Couples Counselling Vancouver

Since 2014 we have helped couples move from coexisting to THRIVING.

What is couples counselling?

Perhaps you’ve heard it called marriage counselling or couples therapy. All refer to counselling for relationship services that help to interrupt argument cycles and resentments that have become unmanageable and overwhelming. This practice helps to transform negative interactions into positive ones, lowering anger while increasing safety and trust. Vancouver couples counselling has become one of the most accessed therapy services particularly following the pandemic.

A happy couple with the woman piggyback riding on the man, both looking at the camera with big smiles.

Benefits of couples counselling

Counselling for relationships helps partners to develop communication skills and strategies to resolve ongoing tensions. More than that, however, it helps partners to know how to soothe each other during heated, triggered discussions versus further ‘fan the flames.’ This is the most important part because no matter how good your communication, that goes out the window when you feel hurt or angry. So,

Does Counselling Actually Help Relationships?

Yes, counselling can indeed be highly effective in improving relationships. Here are some key ways it helps:

  • Enhanced Communication Skills: Couple counselling teaches partners how to communicate more effectively. This includes learning to listen actively, express feelings constructively, and understand the other person’s perspective. By improving communication, couples can better address and resolve conflicts.
  • Conflict Resolution Strategies: Couples learn strategies to resolve disputes without escalating them. This includes techniques for compromise, negotiation, and understanding the underlying issues behind conflicts.
  • Emotional Regulation: Couple counselling helps individuals learn how to manage their emotions better, especially during heated discussions. It helps couples recognise triggers, understand emotional responses, and calm down before addressing issues.
  • Deepening Understanding and Empathy: Couples therapy can help partners understand each other’s needs, fears, and desires more deeply. This fosters empathy and can strengthen the bond between partners.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues: Often, recurring conflicts in relationships stem from deeper issues, like past traumas, insecurities, or unmet needs. Counselling for relationship help uncover and address these underlying issues, leading to a more stable and satisfying relationship.
  • Building Trust and Intimacy: Through shared experiences in therapy and improved communication, couples can rebuild trust and enhance emotional intimacy.
  • Preventing Future Issues: By learning these skills, couples can better navigate future challenges, reducing the likelihood of serious conflicts and misunderstandings.

When to seek couples therapy?

We recommend seeking couples therapy in Vancouver when you both feel invested in creating positive change. Whether you have building resentments or feel unheard, or are so overwhelmed you are doubting the future of your relationships, couples therapy can assist most if you both can commit to understanding each other’s perspective with professional assistance.

  • Communication Breakdown: If you find that most conversations turn into arguments or you’re unable to discuss important matters without conflict, it’s a sign that communication has broken down. Couple counselling provides tools and techniques to improve communication.
  • Trust Issues: It could stem from infidelity, financial secrecy, or other breaches of trust. Counselling can help address the root causes of these trust issues and work towards rebuilding trust.
  • Intimacy Decline: A noticeable decrease in emotional or physical intimacy that isn’t due to medical reasons might indicate underlying relationship issues. Counselling can explore these issues in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Life Transitions: Major life events like child birth, job loss, or retirement can strain a relationship. Couples counselling can help navigate these transitions more smoothly.
  • Feeling Disconnected or Alone: If you feel lonely or disconnected from your partner, despite being in a relationship, it might be time to seek help. Counselling can help uncover the reasons behind this feeling and work towards reconnection.
  • Recurring Conflicts: If you find yourselves having the same arguments repeatedly without resolution, counselling can help break this cycle by identifying underlying issues and teaching conflict resolution skills.
  • Considering Separation or Divorce: If you’re contemplating separation or divorce but are unsure, counselling can provide a space to explore these feelings and decide the best course of action.
  • Traumatic Experiences: If one or both partners have experienced trauma, it can significantly impact the relationship. Couple Counsellors can help process these experiences and mitigate their impact on the relationship.
  • Different Parenting Styles: Disagreements over parenting can create significant tension. Couple Counsellors can assist in finding common ground and developing a consistent parenting approach.
  • Loss of Individual Identity: If one or both partners feel they have lost their identity in the relationship, counselling can help rediscover personal goals and identities within the context of a healthy relationship.
A happy couple embraces as the man gives the woman a kiss on her cheek.

Who can benefit from couples therapy?

Anyone willing to try it out can benefit. Couples looking to save their marriage, prevent future distress or even end a relationship as smoothly as possible may receive benefits from relationship counselling Vancouver. Those who commit to a series of sessions tend to experience the greatest amount of positive change because even attending therapy is something that we improve upon with practice.

In short, Couples Counselling in Vancouver is ideal for couples experiencing one or more of the following:

  • Communication Issues
  • Affairs and Infidelity
  • Trust Issues
  • Major Life Transitions
  • Parenting Challenges
  • Couples Contemplating Divorce or Separation
  • Sexual and Emotional Intimacy Issues
  • Different Cultural and Religious Backgrounds
  • Chronic Stress and Mental Health Issues
  • Financial Stress and Disagreements
  • Addictions and Substance Abuse
  • Relationship Uncertainty
  • Differences in Life Goals and Values


How can Thrive Downtown Counselling Centre help you with Couples Counselling in Vancouver?

How does couples therapy work?

You’ll meet with your couples counsellor Vancouver for 50 or 75-minute appointments, ideally every week or two at first. Your therapist will make it clear they aren’t there to choose sides but to team up to help you abort negative cycles of interaction. They will help you to understand that people very often have different emotional experiences of the same event, helping you to de-escalate tensions. Work is done mostly in session but may include practices to take home.

What to expect from Couples Counselling at Thrive Downtown Counselling Centre?

You can expect respect, courtesy and awareness that folks often come in very upset and nervous. We are here to make the experience smooth so that you learn to look forward to practicing a more secure relationship. You can also expect complete transparency and clarity around exercises and suggestions. We promise this wont be like couples therapy you’ve seen in movies!

A happy couple sits in a park, embracing each other while sitting under a tree.

Thrive offers both in-person and online couples counselling sessions.


$200 + GST


$80 + GST


Couples Counselling Vancouver FAQs

Can couples counselling work?

Yes! With commitment to attend sessions and to release the grip of needing to be ‘right,’ couples regularly improve their connections.

Is counselling covered by insurance BC?

Couple counselling is covered under any insurance plan that covers registered counselling. These days, that is most providers.

How do I prepare for my first couples counselling session?

Your counsellor will share what you need to do. In most cases, you just need to commit to show up on time and bring yourselves to the office.

Can counselling save a marriage?

Yes, but it’s less the counselling that saves the marriage so much as it is learning to send signals to your partner that you have their back and they are not alone in the relationship. Marriages can be deeply enhanced when both partners commit to humble themselves and attend regular sessions.

How do I get the most out of couples therapy?

Most important is to let go of the need to be ‘right’ and start to consider that it’s OK to have different (and even opposite) emotional experiences of the same events.

How often should I go to couples therapy?

It is recommended to come weekly (or at least every second week) in the early stages of couples therapy. After achieving some stability, sessions may be less frequent.

Can couples therapy help a toxic relationship?

Any practice, including couples therapy, can help to reduce ‘toxic’ patterns of resentment and misunderstanding. Your relationship counsellor Vancouver is there to help you understand invisible patterns so that you can step outside of them and change them.

Is it a good idea to do couples counselling if I'm considering leaving the relationship?

It may be. We strongly recommend that this be communicated to your partner, however. If couple therapy is approached where one partner thinks efforts are being made to save the relationship while the other is covertly planning to leave, the work can be hurtful and messy. If this uncertainty is openly shared however, the work can be used to help you decide to continue or the consciously end the relationship.

Is couples counselling recommended if there has been abuse in my relationship?

This is a tricky question. First off, we cannot work with a couple experiencing active abuse. Couples work is about the sensitivities of emotional connection, whereas abuse requires triage and crisis intervention. In cases of discovered abuse, the work shifts to protecting a vulnerable party.

Historical abuse may be different. If a vulnerable party is safe and protected, we may be able to approach the delicate work of couples therapy. Assessment here is case to case, however. We cannot take any risk if it is possible someone could get hurt. If someone is abusive, we cannot take risks of triggering their emotional response.

Is couples counselling just for couples in crisis?

No! In fact we recommend you ‘strike when the iron is cold.’ By learning how to respond to each other’s distress while calm, you practice the hard work that may be used when it really counts later on. You may also deepen your security by sharing positive experiences in a facilitated manner.

Can we bring our kids to our couples therapy session?

No. Couple therapy involves demonstrating negative cycles before your therapist helps you to enact positive ways of interacting. Children can be hurt and confused by seeing their parents go through this process.

How long does couples counselling take to see real results?

This varies. The first phase of couples counselling is about helping you to step back and notice the negative cycles you are stuck in, acting out on ‘autopilot.’ We find that when couples have this basic awareness, things start to improve. While there is major variation between relationships, this often takes about five sessions. 

Will marriage counsellors help couples with an open or polyamorous relationship?

Yes. In particular, we have one counsellor specialized in polyamorous and open relationships who is happy to help.

Can one person book couples therapy for both?

Provided both partners are aware, consenting and commited, it is fine for one partner to handle bookings.

Can couples counselling make things worse?

It depends on what you mean by ‘worse.’ It can definitely feel more chaotic when feelings that have been swept under the rug are finally communicated. This can be distressing. It is also necessary however in the process of feeling better. This is why commiting to several months is necessary, so that you may both enjoy the resolution and relief on the other side of challenging emotions. 

Unlock the key to a stronger, happier relationship with our couples counselling blog series. Discover all the tools and techniques you need to navigate challenges and build a deeper connection with your partner.

What can I do if my partner does not want to go for couples counselling?

It’s important to approach such situations with understanding and patience, recognising that the reluctance to seek counselling often stems from fear, misunderstanding, or stigma associated with therapy.

  • Explore the reasons behind their reluctance.
  • Address the concerns of your partner.
  • Educate your partner about couples counselling and its benefits.
  • Suggest a trial period or limited session.
  • Suggest to choose a Couple Counsellor together.
  • Share success stories of other couples.
  • Be patient and let them think.
  • Respect their decision.