Couples Therapy: Why, When, and How -- An Interview With Andrew Roffman, ACSW (page 2)

— NYU Child Study Center
Updated on Jul 9, 2010

Do both partners have to want to participate?

It is often the case that one partner is more interested in therapy than another. While it is ultimately necessary for both partners to participate, therapy often begins with one member more interested or motivated than another. However, the less interested party frequently becomes very involved and committed to the process.

How long does it take?

Every couple is different, so it is difficult to predict the length of therapy. Couples therapy does tend to be briefer than individual therapy, however.

What should couples look for in choosing a therapist?

While any licensed mental health professional can offer couples therapy, it is best to see someone who has had advanced training and supervision in the practice of couples therapy. An alternative is to see a clinician who is undergoing training in a recognized family and couples therapy program such as NYU Child Study Center's Family Studies Programs.

What about prevention programs?

Prevention programs such as the Prevention Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP®) offered at the NYU Child Study Center have been shown to increase relationship satisfaction over time. In either two-week or one-day educational and skill-building workshops, partners learn how to air their gripes and concerns constructively, how to solve problems and how to examine hidden issues and expectations that can act as a time bomb in a marriage. They also learn how to improve their sex lives, increase commitment, manage time together and have more fun. Programs such as PREP® are for non-distressed couples and thus are not a substitute for couples therapy.


About the Family Studies Program.

About the NYU Child Study Center

The New York University Child Study Center is dedicated to increasing the awareness of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders and improving the research necessary to advance the prevention, identification, and treatment of these disorders on a national scale. The Center offers expert psychiatric services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families with emphasis on early diagnosis and intervention. The Center's mission is to bridge the gap between science and practice, integrating the finest research with patient care and state-of-the-art training utilizing the resources of the New York University School of Medicine. The Child Study Center was founded in 1997 and established as the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry within the NYU School of Medicine in 2006. For more information, please call us at (212) 263-6622 or visit us at

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