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Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy

What is Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy (IBCT)?

IBCT is an evidence-based treatment for couples that has shown to help couples improve their pattern of communication and create more positive exchanges in the relationship. IBCT has been disseminated widely across many academic medical centers because of the effectiveness demonstrated in research studies.

What are relationship problems caused by?

According to IBCT theory, relationship problems are caused by a combination of a triggering event mixed with a sensitive reaction. Changing triggers events or changing the way we respond and, ideally, the combination of the two are often what contributes to the healing of the relationship.

What are the goals of IBCT?

Although many come to couples therapy with the goal of changing their partner, our overall goal is to help each partner express their unique perspective, help gain greater perspective of their partner’s experience, and to change the pattern of communication that often leads to difficulties in the relationship. Collaboratively, we work towards creating a DEEP understanding of the relationship:

  • Differences

    What are some of the natural differences in the relationship? (e.g. “I want to save money for our future and all he/she wants to do is spend it.”)

  • Emotional reactions/sensitivities

    What are some of the reasons that make “these” particular situations so triggering for you? (e.g. “My parents cheated on each other and it makes me sensitive when I see my partner talking to other men.”)

  • External circumstances/stressors

    What are some external factors that contribute to the present difficulties in the relationship? (e.g. “I lost my job.”)

  • Pattern of interaction

    What is the pattern of communication that contributes to some of the difficulties? (e.g. “When I ask questions, he/she dodges them.”)

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