couples therapy austin
November 06, 2023 By Leah Malone

How Couples Therapy Improves Treatment for Women in Outpatient Programs


Substance use disorder (SUD) can cause tension in close relationships. Couples may struggle to feel comfortable with making necessary life changes to support ongoing sobriety. According to Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, “Relationship dysfunction . . . is associated with increased problematic substance use and posttreatment relapse among alcoholics and drug abusers.” Some couples benefit from attending therapy together. Emerge Recovery TX uses evidence-based methods, including couples therapy, to help women heal and build healthier relationships. 

What Is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a form of psychotherapy focused on the relationship between individuals in a romantic relationship. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Couples therapy is unique, in that it requires the therapist to work with and build a therapeutic alliance with both members of the couple together.” The clinical team at Emerge Recovery TX supports clients and their loved ones during treatment and early recovery. Couples are provided the resources and tools they need to heal and grow together. 

Therapy for couples generally involves the following: 

  • Discussions of how substance abuse or mental health issues have affected the relationship 
  • Psychoeducation to ensure partners fully understand the diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of SUD
  • Discussions of everyday challenges and situations affecting the relationship

Couples or individuals undergoing treatment for SUD and mental health issues benefit from having an open line of communication. A therapist guides couples through discussing their feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a safe space. Often, sessions provide clients with essential insights about symptoms, side effects, and triggers related to substance abuse. Therapy also allows couples to work through any underlying trauma, tension, or conflict affecting the relationship. 

How Does Couples Therapy Reduce the Risk of Relapse?

The connections between SUD, mental health disorders, and relationship issues are often complicated. According to the previously mentioned article by Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, “Couples in which one partner abuses drugs or alcohol usually also have extensive relationship problems, often with high levels of relationship dissatisfaction, instability (for example, situations where one or both partners are taking significant steps toward separation or divorce), and verbal and physical aggression.” Couples therapy allows clients to find a healthy way to manage their condition while addressing conflict, trauma, or emotional instability within relationships.

Partners who attend therapy together reduce the risk of relapse by doing the following:

  • Improving communication
  • Reducing tension or conflict within the relationship 
  • Decreasing overall stress 

Even healthy romantic relationships benefit from couples therapy during early recovery from SUD. 

The Benefits of Couples Counseling in Outpatient Treatment

Women participating in outpatient programs return home every night and on the weekends. Some clients may struggle to manage their condition without a partner’s understanding and support. Couples therapy helps clients create healthier family dynamics. Outpatient programs focus on preparing clients and their loved ones for long-term recovery. 

Couples therapy also offers the following benefits to women in outpatient programs: 

  • Ensures couples understand the realities of treatment and recovery 
  • Builds trust between partners and their care team 
  • Allows partners to support one another more effectively

Partners in therapy have an opportunity to address underlying trauma or relationship issues affecting their mental health and recovery. 

Couples Therapy at Emerge Recovery TX

Emerge Recovery TX provides women in treatment with the tools and skill development they need to build healthier relationships. Couples therapy offers additional support and guidance for partners struggling to overcome challenges related to substance abuse or mental health disorders. Most people in couples therapy also attend individual therapy. Combining the two therapeutic approaches increases the effectiveness of both. 

Some of the therapies offered at Emerge Recovery TX include: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) 
  • Gender-specific psychotherapy 
  • Trauma therapy
  • Alternative holistic therapies

Clients navigating trauma-related issues may benefit from eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and other trauma-focused therapies. Every clinician at Emerge Recovery TX is qualified to provide EMDR and trauma therapy. Couples therapy can improve the effectiveness of EMDR and other trauma-focused therapies by reducing stress and improving overall mental health.

What to Expect During Sessions

Every therapist has a unique approach to therapy. In addition, each couple requires different areas of focus. Emerge Recovery TX personalizes therapy sessions to ensure the best possible outcome. 

Therapy sessions are tailored to the needs of the individuals. However, couples therapy often involves the following: 

  • Identifying potential triggers and developing strategies to cope with them
  • Discussing relationship issues and finding healthy solutions
  • Identifying and changing unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors 
  • Finding positive ways to reduce conflict and build stronger bonds 
  • Identifying the root cause of traumas affecting the relationship

Outpatient programs allow clients to go home with their loved ones each day and practice establishing healthy routines. Reducing emotional distress and tension within relationships helps women in recovery heal. Couples become stronger when they grow together under the guidance of a trained couples therapist. Emerge Recovery TX encourages clients and their significant others to collaborate closely with their care team. The clinicians have private practices and may continue to provide couples therapy after clients complete treatment. 

Many people going through treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health disorders struggle with relationship issues related to their condition. Some couples may have unaddressed relationship conflict, tension, or trauma affecting their ability to heal and move forward in their recovery. Couples therapy is one treatment partners can use to address relationship problems and build healthier connections. Therapy sessions allow each person to feel heard, valued, and understood. At Emerge Recovery TX, therapists guide clients and their loved ones through the process of overcoming challenges and identifying potential problems. Couples use therapy to recover and grow together. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (737) 237-9663.

About Author

Leah Malone

Learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings can be painful and disturbing at times. When Leah was able to see her behavior patterns and decided there was enough pain to be disturbed, she became motivated to make changes and accept the work that needed to be done to heal. She needed direction and had no clue how to heal on her own. Through a connection with God, authentic connection with others, honesty, willingness, and humility, Leah is now in recovery from addiction and trauma.

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