improvements in their relationship. It has also shown to be an effective treatment when one partner is experiencing depression symptoms from distress in their relationship.
Couples tend to look for therapy during major shifts in their life, and the pandemic is no exception. While many don’t feel safe doing in-office sessions; online therapy has opened doors, and couple’s therapists are still seeing a steep spike in new clients.
But does online marriage therapy actually work? The short answer- yes. Statistics show that online psychotherapy offers very similar benefits to the traditional in-person model. In one 2019 study, 80% of participants receiving internet delivered therapy saw an average 43% improvement in depression related symptoms. Another study saw a substantial decrease in anxiety symptoms, and an increase in day-to-day functionality following online therapy.
In some cases, online therapy actually delivers better results. In part, this is because online therapy offers huge conveniences. Rather than scheduling three hours to get ready, drive to a therapy office, attend your session, and drive back, online therapy offers an opportunity to do therapy wherever you are. This means busy couples can take off the length of their session, and nothing more. Convenience has huge effects on the frequency of sessions couples attend, and that matters; more frequent sessions seem to correlate with improvement rates. Additionally, it takes away the intimidation factor; patients report feeling comfortable doing therapy in familiar spaces like their bedrooms or living rooms.
Finding the right online therapist has never been easier. At Mind + Zest we have over 12 years of experience, and our board certified Ontario therapists are ready to help. We begin by providing complimentary intake sessions for couples, where our intake specialist gets to know you, the issues you’re looking to address, and your goals for therapy. From there, we match you with the therapist that will provide the best possible results. Sign up with us and get matched with a marriage therapist as quickly as today.