There’s a misconception that couples therapy is a last-ditch effort to save a relationship that’s hanging by a proverbial thread. That if a couple is in counseling, it’s a sure sign they’re “having problems."

The reality? Couples therapy can benefit even the most stable couples. It can even function as a bonding ritual, especially when done in the comfort of your own home. When you remove the clinical setting, therapy sessions can feel more comfortable and intimate. 

BetterHelp, known for its virtual therapy offerings, allows couples to be matched with a licensed couples therapist online. It couldn’t be simpler: You can expect to be matched with a couples therapist in just 48 hours; from there, you can schedule sessions to suit your availability. For couples who have been on the fence about starting therapy (or are simply looking for a new way to bond with one another), this represents a wonderful avenue for connection.

Couples can even come to think of therapy sessions as the new way to engage in quality time together rather than relying solely on traditional “date nights."

Yes, going out to a nice dinner is a way for couples to enjoy quality time together — but it isn’t the only way. Couples who are looking for a new way to connect may want to give couples therapy a try.

“Couples therapy is a good way for couples to spend quality time together because it’s a dedicated window of time for couples to focus on what matters most in their relationship and how they can best strengthen it,” says Sonni Williams, LPC, a Licensed Professional Counselor in South Carolina. “It’s a time for couples to remember what’s important to them in their relationship and also a time for them to discover new things about their partner and new ways to be together.  When both parties want to make their relationship work, couples therapy can be a great tool to build a foundation for a healthy, balanced, respectful, and loving relationship.”

“This space offers the opportunity for vulnerability and validation to encourage connection and safety in the foundation of the relationship. Additionally, having a dedicated time to connect can act as an anchor during periods of life that may feel unstable or uncertain,” adds Brittany Avnieli, LMFT, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California.

Couples may be apprehensive to start therapy — here’s how to make it more comfortable.

Enduring misconceptions aside, it’s also worth noting that people have so much on their plates these days, and carving time to attend therapy sessions can be tough. BetterHelp’s online offerings eliminate the need to commute to and from a therapist’s office, and flexible scheduling allows couples to set up appointments outside of traditional work hours. With BetterHelp, you don’t have to deal with the headache of trying to find a therapist, gauge their availability, and drive to and from appointments. All you need to do is fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

It can also help to reframe ideas about couples therapy.

Let go of old ideas about couples therapy. Think of it as both a maintenance tool for your relationship and a bonding ritual you can enjoy together. Avnieli offers suggestions for making sessions both comfortable and productive.

“Some ways that couples can make at-home therapy sessions more comfortable and productive would be finding a quiet, confidential space to have the session, being prepared for the session with any assignments given, removing any outside distractions ([such as] cell phones, work, pets), and doing your best to present with openness and willingness to engage,” says Avnieli. “Taking the initiative to create a space that fosters the opportunity for growth and connection for these sessions can support the quality of therapy. These steps also help couples display interest in the process and support each other.”

Contrary to the misguided idea that couples therapy is something people should do only if their relationship faces major issues, regular therapy sessions can be done even when a relationship feels healthy and stable.

“I wholeheartedly agree that couples therapy can be used as a maintenance tool as opposed to something being wrong in the relationship,” says Williams. “The key is making sure that you are on the same page as your partner in regards to the goal of the relationship.”

“Couples therapy does not always have to be about fixing something or associated with problems — it can be a great opportunity to increase respect, understanding, affection, intimacy, validation and so much more for partners,” adds Avnieli.

Finding a therapist who puts both parties at ease is key.

“The other common area of concern with therapy is connecting with a therapist,” says Avnieli. “Finding a therapist that is knowledgeable and creates a safe, comfortable space for you to explore your relationship is an important part of the therapy process.”

With BetterHelp, you can easily switch therapists if you don’t click with your initial match. 

Be the expert in you.

Take the Quiz

Both parties should be ready for couples therapy.

 “If it’s a brand new relationship, I probably would not suggest couples therapy,” says Williams. “I think it works best when the people in the relationship want to strengthen their bond or know they have some blindspots that would benefit from having a non-judgmental third party to help them do the work.”

And sometimes, one half of a couple is ready to start couples therapy while the other is not quite there, for whatever reason. As Williams and Avnieli point out, being on the same page and approaching the process with a mutual commitment to doing the work is key — but there are ways for couples to work towards a place where both parties are ready for therapy.

“On top of preconceived notions about what therapy is and how it works, a big challenge for couples, in the beginning, can be feeling like you are two separate people, battling the problems alone. When deciding to engage in therapy, be mindful of the fact that you are a team and support this notion with the intentions and goals you wish to accomplish from therapy,” says Avnieli. “Combining the clarity of the ‘why; and the ‘where we want to go with this’ with each other and the therapist, will start to relieve some of the apprehension and reluctance felt.”

“The best way for a couple to ease themselves into couples therapy is to be transparent with each other about why they are seeking therapy in the first place and making sure they are on the same page,” Williams adds. “It’s also important for both parties to remember that they are on the same team when it comes to couples therapy and not against each other.”

Get started with BetterHelp today, and enjoy 20% off your first month. Discount code “rescripted" will be automatically applied.

Zara Hanawalt is a freelance journalist and mom of twins. She's written for outlets like Parents, MarieClaire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Motherly, and many others. In her (admittedly limited!) free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, trying new restaurants, and traveling with her family.