Techniques of Couple Therapy 

Techniques of Couple Therapy: Cognitive behavioral marital therapy 

Techniques of Couple Therapy are being increasingly applied to address challenges within close personal relationships, specifically targeting the alteration of recurring maladaptive dynamics in marriages and family interactions.

​​Some effective techniques of couple therapy are:

Increase Positive and decrease negative behavior exchanges

  1. Exchange more positive behavior (wish list you would like to experience) and decrease negative beh
  2. Love days or caring days where they are asked to do something nice for their partner. With caring days, both partners agree to do more things than their partner has listed as enjoyable. With love days on alternate days, couples may be invited to do a range of things from their spouse’s list of enjoyable events and activities. 

Behavioral contracts:

  1. Quid pro quo – each spouse agrees to do specified positive things requested by the partner in return for the other doing specified positive things. With quid pro quo contingency contracts, couples are invited to negotiate exchanges in which one good turn begets another. For example, ‘If you make dinner, I’ll wash up’.
  2. Good faith contract- each person agrees to perform positive behavior requested by the partner and receives rewards for his or her behavior. With good faith contracts, the consequences for both members of the couple engaging in positive behaviors are specified but are not linked. For example, ‘If I make dinner, I may go sailing
  3. Wholistic contract- each partner agrees to do some unspecified number of desired pattern behavior from each spouse’s list of 10 to 20 desired pattern behavior.

Emotional expressiveness training

spouses can take turns and express their thoughts and emotions subjectively, briefly, specifically include positive feelings, and express caring and empathy. The listener should include acceptance through voice tone, facial expression, and posture and restate the summary of the partner’s important thoughts and emotions. 

Communication skills :

Couples are instructed through modeling, behavioral rehearsal, and written handouts to express their desires directly, avoid extreme statements, acknowledge positive behaviors, focus on the present, and utilize non-verbal cues. Mastering these skills starts with practicing neutral, non-emotional topics and progressively applying them to more challenging discussions.

Problem-Solving Training:

  1. A specific statement of a problem
  2. Alternative solutions
  3. Adopt a final solution
  4. Select a trial period for implementing their solution.

Cognitive Restructuring:

Cognitive restructuring aims to challenge and modify negative thought patterns. 

Techniques include: 

a) Keeping a daily record diary to identify perceptual errors. 

b) Testing the appropriateness of attributions and expectancies through logical analysis. 

c) Engaging in Socratic questioning to explore alternative explanations. 

d) Evaluating the rationality of assumptions and standards. 

e) Gathering evidence to challenge negative schemas.


Cognitive-behavioral marital therapy offers a range of effective techniques of couple therapy to address challenges within intimate relationships. By focusing on modifying dysfunctional patterns and enhancing communication, couples can build healthier and more fulfilling connections. By employing these techniques, couples can work towards strengthening their relationships and achieving greater satisfaction and harmony.

Source: Cognitive Behavioural Marital Therapy, Baucom, D, H., & Epstein, N. (1990).


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