Strategic Couples Therapy: Techniques, Working and Benefits of It

Strategic Couples Therapy

In the past few decades, relationship counseling has changed drastically. While traditional couples therapy focuses on solving individual issues, Strategic Couples Therapy (SCT) is based on a more systemic approach. This type of therapy recognizes that relationships are dynamic systems and works to resolve underlying conflicts. As with any type of therapy, Strategic Couples Therapy can be incredibly beneficial when it is used correctly. In this article, we will explore what SCT is and how it can improve your relationship by helping you understand yourself and your partner better.

What is Strategic Couples Therapy?

Strategic Couples Therapy

Strategic couples therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on helping couples improve their relationship. This therapy can help couples communicate better, resolve conflict, and strengthen their relationship. Strategic couples therapy can also help couples who are considering divorce or separation.

This type of therapy is also a form of systemic therapy, which means it looks at the systems and patterns within a relationship. The therapist will ask couples to look at how they interact in different situations and identify patterns that may be causing problems. Through this process, couples can learn new ways to respond to each other that are more effective.

The origin of strategic couples therapy lies in the work of Jay Haley, a psychotherapist and family therapist. He developed this type of therapy to help couples overcome their conflicts more quickly and effectively.

Key Aspects of Strategic Couples Therapy

Key Aspects of Strategic Couples Therapy

This type of therapy has been a popular and effective choice for many couples due to its unique approach that combines problem-solving and communication skills with cognitive behavioral techniques.

Some key aspects of strategic couple therapy are:


One of the most important aspects of strategic couple therapy is working on communication techniques. This includes active listening and learning to understand each other’s perspectives. The goal is to ensure that both partners are expressing their feelings and thoughts in a way that the other can understand, while also making sure that they are communicating openly and honestly.

Goal Setting

During strategic couple therapy, couples work together to set specific goals for their relationship. These may be short-term and long-term goals, such as improving communication or resolving an issue that has been causing difficulties in the relationship. This helps couples stay focused on achieving their desired outcome while also giving them a sense of direction during the therapy process.

Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

Strategic couple therapy also involves the use of cognitive behavioral techniques, which are based on the idea that our thoughts and feelings affect our behavior. This type of therapy helps couples identify and address unhealthy thought patterns or beliefs that may be contributing to their relationship issues. Through this process, they can learn new ways of thinking and behaving that can help them improve their relationship.

Uncovering Unhelpful Patterns

Finally, strategic couple therapy helps couples uncover unhelpful patterns in the way they interact with each other. Through this process, they can identify triggers and underlying issues that are causing tension or conflict in the relationship. This helps them gain a better understanding of each other and work together to create better solutions for their problems.

Overall, strategic couple therapy is an effective way to help couples improve their relationship. By focusing on communication, goal setting, cognitive behavioral techniques, and uncovering unhelpful patterns.

Pros and Cons of Strategic Couples Therapy

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, and strategic couples therapy is no different.


Some of the advantages of this form of couples therapy include:

  • It focuses on problem-solving, so couples can quickly move through the issues that have been causing problems in their relationship.
  • It helps couples understand each other better, which can lead to closer communication and understanding.
  • Also, It is goal-oriented, so couples can focus on what they want to achieve in their relationship and work towards that goal.
  • It can be adapted for different couples, so the therapy can be tailored to meet the specific needs of each couple.


Some of the disadvantages of this form of couples therapy include:

  • Some couples may find it too clinical or rigid in its approach.
  • It is not suitable for all couples, as it requires both partners to be committed and willing to work together.
  • It can be difficult to maintain the focus of the therapy and stay on track with the goals that were set at the beginning.
  • If one partner is unwilling or unable to participate in the therapy, it is not likely to be successful. It can also be difficult to motivate a reluctant partner.

What to Expect in a Session of Strategic Couples Therapy?

Expectations of Strategic Couples Therapy

The expectations of a session of strategic couples therapy vary depending on the individual needs of each couple. Sessions can be held both in-person and online, and typically involve open discussion between the couple and the counselor about their relationship and any issues that need to be addressed.

The therapist will guide in understanding the dynamics between spouses, offer strategies to resolve conflicts, build trust and communication skills, and provide tools to strengthen the relationship. During a session of strategic couples therapy, clients can expect to discuss topics such as:

  • Identifying areas where conflicts arise in the relationship
  • Examining and understanding the couple’s behavior patterns and dynamics
  • Understanding each partner’s needs
  • Exploring potential solutions
  • Building effective communication skills and trust
  • Creating meaningful strategies to strengthen the relationship
  • Developing a plan for moving forward together.

The therapist will work with each partner to help them understand their individual needs and contributions to the couple’s dynamic, as well as how they can both better serve one another to reach harmony and balance within their relationship.

The goal of strategic couples therapy is to help the couple move towards a healthier, more balanced relationship. With the guidance of the therapist, couples can develop better communication skills and learn how to effectively resolve conflicts to create a stronger bond between them.

Alternatives to Strategic Couples Therapy

If you’re seeking couples therapy but are turned off by the idea of strategic couples therapy, don’t worry – there are plenty of other options out there. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Traditional Couples Therapy: This type of therapy is more focused on communication and problem-solving than strategy. It can be helpful for couples who are struggling with day-to-day issues or communication breakdowns.
  • Solution-Focused Therapy: This type of therapy is shorter in duration and focuses on specific goals that the couple wants to achieve. It’s a good option for couples who want to work on specific issues and see results quickly.
  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy: This type of therapy is based on research conducted by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. It’s focused on building intimacy, managing conflict, and strengthening friendships within the relationship.
  • Imago Relationship Therapy: This type of therapy uses a unique approach that helps couples understand and heal the wounds from their past relationships. It can be helpful for couples who want to improve their communication and resolve past hurts.
  • Narrative Therapy: This type of therapy uses storytelling to help couples understand their relationships from a different perspective. It can be helpful for couples who want to explore the deeper meaning behind their conflicts.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy: This type of therapy is focused on deepening the emotional connection between partners. It can help couples process and healthily understand their emotions, strengthening their relationship.

No matter what kind of couples therapy you choose, it’s important to find a therapist who is experienced and knowledgeable.


Strategic couples therapy can provide couples with the skills necessary to improve their relationship. It centers around developing effective communication, problem-solving, understanding each other’s needs and emotions, and resolution of conflicts. The goal is to make sure that both partners can maintain a healthy and fulfilling connection in the long run. With practice and commitment, strategic couple therapy can help you develop lasting solutions for your marriage or relationship troubles.

For more information, please contact MantraCare. Relationships are an essential part of human life. It is the connection between people, and it helps us to form social bonds and understand and empathize with others. If you have any queries regarding Online Relationship Counseling experienced therapists at MantraCare can help: Book a trial therapy session

Try MantraCare Wellness Program free

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.