Couples therapy has existed for more than 80 years, during which time it has developed into multiple methods of practice over time. Couples therapy for heterosexual couples is primarily used to address relationship distress and improve relationship satisfaction. Couples therapy can also be used to help with a wide range of problems that may be considered individual, such as eating disorders, issues of grief and loss, and even smoking cessation, as the support of one’s partner can be instrumental in recovery of mental health.

Couples therapists largely look for a variety of patterns that emerge from repetitive interactions between partners, known as dynamics. A common dynamic is the pursuer-distancer pattern, in which one partner (the pursuer) habitually seeks the involvement of the other partner (the ...

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