We offer couples and family therapy work for various presenting issues. These interventions focus on repairing challenging issues within couple and family dynamics. Individuals learn to enhance and enable communication, attachment, and overall relationship satisfaction.

The types of issues we treat in the context of couples and family therapy are:

  • Separation and divorce
  • Marital conflict
  • Relationship stressors
  • Grief and loss
  • Physical and mental illness
  • Pandemic impact
  • Life transitions
  • Family trauma and conflict
  • Relationship stressors
  • Betrayal

What is Couples Therapy?

Relationships can be complicated at times. Only some things always work out the way we imagine. As we grow and change in relationships, we sometimes need help to allow for good communication and intimacy. Difficult life situations can leave us emotionally exhausted. During these times, we have less to give to our relationships. For example, the loss of a loved one, children struggling with mental health issues, and financial difficulties can cause us to engage in problematic behaviours. These events all impact us as individuals and our relationships as a result. Couples therapy can help people manage these life stressors in different ways.

Couples therapy can help individuals to understand better each other and why points of conflict might have arisen in the relationship. Couples therapy can also allow people to discuss conflictual situations with a trained therapist. Without this support, individuals might encounter the same fight repeatedly without any tools or strategies to discuss things differently. Understanding why your partner might struggle in certain situations can also be challenging. In couples therapy, you can gain perspective about your partner’s thoughts and emotions through the therapeutic dialogue that emerges. 

​What Couple Therapy Approaches does FTPS offer?

One of our approaches for couples therapy focuses on Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy, which has been developed from principles of attachment science. In this approach, our therapists work with you and your partner to create a positive shift in interactional patterns, expand and re-organize critical emotional responses, and create a secure bond between you.

Another approach we use for couple therapy focuses on the Gottman Method. This approach hones in on the well-being of relationships and uses various tools and techniques. Couples will learn different ways of relating and communicating with each other. This happens to rebuild their relationship and make it more meaningful.

Forward Thinking Psychological Services™ allows partners to engage in online couples therapy. This can be helpful for several different reasons. When online couples therapy is conducted, individuals can access beneficial support from the comfort of their own homes. This can be very important when young children are in the house. This eliminates the need for expensive babysitting, which can add another stressor to one’s life. Couples can also join from different workplaces to schedule a session during the day. The convenience and accessibility of online couples therapy are worth exploring!

When should we reach out for Couples Therapy?

As with any mental health issue, the sooner we can reach out for help, the better. However, when couples are devoted to each other and are willing to work on issues within the context of couples therapy, that is always helpful. The motivation to begin treatment and engage in it is always positive. When a couple is willing, engaged, and motivated, it can often enhance the effectiveness of treatment. 

When a motivated couple engages in couples therapy, they can learn about their issues from a different perspective. This might include:

  • Learning when conflict is arising with your partner and how to resolve it with more effective communication tools
  • Discovering why our partners might be struggling or disengaged with the relationship and how to bring back feelings of connectedness
  • Working with a therapist in couples therapy can provide a safe space to discuss difficult feelings and emotions with the guidance of a couples therapist.

No matter what stage of a relationship you are in, you and your partner can always reach out for online couples therapy. It is always an option to try and improve the quality of a relationship. 

What is Family Therapy?

Families are an ever-evolving system. Within that system, individuals grow, develop, shift and change. Managing that change and evolution can be challenging. One family member might be struggling, which can impact other individuals within the family system. When family conflict grows and develops, it can be time to contemplate whether family therapy might be helpful.

As with couples therapy, family therapy is not about finding a therapist who will “tell you what to do.” Instead, it is about working with a neutral consultant who can guide individuals and provide helpful tools and strategies. Individuals can try different approaches when they become more mindful of their actions. When one family member (or more) changes in a helpful way, it can also shift the rest of the system positively.

Mental health issues within one family member can also impact the rest of the family system. A skilled family therapist can engage all members during family therapy and better understand how an individual can be supported in a healthy way. There is no age limit for family members to begin family therapy. Children within the family might be younger or even emerging adults. Regardless, family therapy can shift the system to function more healthily for all members. 

What Family Therapy Approaches does FTPS Offer?

Our approach to family therapy focuses on Emotionally Focused Family Therapy. Our therapists will work with your family to restore connection and promote resilience in family relationships. In this approach, the therapist will work with your family to create new patterns of parental availability, responsiveness, and coherent attachment communications. This allows families to face developmental change and life challenges better.

​​Our therapists also use Narrative Therapy for both couples and family therapy work. This approach is based on the premise that we story our lives from our individual experiences (i.e., our personal narrative forms the basis of our understanding and identity). This is a profoundly respectful and highly collaborative approach. Individuals are viewed as experts in their own life experiences. In this approach, our therapist works with you and your partner or family to help you better understand and separate from identified issues. This is done by exploring the communication of these personal stories. These stories contain values, preferences, and unhelpful interpretations of events. This narrative becomes the material through which change is jointly explored in the context of therapy.

Another approach used at FTPS is Structural family therapy. This type of family therapy intervention focuses on observing and modifying interactions among family members. The therapist will regard the family as a system and work with individuals to improve communication and revise rules that dictate how the family operates (i.e., its structure). Within this approach, all family members are encouraged to attend and participate. These interactions give the therapist a window into the dynamics of the family structure. This can allow patterns to be addressed and the system to shift into more adaptive functioning methods. Research has found this approach to be another effective intervention used in family therapy. 

Our couples and family therapists at FTPS have strong mental health backgrounds. This allows them to provide comprehensive treatment planning and pay attention to many important factors that are happening during therapy. This is an essential aspect of the work our therapists do when conducting couples and family therapy. 

How Do I Find Couples and Family Therapy?

Does FTPS provide couples and family therapy near me? We provide online couples therapy throughout Ontario, so please contact us if you live anywhere in Ontario! We also offer family support throughout Ontario and BC so please reach out to us to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions

As with any therapy, you always want to ensure your therapist has the training to help you with your presenting issues. Regarding couples therapy, seeking a therapist with specific training in couple therapy is imperative. At FTPS, our couples therapists have a strong focus on mental health. This means they have training and understanding of how mental health issues occur and how they can impact a couple or family system. This lens can be very advantageous as they will be able to address the challenges within the couple and assess any mental health issues arising for one or both partners. 

This type of therapy is based on what is called the Gottman Method. This approach incorporates assessment and intervention strategies to enhance “relationship wellness”. It is an approach developed by two psychologists, Drs. John and Julie Gottman. This couples therapy approach strongly focuses on communication and strengthening the connection of the relationship.

The goals of Gottman Method Couple Therapy are:

  • To defuse conflictual verbal communication between partners
  • To enhance intimacy, respect, and affection
  • To eliminate barriers that might be impacting the growth of the relationship
  • To amplify the empathy and understanding that is occurring in the relationship itself

Couples therapy does not signal that a relationship has come to an end. It is a sign that individuals within the relationship might not be happy and are not feeling as connected as they did before. However, individuals willing and motivated to engage with a therapist can find the treatment very effective. No matter what stage of your relationship (i.e., a new one or one that has lasted many years), it is always important to reach out for support when you feel that you are struggling.

It is essential to ensure that you receive an effective type of intervention when seeking couples therapy. A recent study found that Emotion Focused Couples Therapy is an effective treatment, as it is related to marital satisfaction. Specifically, this type of intervention was found to facilitate change for the couple during treatment and sustain these gains after treatment ended. 

If you are finding it difficult to fit in therapy, consider starting online couples therapy. You and your partner can begin to work on relationship issues within the comfort of your own home. This can be very helpful for busy couples and those with young children. 

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