Advantages to Conjoint Couples Work
A number of authors have outlined the advantages inherent in the cotherapy arrangement (Block, 1961; Bowers & Gauron, 1981; Brent & Marino, 1982; Dick etal., 1980; Russell & Russell, 1979); Hoffman and Lamb (2006).
There are a number of therapeutic advantages to this approach:
1. Both members of the couple have an advocate (their "own" therapist).
2. Individual issues often surface as obstacles to relationship success, and in some cases, under a traditional model of couples counseling, these would need to be addressed by a different therapist, who wouldn't be familiar with the history. The conjoint couples counseling model provides a means to deal with these kinds of issues within the safety of the existing therapeutic relationship.
3. Counseling time is maximized when "couple" time can be spent focusing on the couple's interactions and "individual" time can be spent dealing with the issues that each person brings into the relationship.
4. One therapist can be "process observing" at all times, and this allows for additional insight that may be overlooked with just one therapist.
5. Four heads working on a problem are always better than three!! Couples benefit from the richness of having access to the experiences of two different counselors.
Many couples we have worked with have told us they feel like this model allows them to get their work done quickly and efficiently. As two therapists working with one couple, our role is to provide a supportive, emotionally safe atmosphere in which both people can grow and change. Having both of us in the room provides balance, and affirms that both individuals are responsible for creating the discord as well as the harmony in their relationship. The focus of work is centered on the strengths of the relationship, and on improving communication, inviting each partner to participate, address and change what prevents the relationship from moving towards a more loving and effective partnership.