Couples therapy is primarily intended for couples, either married or not, who have emotional problems; however, it may also be provided for business partners or coworkers. Most often, it is used in situations where two people feel the need to resolve an incident or a problem that caused stress in their relationship. It may also be used to improve the relationship by enhancing mutual understanding. Couples therapy may be carried out before a marriage in order to provide help with defining the relationship, clarifying responsibilities and obligations of each partner, or articulating possible concerns. Partners may enter the therapy to make a decision whether to stay together or separate. Couples therapy may be useful even after the decision to separate has been made and, especially, during the legal divorce process to provide help with overcoming difficulties encountered during the process and their negative effects on children.
Couples therapy is focused on partners' expectations, the relationship, communication dynamics and, most often, on problem solving. Sometimes, the therapist may have individual sessions with each partner, especially in situations that bear heavily on children.