26 Must-Try Couples Therapy Exercises And Activities
Discover the best couples therapy exercises and activities in this article. It is written for therapists and counselors but will also benefit couples who want to improve their relationship with some tools they can even use at home.
The powerful exercises will help to improve communication and listening skills while also helping to develop and (re)build trust.
The exercises include the know-how from different treatment approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy ( CBT ), Positive Psychology, and Mindfulness-based interventions. All these different approaches work wonderfully together and complement each other.
We included exercises for trust-building, deepening the connection, resolving roadblocks, promoting awareness, and improving communication. Some of them can be used during therapy sessions while others work great as homework in couples therapy.
26 Couples Therapy Exercises and Activities
1.) the icebreaker.
Icebreakers can be a great opportunity to te an interesting conversation going and to learn something new about each other. It’s a great exercise for the early stage of any couples therapy or relationship coaching.
Some icebreaker questions are:
- What is a funny story you’ve never told me about?
- What is a childhood or your anecdote you could tell me?
- What did you want to become when you were a child?
- What is an embarrassing moment of your life you’d like to share with me?
Powerful Couples Therapy Exercises For Trust
2.) let’s be honest.
The rules of this exercise are easy. Both partners should answer each other’s questions honestly. This will enhance the connection between each other. You can vary between general and easy to answer questions and end up with philosophical and thought-provoking questions:
- What is your favorite memory of dating me?
- What is your favorite thing that I do for you?
- What’s something you’re glad you’ll never have to do again?
- Which memory comes up when you think about your childhood?
- If you woke up tomorrow with no fear, what would you do first?
- What is one behavior that you never tolerate?
- If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
- What about me made you fall in love?
3.) Try the Trust Fall
The trust fall is an exercise in which one person stands straight, closes their eyes, and lets him- or herself fall without trying to stop it, relying on the partner to catch them. As the name says it’s a trust-building exercise that needs some courage at first.
4.) Share your favorite songs
Each partner is asked to share three of their favorite songs. They should also try to explain the meaning of the songs. Listen to the songs together.
- What does it remind you about?
- Which feelings come up while listening?
- In which mood are you usually listening to it?
Music is very personal and this exercise is a great way to open up and connect with the partner and also express some vulnerability with each other. Maybe the couple even has „their“ song. In this case, both can describe the feelings and emotions that come up while listening.
5.) What do you know about me?
Make a small challenge and find out what the couple knows about each other. After answering one question it’s the other partner’s turn. Some example questions:
- What is the one thing that makes me feel alive?
- What makes me smile?
- What scares me?
- How would my dream holiday look like?
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6.) The favorite book exercise
Ask the couple to swap their favorite books. They should tell each other what they like about this book in particular. How did it influence their life?
Reading the partner’s favorite book can be an opportunity to get a look into the partner’s mind and understand each other better. Discussing the book and the impact it has on one is a great way to deepen the connection of the couple. This is a great homework exercise. Discuss the results together in the next session.
Best Homework For Couples Therapy
7.) the relationship assessment.
The Relationship Assessment is a couples therapy exercise for the early stage. Each partner is asked to answer some basic questions about the relationship. It’s a questionnaire that helps explore the challenges and problems.
It gives you some fundamental background information about the couple. You’ll find out how long the clients know each other, get information about previous relationships or marriages. You’ll also get information about children, the family background, and also stress-factors that may have caused the relationship problem.
This questionnaire should be part of the inventory of any couples therapist or consultant. You can create your own or get the one that’s included here in the couples therapy toolkit.
8.) Identify Relationship Problems
This is another great exercise for the early stage of any relationship coaching or couples therapy. The exercise allows you to identify specific areas to work on with the couple. It’s a set of questions that each partner should answer individually.
You will find out that each partner might identify different problems in their relationship. It’s a homework assignment before or after the first session.
Note the major problems each partner identifies in this questionnaire and specify with them what needs changing.
Possible areas of relationship problems are: Financial, Child-rearing, Communication, Decision-making, Jobs, Controlling each other…
The full exercise is included here
9.) Identify Relationship Goals
Couples therapy is not only about problems, but also about goals. It’s important to find common goals within a relationship. Something both partners are ready to work for. Keep in mind that a goal should always be SMART.
SMART goal means:
- Specific (Is your goal too generic? Specify it!
- Measurable (How can we measure the outcome?)
- Attainable (Is our goal attainable?)
- Realistic (Is our goal realistic?)
- Time-Bound (We want to achieve our goal until…)
The goals or priorities can be different for everyone. Help your clients create and shape a vision for their ideal relationship. The Toolkit includes a ready-to-use worksheet for your sessions. Ask clients to create their goals separately and then try to find a common goal together in one of the first sessions.
10.) The Problem-Solving Blueprint
After the relationship problems have been identified it’s time to solve them one by one. The first step is to connect the individual problem with real-life situations. This will increase the understanding of the origin and the problem itself. Once this is done it’s time to attack the problem and find strategic ways to solve it.
This exercise prompts the couple to come up with creative solutions. The problem-solving blueprint is best used after the exercise where your clients identified the biggest problems that need solving.
It’s also a great tool that comes in handy whenever new problems come up during the coaching/therapy. Assign the tool to each client individually and discuss their answers together.
Each partner defines the problem, describes it in a real-life situation, and is prompted to come up with a creative solution to that problem. The results can be discussed together with the partner and the therapist. The full exercise is included here .
11.) The Pre-Session Check-In – Prepare for each Couples Therapy Session
This is a vital exercise for any marriage or couples therapy. Each partner should sit down individually the day before a session. They should write down what went well since the last session, which change they saw, and what they want to talk about in the next session. It’s a quick progress report that allows each therapist to make their session preparation a matter of a few minutes.
The clients get prompted to focus on the upcoming session to get the most out of it. CleverMemo allows you to assign these kinds of exercises and questionnaires with two single clicks s an action item. You pick a due date, an optional reminder and clients can fill everything out in the stream they share with their therapist.
12.) Therapy Session Gold Nuggets Exercise
This is the perfect addition to the pre-session check-in exercise. Prompt your clients to write down their key insights of each session and share them with you. This should be done individually.
The notes are super helpful as clients reflect on their session while memory is still fresh. They become aware of what they’ve learned, and you get invaluable insights and feedback about what was most valuable to them. Assign this exercise as an action item within CleverMemo. This allows clients to share their answers right in their private stream. Over time you both have a running record about the entire couple therapy with each partner.
- Possible questions are:
- What did you learn in this session?
- The most valuable insight was…
- What do you want to accomplish until our next session?
The complete exercise is part of the C ouples Therapy Toolkit
13.) The Relationship Journal
Keeping a regular relationship journal (daily/weekly) is the perfect exercise to get to know the different perspectives of each partner.
It takes two for a successful relationship. If both parties start journaling about their thoughts, feelings, experiences, mistakes, successes, and wishes, a lot of invaluable insights will be uncovered.
It’s also a great way to call out and keep track of things and habits they don’t like about each other.
The therapist could discuss the journal entries individually with each partner and afterward try to solve and work on them together.
The CleverMemo automation allows you to assign the journal entry as a homework item. Just define how often (e.g. weekly) an entry should be done and the system will send reminders and nudge your clients not to forget their daily or weekly entry.
Rereading past entries is a great way to reflect and uncover recurring patterns, habits, and thoughts. Two journaling templates are included here .
14.) Don’t Overlook Your Qualities And Strengths! – Couples Therapy Exercise
Too often we focus on the bad things and what doesn’t work. This exercise prompts each partner to take a closer look at the strengths. Both their own and their strengths as a couple – as a team Awareness and understanding one’s strengths can be a huge confidence booster.
The couple should make this exercise individually. Sometimes we are sure that we possess certain strengths but our partner may not notice them or take them for granted. It’s also possible that something we consider our strong side (e.g. “I’m a very organized person”) is seen completely different by our partner without us even knowing it (e.g. He/She is a control freak“).
Two great questions to start are:
- Which three big strengths do I think my partner would say I possess?
- What are the strengths we should develop together as a couple?
- The complete exercise is part of the Couples Therapy Toolkit.
15.) The CleverMemo PIT-STOP (R) – Quickly de-escalate any argument with your partner
Even the best couples fight sometimes — that’s just what happens when two people who care about each other spend a lot of time together. But unfortunately, in some cases, arguments can escalate quickly, turning a little disagreement into a big issue.
The CleverMemo PIT-Stop exercise will help your clients to de-escalate any argument or upcoming fight. It’s a simple technique that helps them to step back and become aware of the situation and their feelings. Once the emotions cooled down it’s time to address the topic calmly.
Each time an argument comes up the couple should say some keyword like Pause, Stop, or PIT-Stop and then leave the situation. Each partner takes a seat and writes down their thoughts and feelings. You’ll find the entire exercise including all the questions for clients here .
Effective Couples Therapy Exercises For Communication
Communication and the ability to listen to each other are vital skills for any relationship to be successful. There are several exercises to assess communication issues:
16.) Let’s Improve our Communication
Good communication is an essential part of a healthy relationship. Every relationship has its ups and downs, we all have bad days, but a healthy way of communicating with our partner makes it easier to deal with conflicts and building a stronger relationship.
We cannot read our partner’s mind. That’s why is crucial to tell our significant other how we are feeling, what we want and need and what we are feeling.
Every person has different communication ways and needs of communication. That’s why it’s so important that the couple becomes aware of their current communication patterns. How would they rate their current communication? Are they able to talk about everything with their partner?
This is the first step to improve communication. The whole worksheet is part of the Couples Therapy Toolkit.
17.) The Miracle Question
The miracle question is a great thought experiment in coaching and counseling. The question has its origin in the solution-focused therapy and its name is credited to Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. The focus is on the future, on the goal the client wants to achieve.
This question helps our couple to become aware of their own dreams and desires and learn about their partner’s dreams and desires. It can be very helpful in understanding what both they and their significant other needs to be happy with the relationship.
Ask them to answer the following miracle question:
Imagine while sleeping tonight a miracle occurred: All your current problems disappeared. What would you notice that would tell you life suddenly gotten better? How would life look like?
Tip: Couples Therapy Questions
The miracle question is just one example that shows how great the impact of the right questions can be in couples therapy. Questions can be a great resource for any couples therapist, and relationship counselor, or coach. We created a collection that will help to identify problematic areas within the relationship.
But even when you’re not a therapist, you can use some of them as an icebreaker exercise to get communication with your spouse going. Check out the list of couples therapy questions for your next session here.
18.) Listening Without Interruption
This famous couples therapy exercise focuses on both verbal and nonverbal communication.
Set a timer for 3 minutes. One partner has the chance to speak about whatever they are thinking or feeling without being interrupted. The other partner is not allowed to say anything but could use nonverbal methods to show empathy and understanding.
After three minutes both can discuss their experience, feelings, and observations. Then it’s time to switch roles so that each partner can improve their listening skills.
19.) Repeat it – Exercise
This is a variation of the „Listening without interruption“ exercise.
One is asked to tell a short story (3-5 minutes) while the partner is just listening. Once the story is over the partner is asked to reflect on what they just heard. It’s great training to enhance listening skills.
Some additional Homework Exercises For Couples Therapy
20.) send me a letter.
Both partners are asked to write a letter to each other. In this letter, they can express their frustration, feelings, or desires. For many people, it’s easier to express their emotions and feelings in written form instead of telling it to another person’s face. Each partner is then asked to write a response to their partner’s letter.
Ask your clients to share their letters with you in their CleverMemo stream. You’ll gain invaluable insights that will be useful for the upcoming therapy sessions. Discuss the letters together with them.
21.) Becoming the Best Partner I can be
This exercise will help each partner to find out what they can do to improve their relationship skills and do their part in becoming the best partner they can be.
First, we must recognize our responsibility and not get caught up blaming it all on our partner, even when it appears our partner is the one with the problem.
Let’s take a look at ourselves and what we can do to become the best partner we can be. You’ll find the exercise here.
22.) Get Your Needs Met In Your Relationship
A happy relationship thrives on our understanding of our partner’s needs. Recognizing and communicating our own needs is also very important. If both partners don’t care about or ignore each other’s needs, the relationship will fail sooner or later.
The relationship will only have a future if the mutual and individual needs of both partners are met. Common needs in a relationship are the feeling of security, appreciation, shared experiences of love, tenderness, and affection.
Each partner should ask themselves „What do I need?“ and „What does my partner need?“ and both partners should make it a habit to clearly communicate their needs. It needs some training in the beginning but it can become a routine after some time. The worksheet is part of the Couples Therapy Toolkit.
23.) Explore New Things Together
Prompt the couple to find something new they could learn or try together. This could be a skill, a hobby, or an adventure. It’s ideal if both have never done it before so that they share the experience of trying it the first time together. This could be some sport or going to dance class for example.
24.) Let’s Review Our Life Together
This is a great homework exercise for couples. Prompt them to have a glass of wine or cup of tea and review their life together. They could take a look at their first pictures as a couple and discuss all the things they’ve experienced together throughout their relationship. They can also think of things they still would like to do together. You can discuss the results in the next session.
25.) The Gratitude List
A great couples therapy exercise is the Gratitude List or even a journal. It helps each partner to restructure how they think about their partner and to become aware of all the small positive details that made them once fall in love with each other.
Ask each partner to write down at least five things they appreciate/are grateful for about their partner. This could be followed by three things they could do to make their partner feel more loved and appreciated in the relationship. If the couple is ready for it you could take this exercise a step further and let them keep a daily gratitude journal over 2-4 weeks.
This will help them to focus on the good in their relationship and become aware of the daily little positive things they notice about their partner. A template for this journal is included here.
26.) The Weekly Relationship Check-In
This couples therapy exercise is valuable for every relationship. It improves the communication between the partners and allows each of them to have their speak. Ask the couple to schedule 30-60 minutes per week where they talk about their latest experiences, their wishes, what they want and need from each other, and how they could improve their relationship.
There are not a lot of rules. But the listening partner agrees not to interrupt and take things personally. Both should take this time as a chance to talk honestly to each other without the fear of being judged or that the partner might overreact.
Ask your clients to share the experiences and key insights of this exercise in their CleverMemo stream with you.
Wrapping Up Couples Therapy Exercises And Activities
These were 25 must-try couples therapy and counseling exercises you can use with your clients. Practicing communication, trust, and increasing empathy and awareness for each other are undoubtedly helpful for any relationship or marriage.
If you’re looking to support your couples therapy sessions with a professional software tool you can start a free CleverMemo trial here. And if you want to improve your couples therapy with some ready-to-use worksheets and questionnaires this Toolkit is for you: Check it out
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- Jul 20, 2022
- 11 min read
31 Fun Couples Therapy Exercises for Bonding and Communication
Updated: Aug 25
From couples journaling to therapy games to conversation starters, this list will keep couples busy with each other for months to come.
Couples therapy exercises , both in counseling sessions and at home, can be a great way to connect. You can work on communication skills, have fun together, and learn more about each other.
The activities can be enjoyable, such as playing therapeutic games , or informative, like talking about shared couple goals. Couples can try these activities on their own, during therapy sessions, or complete the exercises as counseling homework.
Here’s a look at several evidence-based couples therapy activities. They range from the light-hearted and entertaining, to more serious discussion prompts. Article highlights are at the top of the list, in case you’d like to skip ahead.
Couple’s Pursuit Game Download
Traditional Tabletop Games
Journaling for Couples
Couples Vision Boarding
Art and Crafts for Couples
Therapy Session Activities
Let’s start with games! There are a handful of therapeutic games that have been created with couples in mind. Traditional competitive and cooperative games can also help you bond and relax (or get excited if that sounds better).
In fact, researchers have actually found that the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin, increases when couples play games together (Melton, et al., 2019).
What a fun way to “work” on your relationship, right? Here are some ideas to get you or your clients on their way.
Couple’s Pursuit is a fun, printable therapy game with multiple conversation prompts and activities. Think of it as a Trivial Pursuit-inspired game for couples, crossed with Pictionary, Taboo, and 20 questions.
The goal is to beat the game as a couple, completing brief relationship-building tasks and filling up the wedges of your wheels before the “third wheel” sabotages you.
The game is consistent with evidence-based couple’s counseling and coaching. It focuses on connection, showing appreciation of each other, having fun, building a future together, and more. It also includes fun-focused activities that keep the game moving and lighten the mood, like drawing and guessing categories.
Here’s a look at each of the categories included:
Drawing and guessing. This category is based on prompts like, “A favorite gift you’ve given or gotten from me.” You have one minute to draw and see if your partner can guess what it is.
Open discussion topics and conversation starters. Example prompts: “If we could change one part of our lives to make us happier, what would it be?”
Expressing appreciation. Prompts in this category encourage you to say nice things to your partner. For example, it may say, “Tell your partner about something they’ve done for you this week that made you feel better.”
Sharing key memories. The memory category often evokes some of the deepest conversations. Prompts often bring up new topics for couples, such as “Describe a time you lied as a kid and never got caught.” Even if you can’t think of an exact example, it’s sure to bring up some interesting things to talk about!
Giving clues and guessing. This category has you listing ideas before the game, and then seeing if your partner can guess them (similar to Taboo). For example, it might include, “Something my partner wishes I would do more of.” You have to try to get your partner to guess your answer only using clues. This category tends to either be funny, or bring up things you wouldn’t think of sharing otherwise.
Physical affection and intimacy. This category is a little more direct, with prompts like, “Hold your partner’s hand and caress their arm.” You can skip this category if you like, or choose a different affectionate activity. This can be good for couples who have trouble being intimate, or may need a jump start lately.
You can learn more and download the activity here - since you can get it immediately, you could play it tonight if your significant other is game!
Cooperative Tabletop Games
Did you know there are many games where you play against a villain or challenge, instead of your partner? What a metaphor for a relationship! These cooperative activities are about competing together against the game.
Traditional cooperative games aren’t necessarily created to be relationship-building , however many couples find them more fun than competitive games. (Or at least a way to play together without arguing!)
They are consistent with the camaraderie and team-building elements encouraged in couples therapy. Here are some popular options.
Pandemic - Work together to save the world
Unlock - An escape-room type game that you can play with your partner at home
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective - Solve the mystery as a couple
Competitive Tabletop Games
Some partners enjoy competitive games more than the cooperative options. If it helps you bond and you don’t end up resentful of each other at the end, then go for it! Here are a few games great for two, along with their competitiveness level.
Fluxx - Multiple theme versions (hello sci-fi fans) that are excitable and highly competitive
Carcassonne - A technically competitive but low-key game for a relaxing evening
Ticket to Ride - A middle-of-the-road board game that offers a bit of competitiveness and distraction (although you can help each other if you like)
Couples journaling is also becoming a more popular activity. There are variations and you can make the activity your own. You can keep separate journals that you use to help you communicate, or a joint one that can be its own communication tool. Here are some ideas for how to use a shared journal:
Write in the journal together, following a joint prompt. For example, you might answer: “What do we imagine we’ll be like 10 years from now?” You can take turns writing or appoint one of you to be the scribe.
Write in one journal, but separately. For example, you might keep it in one spot and write down thoughts or ideas and then review them later together. Or you can write to different prompts each week (like in the first example) but do it separately and then read them later.
Use a joint journal to communicate difficult thoughts. Do you or your partner have trouble explaining your feelings or responses? You can also use a shared journal to express yourself, and your partner can read it privately. They can respond in the journal, or you can discuss it together later.
Use a joint journal to express gratitude, appreciation, or shared goals with each other. You can do this either at the same time, or separately as in the examples above.
Make up your own journal activities, and create a ritual around it. Perhaps you review the journal every Sunday, or write in it together once per week. The whole idea is to connect, communicate, and understand each other better.
Use an electronic journal if that works better. If you can’t get down with the written journal, there are multiple electronic options available. The simplest is to use a shared Google Doc and start each new entry with a date at the top of the page (to avoid scrolling). You can even download our couples journal as a Google Doc, or a printable PDF if you prefer.
Couples Vision Board
One of the most rewarding and fun activities I’ve done with my partner was a couples vision board . It’s the same as a traditional vision board, but includes either one board you’ve designed together, or a side for each of you. You can also have an overlapping area in the middle with couple goals.
Vision boards are just like those collages you made with magazines as a kid, but a bit more intentional. Here are some suggestions for creating a couples vision board:
Use a bulletin board. These can be easily changed and updated over time, and you don’t need to worry about making mistakes or changing your mind.
Find old magazines, stickers, couples memorabilia (like ticket stubs or photos) and choose intuitively. Especially at first, don’t think too much about it. Make a pile of pictures or cutouts you might use and choose from them later.
Write your own words. Sometimes you can find the exact phrase or word you need from an old magazine page. But if you don’t, no worries. Just write your own words on a scrap of paper and pin them where you like.
Make another electronic vision board. I recommend also making a physical bulletin vision board, but an electronic board is cool too. Consider doing that later and making it a consolidated version of the larger one. I like an app called simply Vision Board, available in app stores.
Have separate and together sections . What a metaphor for life! A healthy relationship includes your time, their time, and together time. Your vision board can show these three areas of your relationship and encourage you to focus on each.
For a little help, try our vision board set, available within the Couples Activity Kit. It includes cute printable robot couples stickers, along with inspirational quotes to include on your vision board. Check it out here.
Conversation Starters for Couples
Discussion prompts are a popular tool among many couples and therapists. It’s a great way to get to know each other early in a relationship. And it’s a great way to keep connected or get to know each other again over the years.
Here’s a look at some popular, as well as lesser-known, conversation tools for you and your partner.
Gottman Card Decks
Have you heard of the Gottman Method? If not, it’s time to check it out! It’s an evidence-based treatment based on years or research on how couples actually interact and live together. They’ve br
anched out to offer more resources, including coaching, for couples, families, and even single
One of their best resources are the Gottman Card Decks. They offer multiple versions including 52 Questions Before Marriage or Moving in , and the Love Map & Open Ended Card Decks . If you’re feeling excited (or not excited enough) you can also try out their sexy Salsa Card Deck .
If you’d like to check out the cards right away, you can also access digital versions online via the Gottman Card Deck app on Apple or Google Play.
Tabletopics for Couples
Tabletopics: Couples is popular and fun set of cards that will certainly get you talking. They’re a fun set of cards that go beyond the typical questions and will have you thinking and laughing. The game has multiple versions including an original and updated decks.
Feeling more ambitious? The Gottman Institute also offers online workshops, both live and recorded, with more detailed activities. They review foundational skills relating to communication, expressing fondness, and changing toxic patterns. You can check out their options here.
Remember how games can give you a hit of the bonding hormone? It’s the same for other activities like making art together.
I like to use the word “crafts” sometimes rather than art, because it takes off the pressure. Art seems like something to aspire to, while crafting is about the process. The vision boarding idea above could be considered a type of art, as could cooking or even journaling (especially if you add a visual aspect).
Crafting could literally be making one item together (can you say diorama?) or each completing your separate projects at the same time. Ready for more ideas? Here we go:
Try adult coloring. You can find inspirational coloring sheets online or in bookstores. Or, you can look for nostalgic coloring books like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Strawberry Shortcake. They’re for kids of all ages!
Take an art and wine class. Have you ever been to one of those events where they walk you through how to paint a really serene picture? They’re pretty fun, and you often come out with a finished project you’re pretty proud of. Many art studios offer these for groups or as a date night. Check them out in your area!
Make a joint sand tray. Does your therapist have a sand tray in their office? Or are you a therapist, wondering how to use your sand tray with adults? It can be a therapeutic and fun couples activity. Start with a prompt, like “What is it like when we feel close to each other?” or “How do we each feel when we’re fighting?” Let the miniatures do the talking.
Go on a photo safari. Have you ever taken photos for an artistic or therapeutic purpose? Selfies and family pictures are awesome, but adventure images are for a different purpose. Recreate your first date and take images like you’re making a magazine spread. Each create an image that shows how you feel about the other. Better yet, use a tripod to create your own couples photo shoot, showing your separate and combined personalities.
Rituals, or activities you do regularly or in the same circumstance, are a great way to decrease stress. They can help in the good times and bad. For example, some couples have a nightly ritual in bed where they talk about their day and catch up with each other.
It’s great to watch a movie or have dinner together, but a check-in session allows you to go a little deeper, expressing yourself and showing empathy for your partner. This is a good practice activity for therapy sessions.
Rituals can also be used during difficult moments. If you have frequent arguments, or occasional big ones, rituals can make a big difference. They might involve taking an hour or so apart after a fight to cool down, or watching your favorite sitcom together until you feel clear-headed enough to talk.
Here are some ideas for calming rituals:
Dinner at your favorite restaurant once a month, or when it’s time to celebrate. Celebratable events differ for each couple – maybe it’s for when one of you gets a raise at work, or completes a personal project that’s important to them. Celebrate each other’s successes.
Weekly movie nights. Make watching a movie together an event. Make popcorn or get out healthy snacks. If it’s affordable, head to the theater, or mix it up and go out to the movies one week a month.
Regular family game nights. Game nights can be for the two of you, or for the whole family if you have kids or others in your home. Just make sure you’re also getting one-on-one time if you have a shared household!
Daily, or at least weekly, check-ins. Talk about how you’re feeling, how work or other activities are going, things that you’ve enjoyed lately, etc.
Saying thank-you, sorry, and “I appreciate that.” When people are together for a long time, they sometimes stop treating the other one like a person. When your partner helps with something, even if it’s an everyday chore, that’s something to recognize. Otherwise, people can start to develop resentment or apathy. Being nice will also remind your partner to provide the same for you!
Caring for animals and pets. Caring for pets together can be a great way to bond as well as relax your nervous system. Sometimes therapists even combine pet therapy with family and couple's sessions! You can also look into adopting, fostering animals temporarily, or volunteering at a local shelter. Often they're looking for people to walk dogs and assess their social skills. Sounds like a fun date!
In-Session Couple’s Therapy Activities
Are you a couples therapist or relationship coach? Choosing activities based on your clients’ goals is an important part of your job. That might involve assigning homework or helping couples communicate during sessions.
Many of the activities above will work with some modifications. For example, discussion prompts can be pulled from games or card decks, or can provide you with inspiration. Here are some other activities that may work, depending on your modality and goals:
Practicing soothing rituals in session. You might have your couples practice mindfulness together, or role-play how they might discuss their day and validate one another.
Discuss attachment styles. I’m amazed at how many of my individual clients have been to couples counseling but haven’t heard of attachment styles! If you’re not familiar, I recommend the book “Attached” to get you started. Attachment is a key element in therapies like emotionally focused couples therapy for couples (EFT).
Model empathy and validation. Many people are unaware of when they are being invalidating to their significant other. Listening and practice is the key. You may start by literally role playing, showing what it’s like to validate versus not validate. Once that clicks for partners it can be a game-changer.
Provide (and learn) evidence-based therapies. It may sound like a no-brainer, but if you work with couples it may be a necessity to complete training in the top couples therapies, like The Gottman Method or EFT. At least completing the introductory courses can give you an idea of what couples need the most, since relationships go beyond basic communication.
Try Something New
Is this list enough to get you started? I hope so! Each couple is different, so the best activities for you will depend on your individual personalities, and the areas where you mesh well together. Don’t be afraid to try new things that you wouldn’t normally do. Either you can commiserate on how horrible the experience was, or be surprised and have a new couples activity to add to your arsenal!
Want a fun and meaningful activity you can try or share right away? Check out this couples relationship game and other activities you can download and play today.
Lauer & Lauer, 2002, The Play Solution: How to Put the Fun and Excitement Back Into Your Relationship
Melton, et al., 2019, Examining Couple Recreation and Oxytocin via the Ecology of Family Experiences Framework.
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Boston Couples Therapy
- Adam Goodman
5 Thoughtful Homework Assignments for Couples in Therapy
Write a letter.
The first homework exercise to try is to write a letter about your partner’s best qualities. Write what you love most about them and why they are so special to you. After writing the letter, write the response from their perspective on their best qualities that they notice in themselves and how being with you makes them feel. This exercise will help you to see the best qualities in your partner and allow you to understand more about what they love about themselves.
Identify Things They Do That Makes You Happy
Another exercise is to think of one thing that your partner has done or said recently that made you really happy. Ask yourself if there are patterns in those moments: when do these things tend to happen? What activities seem to lead up to this positive interaction?” Ask your partner if they have noticed the same patterns or if they see things differently. This is also a wonderful way to create more empathy and understanding for one another.
Every day, for at least two weeks (depending on how quickly you catch on), take five minutes and write down three things that went well today or what made your partner happy. This can be as simple as going out for ice cream with friends when it’s not their turn for childcare. The idea is that there should always be more positive than negative in the world; so by taking even just a few moments every day to check in, you can make sure that your partner knows what made them happy and reinforce those positive interactions.
Reflecting on your current or recent feelings is a great way to get more in touch with what you’re feeling and it can help your partner do the same. With your partner, start by trying to reflect on how you are feeling right now, and what things in the current moment bring up those feelings. This is a good time to ask your partner if they are feeling anything similar.
While giving gratitude may sound cliche, it does actually matter; there are studies showing that people who do this have lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who don’t. Being mindful about what is good in our lives leads to us appreciating other aspects as well – even if we might not be feeling so great overall right now.
Create a Memory Book
One fun homework assignment for couples in therapy is to create a book of memories that span over your time together. This means going back through photographs, letters, notes, etc. Anything meaningful! There are no rules other than both partners taking part- provide some context by writing about what happened at the moment these things occurred when possible (this may take more effort from one person).
Use "I Feel" Statements
A fourth homework exercise is to try and have a conversation about your feelings, in which you start with the sentence “I feel…”
“I feel really sad. I think that’s because my mom ____.”
This specific homework assignment may be too difficult for some couples as it deals with strong emotions, but if this one fits you well then it can be very helpful. It also helps the person who feels more hurt or vulnerable to know their partner cares enough to listen. And, even when they don’t understand what has caused the pain, just saying “I’m here,” validates those raw feelings of anger or sadness.
You could also practice “alternative empathy.” Alternative empathy is a type of empathy that is not just feeling for someone else. It’s more about understanding and being able to see through their perspective with nonjudgmental kindness. This means you help them feel better by trying to understand what has gone on in their life, where they are coming from, and then offering your support.
The hardest part of practicing alternative empathy is the fact that we don’t always know what our partners are going through. We can only imagine, and sometimes it’s hard to do this because if you’re not careful, you might assume things about them based on your own life experience which could be limiting.
The best way I have found to practice empathy is by not expecting anything in return; just being there with a person who may or may not even want your help at the time will benefit them later. This means offering without expectation but understanding where they come from while also honoring their boundaries. It helps us see ourselves as someone else would and how our intentions might make others feel.
Consider Your Senses Together
A final homework assignment for couples in therapy to try is to spend time each day considering the five senses. It’s so easy in our busy lives to just go through life on autopilot and not really be present for anything we’re doing, but this exercise will help you experience the world around you as if it were new again while also creating a space where your partner can share their thoughts without any pressure or expectations.
If you like working on your relationship outside of the therapy office or tele-meeting, try one of these exercises. Let me know how it goes. If you are considering starting couples therapy, get in touch with me today !
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17 Therapy Worksheets for Teens, Adults, and Couples (+PDFs)
We have mostly covered some of the biggest and most mainstream forms of therapy, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
In this piece, our goal is to provide a look at some other available alternative forms of therapy. For each type of therapy, we’ll give a brief description and provide some exercises and activities that can be found in each.
We will cover reality therapy, couples and family therapy , occupational therapy, therapy for oppositional defiant disorder, therapy focusing on negative schemas, rational emotive behavior therapy, Imago therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free . These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology, including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
2 reality therapy worksheets for adults, 3 couples, group, and family therapy worksheets, 3 occupational therapy handwriting worksheets, 3 therapy worksheets for oppositional defiant disorder, schema therapy, 3 rebt worksheets (pdf), 2 imago therapy worksheets, interpersonal therapy, most suitable therapies for teens and kids, a take-home message.
Rather than focusing on acceptance and finding meaning in storytelling, reality therapy is focused on problem-solving and finding practical solutions for specific goals. The foundation of this type of therapy is the idea that our problems stem from disconnection from people in our lives, and that creating or mending these connections will help to solve them (William Glasser Institute, 2010).
The most important question in reality therapy is one that should be constantly asked:
“Is what I am doing getting me closer to the people I need?”
If this type of therapy sounds like one that could be useful to you or your clients, read on to learn about two worksheets that can help.
1. WDEP Questions Worksheet
“WDEP” stands for Wants, Doing, Evaluate, and Plan. These four components are integral to reality therapy, and this system is used by reality therapists everywhere. This approach helps clients discover what they want and what they are doing to obtain or achieve what they want, evaluate whether what they are doing will contribute to their goals or not, and plan ways to achieve their goals and change problematic behaviors or aspects of their life.
The worksheet is divided into these four sections with space to answer the questions listed for each component. The questions are as follows:
- What do you want rather than this issue?
- What does your ideal career, family life, relationship, etc. look like?
- What do your loved ones/friends want for you?
- What do you want to achieve from this therapy?
- What actions have you tried taking?
- When you behave this way, what thoughts are occurring in your head?
- What do you feel when you think these thoughts?
- How do these thoughts/actions impact your wellbeing?
- Are these actions taking you in your desired direction?
- Are you content with how things are?
- Is what you want attainable?
- Is viewing things this way helpful?
- What will you willingly change about your thoughts or actions to achieve this?
- When? How frequently? Where?
- Are you clear about what you will do? Is it realistic?
- How will you know you have achieved it?
- Can you start now? Is it in your control?
- How committed are you doing it?
For each component, the reader should seriously consider each question and write a description of how they are doing in each area.
Going through this worksheet can help the client identify what it is they really want, assess how they are progressing toward achieving what they want, and draft a plan to achieve their goals. This worksheet is specifically created for reality therapy, but it has wide-ranging applications. Anyone who is hoping to make a positive change will find valuable information by completing this worksheet.
If you’d like to give this exercise a try, click to download the WDEP Questions Worksheet .
2. Finding Discrepancies
This worksheet is designed to help people who are struggling with problematic behaviors, and as such it is useful in therapy for addictions. The goal of this exercise is to assist your client in finding discrepancies between the potential outcomes of both stopping and continuing.
A two-page worksheet, it is divided into several sections to be filled out by the client. Each section compares the impacts on the client’s life if they continue with the behavior, to their life if they stopped using. For each section, the client can note multiple aspects of their life in each scenario.
- The first section is “ Impacts on my future goals ”. Below this, there are two columns labeled “Impacts if I continue…” and “Impacts f I stop…” that are to be completed by the client.
- Next, the client is instructed to imagine the differences in their life with or without the behavior in terms of their physical or mental health.
- The third section is on how the problematic behavior affects their relationships with friends.
- The fourth section is dedicated to comparing the effects on their closest relationships with or without that behavior; these may be with family or with a significant other.
- In the fifth section, clients are instructed to compare the effects on their financial situation if they stop using vs. if they continue. For some people, this section alone can provoke a positive change!
- Finally, the worksheet ends with a look at the potential outcomes on your client’s education, personal, and professional development.
Filling out these different domains will give your clients insight into their current and ideal lives – without the problematic behavior.
Click here to see this worksheet for yourself or your clients.
These worksheets are specifically designed for use within couples, groups, and families.
1. About Your Partner
This worksheet can be an excellent icebreaker for two people in a relationship who are looking to make changes and solve relationship problems. It fosters lighthearted conversation, while reaffirms the couple’s connection and invites them to discover more about both themselves and the other person.
Use this worksheet to guide some relaxed ‘interviewing’ where each will take turns asking a question from each section below.
There are six types of category:
- Fun and Games – this looks at enjoyable things in your partner’s life, including what brings them happiness and brings about positive emotions;
- The Future – these questions help couples discover their partner’s dreams, hopes, and ambitions;
- You and Me – looking at their relationship together can encourage a couple to bond;
- Other People – some general discovery questions about the other person’s relationships besides the two of you;
- Careers – their professional aspirations, personal development, hopes for personal growth, and a little about their day-to-day; and
- Feelings – these items explore your partner’s deeper emotions, thoughts, and psychological experiences.
Discussing these topics can bring a feeling of closeness between partners. They can discover more about one another and share their hopes for a shared, positive future.
Download this worksheet here .
2. Good Qualities
One nice exercise for couples in therapy is to reflect on their significant other’s good qualities; particularly if they are struggling with conflict or similar difficulties.
This is a simple exercise that can motivate partners to work on those difficulties, as well as reconnect with the reasons they love one another. Each partner fills out four sections:
- The good qualities which first drew me to my significant other were …
- The most cherished memories of our time together include …
- I appreciate my partner because …
- My partner shows me they care by …
When helping clients with this sheet, encourage them to think of 3 items for each category. What are three reasons they appreciate their partner? Three ways they demonstrate show caring or affectionate behavior?
You’ll find this sheet here as a free PDF .
3. Inside and Outside
Inside and Outside is designed for families in therapy. Developed for children, it is a starting point for discussion of the results. Kids can use it to understand, in turn, how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are related – useful insight for dealing with family problems.
On this sheet, you’ll find a silhouette of a child. The six boxes surrounding the figure are easy for kids to fill in, with three per side to be filled separately. Ask the child to complete the sentence stem “ When I feel… ” with an emotion you would like to discuss.
The child then recalls a specific context where they felt this emotion and completes the left column of three boxes:
- I feel like this in my body…
- I behave this way …
After the child has completed these left-hand boxes, the worksheet invites them to imagine that the situation is the same, but their thoughts change.
With this new thought instead, they should work their way down the right-hand side boxes – thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
This aims to help children compare their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors when they are struggling with an emotion, and when they change their thoughts. As well as providing the talking point described above, it offers insight into how changed – ideally positive – thinking can impact on their emotions.
In this way, Inside and Outside enables parents and others to understand what a child is experiencing.
You’ll find more group therapy resources in our article Group Therapy: 32 Activities, Worksheets and Discussion Topics for Adults and Teens .
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While we tend to think of therapy in terms of counseling, psychiatry, and clinical psychology, there is also a whole separate realm of therapy: occupational therapy.
This type of therapy is intended to help people with more physical problems than psychological problems—although the two can often go hand in hand. Occupational therapy can help people dealing with illness, injury, or disability to improve their health and promote a greater quality of life .
Handwriting is one area where many people with physical difficulties may face many challenges. Handwriting requires several fine motor skills as well as visual perception skills (Therapy Fun Zone, 2017).
Read on to discover three worksheets that can help children improve their handwriting.
1. Decorating Cookies
This worksheet is intended for kids around the K3 or 5-year-old level, although it will be helpful to child who wants to improve their handwriting. Completing this worksheet is as simple as putting pencil to paper and decorating the cookies.
It might seem overly simplistic, but pre-handwriting movement practice involves following paths with a pencil. Done on a regular basis, it can have a large, positive impact on handwriting ability.
In this Decorating Cookies worksheet, you begin with some example dotted lines, which kids can follow to practice creating circles and waves. There are guide lines and a prompt for children to write about their favorite cookies, then the second page provides basic ‘cookie’ outlines that they can decorate freehand.
Children will likely find this worksheet fun and engaging as well as useful. If you’d like to download it and give it to your child or client, click here .
2. Snowman Hangman
This worksheet takes the original “hangman” game and adapts it for children. The rules are the same, but the picture to be drawn is a snowman rather than a hanging man (which might be a bit morbid for children).
Player One chooses a word, and player Two tries to guess the letters in the word before player One has a chance to draw and dress the whole snowman.
Below the instructions for drawing each section of the snowman and the space for the drawing is a small writing exercise, inviting kids to write three more words related to winter.
Snowman Hangman will help the child to practice their writing and drawing skills while staying engaged and having fun.
3. What Does It Look Like Under the Sea?
This worksheet is a fun way for kids to practice both drawing and handwriting. It’s always easier to get kids to practice when they’re writing about something fun and using their imagination!
The worksheet asks a simple question: What does it look like under the sea?
Below this question, there are instructions for the child to imagine what the underwater world might look like and a space to draw what they imagine.
Below the drawing space, there is another instruction: for the child to write about their idea. They can write about what they think the ocean bed or marine life might look like, what animals or features it might include that would be difficult to draw, or anything else they are thinking about the topic.
You can view or download the worksheet here .
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a disorder found in children that involves an ongoing pattern of “uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures” that interferes with daily functioning (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013).
This disorder can include symptoms like:
- Frequent tantrums
- Excessive arguing
- Deliberately upsetting or irritating others
- Being touchy or easily annoyed by others
- Mean and hateful talk when upset
If your child or client is suffering from ODD, these three worksheets may be able to help.
1. Making Good Decisions
This worksheet will help a child with ODD understand the importance of making good decisions, as well as the benefits and advantages that come with making good decisions.
This worksheet has seven sections for the child to fill in:
- Write down 3 decisions you’ve made in the past 24 hours.
- Here, write the best decision you believe you’ve ever made.
- In what ways did this ‘best decision’ impact you?
- Here, write the worst decision you believe you’ve ever made.
- In what ways did this ‘worst decision’ impact you?
- Write down 3 key decisions you’ll need to make as you get older.
- What decision are you most excited for as you grow up?
Completing this activity can help children work through their thoughts on making decisions, and hopefully, lead them to make good decisions that will benefit them.
Click to download this Making Good Decisions PDF .
It is important for all children to develop a foundation of responsibility, but it can be especially important and especially difficult for children with ODD. This worksheet can help teach them about responsibility and show them that responsibility is an important part of life.
There are seven sections to this worksheet with a question or instruction to list examples for each one.
The questions are:
- What does ‘being responsible’ mean?
- What kind of responsibilities do you have in school?
- What are some responsibilities you have at home?
- List some responsibilities you have in your neighborhood?
- Name some ways you show responsibility?
- List some situations where you do not show responsibility.
- What are some things you can do to show more responsibility?
Work through this Showing Responsibility activity with your child or client if they are struggling to answer the questions or having trouble focusing on them.
3. Something About Me
Sometimes children struggle with low self-esteem —causing them to lash out and behave in problematic ways. This worksheet can help them realize that they have good qualities and help them begin to appreciate them.
The worksheet includes seven boxes to fill in:
- My friends think I’m awesome because…
- My classmates say I’m great at…
- I feel very happy when I…
- Something that I’m really proud of is…
- I make my family happy when I…
- One unique thing about me is…
You can download and use the Something About Me with your own kids, students, or clients.
What is schema therapy? – Kati Morton
Schema-focused cognitive therapy, or schema therapy, is a kind of therapy that combines aspects of cognitive-behavioral , experiential, interpersonal, and psychoanalytic therapies into one comprehensive treatment approach (Pearl, n.d.). It is intended to help people who are struggling with negative patterns of thought, behavior, or both.
The name comes from the idea that through living our lives, we develop schemas, or patterns, that guide our thinking and feeling. We rarely even notice that we have these specific schemas, but we all do. The problem stems not from following a pattern, but from following a negative or maladaptive pattern.
Some of the most harmful schemas or patterns of belief revolve around one’s negative feelings towards or about the self (e.g., “I’m a bad person,” “I will never be happy,” or “I am not good enough.”).
This type of therapy is conducted in three phases:
- Assessment of the schemas
- Working on bringing emotional awareness to the schemas
- Making behavioral changes (Pearl, n.d.)
The Schema Therapy worksheet described below can help in one or all of these three phases, and can be used individually or with a therapist—it will likely be more effective when completed with a therapist.
Thought Record Worksheet
This worksheet can also help clients to identify some of the problematic thoughts they are having. There is space on this sheet for clients to write down thoughts that are troubling them. They can note when these occurred, and unpack them further in further detail in the next column.
It can be helpful when filling out this sheet to rate the perceived credibility of each thought as you record them, as well as the emotions that were associated with each.
The second column from the end is provided as a space where your client can come up with alternative thoughts, challenging the negative automatic thinking and the schemas they represent. You may find this list of cognitive distortions helpful when introducing your client to the exercise.
Lastly, your client is invited to reassess the perceived credibility of their original negative thought out of 100%. Ideally, coming up with an alternative will have helped to reduce this figure.
This exercise requires regular practice, but it is essential to help identify negative automatic thoughts you would like to stop.
Download and fill in this Thought Record Worksheet , or use it as a handout.
For further insights into Schema Therapy, these articles are recommended:
- Schema Therapy in Practice : 12 Worksheets & Techniques
- Schema Therapy For Practitioners : 7 Questionnaires and Tests
This type of therapy focuses on solving emotional and behavioral problems to help people improve their quality of life.
It grew out of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and encourages a more action-oriented approach to addressing cognitive, emotional, and behavioral problems (Albert Ellis Institute, 2014).
As such, the worksheets for this type of therapy are often not exclusive to REBT, but can also be used for clients in CBT and other similar forms of therapy.
See the worksheets below to get some ideas about REBT exercises and activities.
1. Dysfunctional Thought Record
This worksheet is one that should be filled out over the course of a few days or even weeks, depending on how “wordy” the client is!
It is a structured journal in which the client can note their dysfunctional thoughts and spot a pattern.
It is divided into seven columns with space for writing about multiple events.
- In the first column, the client is to write down the date and time.
- In the second column, client describes the situation they were in.
- The third column is for writing down the automatic thought that arose.
- In column four, clients should note the associated emotions they felt.
- Column five is where the client should list any cognitive distortions that came up during this situation and automatic thoughts.
- In the next column, the client should brainstorm effective alternative thoughts that can fight the dysfunctional automatic thoughts.
- Finally, the seventh column is for writing down the outcome of the situation.
Keeping a record of these thoughts can help the client to organize their thoughts, make sense of the reaction they have in certain situations, and detect a pattern for the automatic negative thoughts.
Click to download the Dysfunctional Thought Record .
2. REBT Formulation
This is another worksheet that takes a rational approach—connecting a situation to the following response and comparing the outcome to the outcome if a more positive response occurred. REBT focuses on solving emotional problems before moving on to thought or behavior problems.
The worksheet differentiates between two types of emotional responses: unhealthy (or problematic) responses and healthy (or desired) responses.
In the first section, the client is instructed to describe an activating event. This is an event that provokes an emotional response. Four subsections are to be completed here:
- Describe the situation.
- Isolate the critical factor (what it was about the event that affected you).
- Notice and accept bodily sensations.
- Invent a symbol/metaphor for the experience (one that explains how it felt).
Next, the client will describe the problematic response.
The client is instructed to name the emotion, then list the thoughts and images associated with it, (i.e., what was happening in your mind during the event?) and the actions and intentions that followed (i.e., how you reacted or wanted to react).
Finally, the client should describe what a healthy response would look like.
First, there is space to name the emotion. Next, there is space to list the cognitive objectives (i.e., how you would need to think in order to feel this way) and the behavioral objectives (i.e., what you would need to do in order to feel this way).
This worksheet can help guide clients through a comparison of two distinct types of responses and help them see that the healthy response is the better one. It can also help to develop a plan to react in a healthy way more often.
Download this REBT Formulation Worksheet .
3. Logging Positive Beliefs
The Logging Positive Beliefs worksheet facilitates the confrontation of negative beliefs and automatic thoughts by using reason to replace old, self-critical beliefs with new, positive beliefs.
At the top of the worksheet, there are two bubbles. In the first, write down the problematic, old belief, and in the right-hand box, create a new belief to replace it.
Underneath the two beliefs is space to write down 10 pieces of evidence that support the new belief or is inconsistent with the old belief. These can be experiences you have had, something someone else has said to you, or anything else you can think of that supports the new belief or sheds doubt on the old belief.
Use this link to download the Logging Positive Beliefs worksheet.
It was developed as an alternative to more traditional methods of couples therapy and is based on facilitating effective dialogue.
Childhood experiences are important in this form of therapy, as imago therapy assumes a link between childhood relationships and adult relationships (Imago Relationships, 2016).
The main activity in Imago therapy is called the Dialogue, and combines three essential elements:
- Mirroring, or repeating your partner’s words back to them.
- Summarizing and expressing understanding of your partner’s words.
- Empathizing with your partner.
If this type of therapy intrigues you, check out the information sheet and worksheet described below to give it a try.
The Imago Dialogue 101
This resource is not a worksheet, but a guide on how to implement the Imago Dialogue into your relationship.
This guide will provide background on the Imago Dialogue, describe the difference between dialogue and discussion, and walk the reader through the three phases described above.
It also includes directions and some suggestions for specific phrases you can use in each phase.
Click here to view or download this informational guide to the Imago Dialogue exercise.
The Imago Workup
This exercise is based on an Imago Workup exercise by therapist Dr. Pat Love, author of Imago Theory and the Psychology of Attraction (Love & Shulkin, 2001). It is a great way to prepare clients for thinking about how their childhood experiences have affected their adult relationships.
Part A requires the client to answer five questions or prompts:
- List three negative qualities of the people who brought you up.
- Now, think of three positive qualities of the same people.
- As a child, what was your greatest unmet desire from your caregivers?
- How did you want to feel as a child?
- How did you behave in response to frustration?
Next, the client is instructed to copy these answers into Part B, using them to complete the following statements:
- I am drawn to somebody who is…
- But I desire them to be…
- So I can receive…
- And so I can feel…
- However, I sometimes prevent myself from receiving the love I desire by…
Many clients may be surprised at how neatly their responses fit into the five unfinished statements. It’s no secret that our childhood has an effect on who we become and how we live and love as adults, but it can be surprising to see how big this effect can be.
Here’s the Imago Workup for download.
Unlike some of the other therapies we have described, interpersonal therapy (IPT) is a brief form of therapy that focuses on resolving interpersonal problems rather than individual problems and follows a very structured approach (Weissman, 2017).
IPT is based on the idea that attachments are integral to human development and flourishing, and that humans are happiest when they know there are trusted people they can turn to in times of trouble.
This type of therapy has been shown to be effective for depression, relationship problems, anxiety, eating disorders, and other problems in a variety of scenarios. It is a time-limited therapy (usually 12 to 16 weeks) that focuses on the issues the client is having connecting with others rather than on strictly internal problems. The goals are to eliminate or decrease the severity of symptoms, improve interpersonal functioning, and increase social support (Interpersonal Psychology Institute, 2017).
There are few worksheets for this type of therapy, but if you’d like to learn more about IPT you read our own article on Interpersonal Therapy .
For example, CBT is excellent for treating depression and anxiety, while DBT has been found to be effective for bipolar disorder, and a specific type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention is the best tool for treating OCD.
The best type of therapy is often dependent on the diagnosis, but there are some types of therapy that have proven especially effective for children.
According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , the following types of therapies can be used in the specified situations:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Can be applied to children dealing with mood problems, anxiety, or distorted thinking.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Can be used with older adolescents with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or borderline personality disorder.
- Family Therapy: Can be applied to whole families, including children or adolescents, parents, siblings, and grandparents.
- Play Therapy: Can be used with children to help them recognize, identify, and verbalize their feelings.
- Psychotherapy : Can apply to children to help understand what is driving their behavior and discover patterns of behavior.
I hope this piece has given you a useful overview of the many different types of therapy available to you. Remember, if you try one and it doesn’t seem to help, there are many more that may better suit you!
Whether you are struggling with a DSM diagnosis, a new source of stress, or just the difficulties of everyday life, there is likely a type of therapy out there that will work for you.
Have you tried any of these types of therapy before? How did it go? Would you consider or reconsider any of them?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you for reading!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free .
- Albert Ellis Institute. (2014). Rational emotive & cognitive-behavior therapy . The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from http://albertellis.org/rebt-cbt-therapy/
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (2013). Oppositional defiant disorder . AACAP. Retrieved from http://www.aacap.org/aacap/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Children_With_Oppositional_Defiant_Disorder_72.aspx
- Imago Relationships. (2016). What is Imago? Imago Relationships International. Retrieved from http://imagorelationships.org/pub/about-imago-therapy/what-is-imago/
- Interpersonal Psychology Institute. (2017). About IPT . IPT Institute. Retrieved from https://iptinstitute.com/about-ipt/
- Love, P., & Shulkin, S. (2001). Imago theory and the psychology of attraction. The Family Journal, 9 (3), 246-249.
- Pearl, M. (n.d.). What is schema therapy? Schema Therapy Center of New Orleans. Retrieved from http://www.schematherapy-nola.com/what-is-schema-therapy
- Therapy Fun Zone. (2017). Fine Motor Requirements For Handwriting . Retrieved from https://therapyfunzone.net/blog/fine-motor-requirements-for-handwriting/
- Weissman, M. (2017). A history of IPT . IPT Institute. Retrieved from https://iptinstitute.com/about-ipt/
- William Glasser Institute. (2010). Reality therapy . WGI US. Retrieved from http://www.wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach/reality-therapy
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What a wealth of helpful information– so empowering and hopeful! Thank you so much!!!
Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks
I’ve copied your worksheets, those are so useful for me and my class. Thanks
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5 Couples Therapy Worksheets & Exercises (+ PDF)
Couples therapy is an effective way to strengthen the bond between partners, improve communication, and work through issues that may be causing relationship distress.
While traditional talk therapy is an important part of the therapy process, couples therapy worksheets can also be a valuable tool for couples to deepen their understanding of one another and work through specific problems in a more structured way.
How to Use Worksheets in Couples Therapy
Worksheets can be a powerful tool for couples in therapy or intimacy coaching to engage with each other and work through specific issues in a structured and collaborative way. To effectively use worksheets in couples therapy, it’s important to choose the right type of worksheet that aligns with the needs and goals of the couple.
Some worksheets may be geared towards improving communication, while others may be focused on identifying patterns of behavior or exploring individual needs and values.
It’s important to introduce the worksheet in a clear and concise manner, giving the couple adequate time to understand the purpose and process before beginning.
Once the worksheet has been completed, couples can discuss their answers together, and the therapist can facilitate a deeper understanding of the issues at hand, and help the couple create actionable steps for moving forward.
By incorporating couples therapy worksheets into your practice, you can provide your clients with a practical and effective tool to deepen their understanding of each other and enhance the overall effectiveness of therapy.
Example Worksheets for Couples Therapy
Couples therapy worksheets can provide couples with a range of therapeutic approaches to work on specific issues and improve their relationship.
These worksheets can cover a broad range of topics, from improving communication and problem-solving skills to identifying and addressing underlying patterns of behavior. They are designed to facilitate self-reflection, open dialogue, and joint exploration of the challenges couples face.
By using the right therapy tools , couples can identify and work through their individual needs and values, build trust and connection, and establish effective ways of dealing with conflict.
In this blog, we will explore some of the most commonly used couples therapy worksheets, including communication exercises, and emotion regulation activities, to help you provide more effective and targeted support to the couples in your practice.
1. The Positive Aspects of Your Relationships
In couples therapy, it’s important to focus not only on the challenges and issues within a relationship but also on the positive aspects.
Paying attention to the strengths and positive qualities of the relationship can help build resilience, increase satisfaction, and foster a deeper sense of connection between partners.
Here are some ways to cultivate a positive focus in couples therapy  :
- Encourage couples to reflect on and appreciate positive moments in their relationship, both past and present.
- Encourage them to share positive feedback, express gratitude for each other, and use positive language to frame things in a positive light.
- Suggest activities that create positive experiences and memories together.
- Help the couple identify and emphasize their individual and shared strengths to strengthen the relationship.
By focusing on the positive aspects of their relationship, couples can create a more supportive and nurturing environment, which can help them navigate through the challenges and issues that inevitably arise in any relationship.
Shown below is an example of how your clients can reflect on the positive aspects of their relationship using Quenza’s Positive Aspects of Your Relationships worksheet.
You can access the complete PDF as a customizable Quenza Expansion with your $1 Quenza trial , making it an easy exercise to share with your clients.
2. Gratitude in Romantic Relationships
In couples therapy, fostering gratitude in romantic relationships can be done by  :
- Encouraging partners to express gratitude towards each other regularly, by acknowledging and thanking each other for the things they do.
- Helping partners to focus on positive aspects of the relationship and to appreciate the good qualities in each other.
- Practicing mindfulness and being present in the moment, allowing partners to better recognize and appreciate the positive aspects of their relationship.
- Suggesting exercises that help partners to cultivate gratitude, such as keeping a gratitude journal or creating a daily gratitude ritual together.
- Highlighting the benefits of gratitude, such as increased feelings of closeness and connection between partners, and improved overall relationship satisfaction.
Below is an example of how Quenza’s Gratitude in Romantic Relationships worksheet can be used by your clients to foster more gratitude in their romantic relationships.
This therapy exercise involves three steps:
- First, the clients choose three positive character traits from a given list.
- Following this, they share their respective lists with each other.
- Finally, they engage in a joint reflection and discussion to share their feelings and insights gained from the exercise about each other.
Applying Emotionally Focused Therapy: EFT Exercises To Use
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples involves various exercises that help partners understand and express their emotions and needs, and improve their emotional bond.
Some common exercises used in EFT include  :
- Emotion exploration: Encourage partners to express their emotions and attachment needs, such as feeling safe, secure, and valued.
- Reflective listening: One partner shares their thoughts and feelings, while the other listens actively and reflects back what they heard.
- Create connection rituals: Schedule dedicated moments focused on bonding to deepen your connection.
- Re-enactment: Identify negative patterns and work to change them into positive interactions.
- Emotion-focused touch: Experience and express emotions through physical touch, such as hugging.
- Emotion-focused letters: Write letters to express attachment needs and emotional experiences.
3. Knowing Your Emotions
By utilizing Quenza’s Knowing Your Emotions worksheet, clients can proactively delve into their emotions by improving their recognition skills and developing effective strategies for managing them.
For instance, this therapy activity can help clients to identify and overcome emotional obstacles, allowing them to express and understand their emotions with their partner.
Recommended: Training Others in Emotional Intelligence: Your Ultimate Guide
How To Practice CBT in Couples Therapy (+Printable PDF)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used in couples therapy to help couples identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that are impacting their relationship.
Some common exercises used in CBT for couples include  :
- Thought challenging: partners challenge negative and irrational thoughts causing relationship distress.
- Communication skills training: couples learn active listening, assertiveness, and expressing needs and feelings.
- Problem-solving training: couples learn conflict management and issue resolution techniques.
- Behavior modification: partners modify negative behaviors and promote intimacy.
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: partners learn stress and emotion management techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation.
- Exposure therapy: partners gradually overcome fears and avoidant behaviors.
- Role-playing: couples practice communication and problem-solving skills for positive interactions.
4. Changing Unhelpful Thoughts
Quenza’s Changing Unhelpful Thoughts worksheet, shown below, is a useful tool for clients who are struggling with thoughts that may be negatively impacting their relationships.
This particular CBT worksheet guides clients through a process of exploring how their thoughts make them feel, examining the evidence both for and against those thoughts, and developing alternative, more helpful thoughts.
Clients can download a PDF copy of their worksheet for their records when you send it through the Quenza client app. If you use cognitive-behavioral therapy interventions frequently in your work, check out our guide on how to provide online CBT .
How to Improve Communication In Relationships
Here are some exercises that couples can do to improve their communication in therapy  :
- Active Listening: One partner speaks while the other fully listens to understand their perspective.
- Reflective Communication: Each partner shares thoughts and feelings on a topic while the other reflects back without judgment.
- “I” Statements: Partners express their feelings and needs using “I” statements instead of blaming language.
- Reframing: Looking at a situation or conflict from a different perspective.
- Emotional Check-In: Each partner reflects and expresses emotions while the other provides support.
- Love Maps: Couples create a map of each other’s lives, likes, dislikes, history, and current events to deepen understanding and connection.
5. Apologizing Effectively
Quenza’s Apologizing Effectively worksheet teaches clients a valuable aspect of effective communication: the ability to offer a sincere apology.
By following the guidance in this worksheet, clients can learn how to express remorse in a manner that promotes greater intimacy and mutual understanding in their relationships.
Do these exercises inspire you? With the Quenza App, you can customize these Expansions or generate and share your own therapy worksheets with easy drag-and-drop tools.
We have provided several effective ways to incorporate them into programs and treatment plans . In addition, we have included helpful tips and tricks to assist you in automating the process.
Check out our free 30-page guide that provides you with valuable insights into building, customizing, and sharing your own worksheets and tools, as well as creating comprehensive treatment plans and easily tracking and evaluating client progress.
Click here to download your copy of Coach, This Changes Everything.
By integrating these couples therapy worksheets into your sessions, you can utilize effective tools and exercises that promote positive change and enhance relationships.
These worksheets and exercises can help build your couples therapy toolkit, so feel free to share your experiences with them in the comment section below. Don’t forget to give all these worksheets a try with our $1, 30-day Quenza trial !
Frequently Asked Questions
Couples therapy often involves techniques such as active listening, role-playing, and problem-solving to help couples improve their communication and work through conflicts. Therapists may also use specific approaches, such as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), depending on the needs of the couple.
While it’s recommended to seek the help of a trained therapist, couples can also practice DIY couples therapy by setting aside dedicated time to communicate, listening actively, practicing empathy, and avoiding criticism. There are also online resources and apps, such as Quenza, that can provide couples with customized tools and worksheets to facilitate the therapy process.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as what may work best for one couple may not be as effective for another. However, research has shown that approaches such as EFT and CBT are among the most effective in helping couples improve their relationships and overall satisfaction.
Questions asked in couples therapy may vary depending on the goals of the therapy and the approach used by the therapist. Some common questions may include: – What are your relationship goals? – What are your individual needs and desires? – What are the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship? – How can you communicate more effectively with your partner? – What changes can you make to improve your relationship?
- ^ Gordon, A. M., Impett, E. A., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (2010). Positive communication in couples relationships: The role of gratitude and perceived partner responsiveness. Personal Relationships, 17 (2), 267-284.
- ^ Algoe, S. B., Fredrickson, B. L., & Gable, S. L. (2013). The social functions of the emotion of gratitude via expression. Emotion, 13 (4), 605–609.
- ^ Guerrero, L. K., & Floyd, K. (2006). The Power of Touch: The Effect of Nonsexual Touch on Relational Satisfaction. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23 (2), 340-354.
- ^ Johnson, S. M., Makinen, J. A., & Millikin, J. W. (2001). Evidence-based couples therapy: Current status and future directions. Journal of Family Therapy, 23 (3), 283-316.
- ^ Cordova, J. V., & Doss, B. D. (2014). Improving couples' relationships: Strategies for enhancing effectiveness and meaning. Current Opinion in Psychology, 4 , 76-81.
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25 Couples Therapy Exercises You Can Do at Home to Improve Your Relationship
Angela Welch is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern from Valparaiso,IN. She earned her Master of Arts in Marriage and... Read More
Kaida Hollister is a passionate relationship writer, renowned for her ability to shed light on the intricacies of love and human connection. With a deep understanding of psychology... Read more
In This Article
Marriage isn’t always easy and it can be helpful to have some professional guidance and advice along the way.
But, not all couples are excited at the thought of airing their marriage difficulties to a stranger in therapy .
Thankfully there are many couples therapy exercises you can do at home to strengthen your relationship and build trust and communication .
These couples therapy techniques can help you communicate on a deeper level, teach you to fight fair , and create goals for your future together.
There are many benefits to practicing these couples therapy exercises both before and after marriage.
Strengthen your relationship and your love for one another by adding these 25 trust and communication-building exercises into your weekly routine. These exercises can work well instead of pre-marriage counseling, or alongside it.
1. Do a trust fall
A trust fall is a trust-building exercise that may seem small but fosters large results. We may have done it as a fun activity with friends but it can be a part of couples’ therapy at home.
To do a trust fall, one partner stands behind their blindfolded spouse. The blindfolded spouse will then deliberately fall backward and their partner will catch them.
It sounds like an easy game, but it requires trust and blind faith in the blindfolded spouse that their partner will catch them. This may cause the blindfolded partner to turn around, fearing that their partner will miss.
This exercise builds teamwork , trust, and fosters a feeling of safety and security in the relationship.
Note: When doing any kind of exercise like this, always practice safety by choosing a physically safe place to conduct this exercise.
2. Never go to bed angry
One of the couples therapy exercises that will soon become a “Code to live by” is that of never going to bed angry.
Beijing Normal University researchers Wanjun Lin and Yunzhe Liu performed a sleep study on 73 male students to see how negative emotions and memories would affect their sleep patterns.
The results showed the students were less capable of restful sleep and had a heightened feeling of distress after being shown negative imagery right before bed.
If these students were to be shown negative imagery hours before going to sleep, the brain would be able to subdue the distress response.
However, going to bed immediately after arguing or experiencing trauma causes the brain to protect that emotion, keeping it fresh and clear in the mind.
These findings suggest that the age-old adage of “Don’t go to bed angry” definitely has some merit to it. Negative emotions directly impact the ability to sleep. If you and your spouse are in distress, you should make nice before heading to bed.
Consider this and other activities that reduce conflict as couples communication exercises that will only make your terms of endearment better than before.
Even though it may be difficult to resolve all issues before bed, agree to table the disagreement, and both practice small gratitude exercises before bed.
This will allow you to focus on the positive aspects of each other leaving a positive image in the mind before bed leading to a better night’s sleep.
Review the concerns in the morning with a well-rested mindset. Your feelings may have changed and if you were unable to fix the issue before bed, it may be easier at this point.
3. Write an appreciation list
Some of the best couples therapy exercises have to do with restructuring how you think and feel about your partner. A great way to do this is with an appreciation list.
Partners will write down five things their partner does that they appreciate, followed by five things their partner could be doing to make them feel more loved , secure, or appreciated in the relationship.
By writing down and meditating on their spouse’s good qualities first, partners will be able to focus on the good in the relationship before looking at ways to improve love and communication in a constructive way, rather than accusatory.
You can also maintain couples therapy worksheets or marriage counseling worksheets with a more detailed analysis that can be used for self-assessment.
4. Unplug from technology
One of the best couples therapy exercises you can do is to u nplug from technology and have a talking session.
Smartphones and devices are a great way to connect to the world, but they have a surprisingly bad effect on your relationships. After all, how can you give your spouse your undivided attention when you are checking your phone every ten minutes?
For this exercise, eliminate distractions such as television, video games, and smartphones for 10 minutes a day. Use these 10 minutes to talk to one another. Go back and forth telling each other the things you love and appreciate about them.
Do not interrupt one another. This feel-good exercise creates positive thinking and boosts self-esteem. Abstaining from technology and focusing on your partner is actually advocated by many marriage counselors among the relationship-building activities for couples.
You can go for a shared meditation experience as well!
Watch this video of breathwork by therapist Eileen Fein :
5. Team building exercises
Since you are working on bettering your relationship , it’s time for the team-building exercise . This fun step involves the two of you trying something new that requires you to rely on one another. You can make these couples therapy activities as fun or as challenging as you like.
Some ideas for team building exercises include l earning an instrument together, hiking, learning a new language, making online videos together, and zip-lining, kayaking, or going to the gym.
Both of you can make a list of some activities that you would both enjoy trying together.
6. Honesty hour or “Marriage check-in”
If you are trying to find the best couples therapy exercises for communication then go for a marriage check-in.
This is a “couple exercise” that should be done once a week, face to face.
Couples will have an hour of honesty where they speak frankly, but kindly, about the state of their marriage.
Partners will then be allowed to talk about improvements they would like to see in the marriage or speak of things that are bothering them. The listening partner agrees not to get overly offended or overreact.
This arrangement allows both partners the opportunity to listen and to be heard . The calm atmosphere of this marriage check-in should encourage partners to speak freely to one another with a view to solving a problem, not attacking one another.
Experts vouch for this as one of the best trust-building exercises for couples as many emotional walls can be broken with this technique.
7. Consistent date night
D ate night is also a great opportunity to reconnect emotionally and sexually in a fresh environment. Consider it as one of the fun and romantic couple counseling exercises.
The closer a couple is, the better their communication and the physical relationship will be. Whatever you do on date night, make sure you are focusing on each other and having a great time with such “couple communication exercises”.
8. Eliminate stress triggers
Stress is harmful to a marriage. Not only does it cause couples to associate negative feelings with one another, but prolonged marital stress can also lead to clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Identify stress triggers in your marriage . Examples of stress triggers might be bringing up past conflicts such as infidelity , health concerns, and financial instability.
Instead of bringing up stress triggers to argue, identify them to solve the problem so that resentment does not linger from these topics in the future.
9. Create a bucket list
Happy couples are kinder to one another. One study revealed that happy people are more likely to be kind to others, have higher motivational drives, and a sense of gratitude. Couples who try new things together build trust and cooperation skills and boost happiness levels.
One of the best relationship-building activities is by trying new experiences together. Create a bucket list of things you want to do together.
Include smaller and larger goals, so you have something to look forward to in the short and long term. This could be as simple as visiting a museum or a closeby town, or it could be as complex as going on a dream vacation. No matter what activity you choose, what matters is that the activity is something:
- You can do together
- Can be done regularly
- Feels enjoyable for both
- Promotes healthy communication
Make an effort to do at least one of the activities each month. No matter how busy your life gets, this gives you a sure way you will have something inspiring to do to reconnect.
10. Leave it until Sunday
Picking your battles is as important as how you handle them. It is not just what you say, but when and how.
Postponing something for a few days gives you perspective and allows you to evaluate if you truly want to have that argument. Additionally, it helps you come into the conversation calmly and with arguments.
You can use this exercise any time you dispute and can’t seem to come to terms with it. If there is a major dispute that cannot be postponed, by all means, address it. This exercise is not meant to help you put problems under the rug.
However, anything that gets forgotten by Sunday probably was not high on the priority list. What makes this one of the best communication exercises for couples is the benefit of learning how to prioritize your arguments as time progresses.
Some of you may cringe at the idea of the icebreaker since you might have been forced into doing them at work or back in school. However, this time around it will be with someone you love and cherish. If you attend marital counseling it will probably be one of the exercises you do in the beginning as it puts you more at ease.
The great thing about this is that you will learn new things about your partner. You may think you know all there is to know, but you are mistaken. Trying to ask them some fun icebreaker questions:
- Tell me something weird about yourself
- Tell me your favorite cereal brand
- Tell me a childhood anecdote
- Tell me something embarrassing from high school
Add more questions and you’ll be surprised by what you learn. These are bound to produce at least one or two new facts about your partner that you didn’t know before.
12. Music sharing
Music can be deeply personal and meaningful. Set aside some time and share the music you like without any judgment. You can each pick three songs that have high significance for you and explain why.
Furthermore, you can choose songs that remind you of each other. There are many topics that you can do this selection on such as – highschool, heartbreak, our relationship, etc. After each selection use questions to understand why those songs are in that category and what feelings they evoke.
Any marriage therapist would tell you that this can lead to meaningful insights about your partner and the relationship itself. T his kind of sharing leads to deeper levels of understanding. Be gentle as they might be vulnerable and risking a lot by showing you something so personal.
13. Swap books
One of the best couple counseling exercises is swapping books.
What is your favorite book? How about your partner’s? If you have not read them so far, go out and buy them for each other. Write a thoughtful note so you each have a beautiful memory to keep.
Same as with music, what you chose to read says a lot about you. Couple counseling experts recommend this exercise and even suggest that it can become a new tradition for the couple.
No matter how well you know your partner you will learn something new about them since books over inspire the creative side in us. They will learn something new about themselves, acquire new perspectives, and share a window into their mind. Diving into something as profound as a favorite childhood book is a fantastic way to forge a deeper connection.
14. Soul gazing
It may sound like nothing, but this is an intense exercise that can have a huge impact on feelings of connectedness and intimacy.
It could be that due to mirror neurons in our brains this exercise has so much effect.
Those mirror neurons are a part of the reason we are fast-tracked for affection, sociability, and companionship. They get activated by looking into someone.
Instructions are simple, face each other, and set the timer for 3-5 minutes. Stand close to each other, so you are almost touching and stare into each other’s eyes.
Don’t worry, you are allowed to blink, this is not a staring contest. However, refrain from talking. At first, you might feel uncomfortable and laugh. However, as time passes you will feel more pleasant and connected.
15. More cuddle time
Make it a habit to cuddle more often. Turn off the distractions and simply cuddle. When we hug each other oxytocin is released. This chemical, also known as the cuddle hormone, is associated with lower blood pressure and heart rate. A study suggests this could explain why partners with emotional support are less likely to die from heart disease.
Sneak this exercise whenever is suitable for you – in the morning or evening while watching a movie.
The idea is to set aside time to practice it daily. Show physical tenderness, and improve your intimacy with your partner . This exercise is recommended in sex therapy as it can increase the erotic potential.
16. The 7 breath-forehead connection exercise
This close breathing exercise can be practiced anytime you need to feel in sync with your partner and focus on the present moment.
Lie next to each other and face each other. You should put your foreheads together without touching your nose or chins.
The idea is to synchronize your breath with your partner’s. At first, try to do 7 in a row. If it feels good, and it will extend it to 20 or 30 breaths. Prolong it for as much as it feels good for you and repeat any time you want to feel present and connected to your partner.
17. Question jar
Question Jar is a great relationship conversation starter.
The idea is fairly simple – take a jar and add any number of relationship-building questions. If you are having trouble coming up with them, there are already made question jars available for purchase.
The Legacy Jar , for example, has 108 awesome questions, which can also be used with your colleagues, friends, and kids.
If you, however, wish to make questions more personal, you can use any jar, and your partner and yourself can write as many questions as you wish.
Feel free to use the famous 36 questions that were used in an experiment showing that answering these 36 questions can bring people closer together. Several of them even fall in love.
18. The miracle question
This activity offers a reflective way of helping couples dive deep into an exploration of what kind of future they would like to create.
A lot of people are facing struggles, simply because they are not sure of their own and partnership goals. A “Miracle Question” can guide and help partners clarify their goals and gain clarity on what they are aiming to achieve as partners and individuals.
Therapist Ryan Howes elaborates the Miracle Question as:
“Suppose tonight, while you slept, a miracle occurred. When you awake tomorrow, what would be some of the things you would notice that would tell you life had suddenly gotten better?”
This question allows you to go beyond the spectrum of reality, using the imagination to dig for the things you truly wish to happen. By not being bound with the everyday constraints, you will bring up your desires that you prevent yourself from verbalizing.
In the setting of couples therapy, even though your partner might give an impossible wish, you can grasp the idea behind it.
The therapist would use an unrealistic idea to help you investigate it would change your life for the better. The change you find there is the change you need. On a partnership level, you can then work on scaling the idea of change and apply it on a practical level.
19. The weekly CEO meeting
In hectic lives, where we run around every day doing all sorts of errands, this exercise can be a good way to freeze time and reconnect.
During this exercise, it is important to have an adults-only 1-on-1 conversation. All distractions including kids should not be around.
Check each others’ calendars and cement a 30 minutes window for a CEO meeting.
You can kick off the conversation with the following questions:
- How do you feel today?
- How do you feel in our relationship?
- Is there anything from the previous week which you feel is unresolved and needs to be discussed?
- Do you feel loved?
- What can I do to make you feel more loved?
Even though direct, these questions are meaningful and will inspire your partner and yourself to have a productive discussion. It is quite important to have these conversations regularly and treat them like an important commitment out of which you will not bailout.
20. Set goals together
You can create as many categories as you would like, but we suggest you start with these 6 important areas of life:
- Hobby/Fun activities
- Social interactions
- Intellectual activities
After you agree on which categories you want to work on, set goals for each of the areas. Agree on the timeline and put the goals somewhere visible.
21. Volunteer together
What is a cause you both believe in? Focusing on helping there will bring you two together. When you see your partner helping others you will fall in love with them all over.
Decide what case you want to dedicate some of your time and volunteer together through a local charity or a church.
22. The high and low
This exercise is best utilized during the evening and allows the cole to check-in with each other. This exercise is used in couples counseling to increase empathy and understanding.
While one of the partners is sharing their high and low of the day, the other is using attentive listening techniques.
23. Sending a postcard
In this exercise, the focus is on written communication. B oth partners need to write on separate postcards their frustrations, feelings, or desires. Once written it is to be mailed and not verbally discussed.
Any further response should only be written in the same format and sent. This fosters written communication and patience.
24. Sticks and stones
Besides the cute nicknames and endearing words, partners sometimes call each other names that can be hurtful.
This exercise allows partners to address any name-calling that might have aggrieved them in the past. They are to make a list of names they found disrespectful and share it.
After reading it, both have a chance to elaborate on how those terms impacted their feelings of confidence and self-worth.
25. Helpful hands
This fun couple activity involves the body and the mind. The partners are to work together to achieve a common goal. The twist is – they each have an arm tied behind their backs.
They need to communicate directions and actions concisely so that, with their free hand, each of them is working to achieve a goal. Their synchronicity is necessary for obtaining the objective.
The activities can vary, and anything can be used such as buttoning a shirt, zipping a zipper, tying a shoe, or clasping a necklace.
A final word on couples therapy exercises
Every relationship can benefit from couples therapy exercises.
Whether your relationship is picture-perfect or you’re both looking to improve your marriage, couples therapy activities can now be done from the comfort of your own home.
Many couples swear by such couples counseling exercises that have brought them together after facing a difficult time or made their relationship better than before.
If you still require more assistance then look for online marriage counseling to seek some expert marriage counseling exercises to work on your relationship.
Search for couples counseling near me or couples therapy near me to find experts available in your area.
If you are wondering does marriage counseling work, there is no clear answer. It can for the sure benefit a relationship in which both partners strive to make it work.
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Kaida Hollister is a passionate relationship writer, renowned for her ability to shed light on the intricacies of love and human connection. With a deep understanding of psychology and personal growth, she has become known for her Read more insightful and engaging writing on these subjects. When she’s not busy crafting thought-provoking articles, Kaida can often be found pursuing her love of dance. She is also an avid foodie and enjoys exploring new flavors and cuisines. With a curious and open-minded approach to life, Kaida is committed to helping readers deepen their understanding of themselves and their relationships. Read less
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Top 15 Couples Therapy Exercises To Try At Home
Couples can visit a therapist anytime and at any age in order to keep their relationship alive and save it from falling apart. But healthy relationships are those which can take couples therapy tips from experienced professionals and include them in their everyday life. These techniques or couple counseling tips can help in making communication stronger and bonding healthier.
Sounds good, right? So, here are some couple therapy tips and relationship hacks that you can apply every day in your personal lives.
Couple Therapy Activities You can Try
1. list of activities to try together, 2. monthly “honesty hour”, 3. soul gazing, 4. go digital free a night, 5. weed out stress triggers, 6. trust falls’ to build trust, 7. appreciation letters, 8. prioritize ‘intimacy’, 9. resolving arguments before sleeping, 10. extension of cuddle time, 11. naikan reflection, 12. five things, 13. practice couples yoga, 14. time for a book club, 15. musical time.
Moreover, there is no harm in checking the signs that indicate if you need couples therapy and taking an extra step to love your partner more than before.
15 Couples Therapy Exercises: Activities To Do at Home
How about writing the activities that you want to try together individually and merge it in a single list? It could be a beach date night, cruise trip or getting clicked at the Eiffel tower.
Also Read: Best Self Care Ideas for a Healthy Mind Body and Soul
When you form a list and tick mark each of them, the spark to be with each other stays alive. Moreover, quality time in a whole new environment gives you an idea about a partner’s different perspectives.
Honesty is the most important key to keep a relationship healthy. However, we are afraid of hurting our partner’s feelings if we are being really honest.
Well, set up an honesty hour with each other and keep the judgments off the table. This hour is meant to release all the grudges you have been holding for each other. Make sure that you are not completely blaming or being defensive, just communicate and act rightly.
It is an intense couple therapy activity that connects you two on a deeper level. Sit close to your partner with knees touching and gaze into each other’s eyes. Look into the eyes for 2 to 4 minutes without talking.
If you are not so comfortable now, play soothing songs and hold the gaze till it completes. It really helps in understanding the connectivity with each other and delivering your love to your partner.
Many counselors suggest this marriage counseling tip as one of the most essential one. Just like technology has taken over our regular lives, it has a major impact on personal lives too.
Also Read: The Digital Detox: Disconnect to Reconnect
Hence, it is important to spend a night free from televisions, the internet, and mobile phones or tablets so that the time is meant to be spent only with each other. Play board games together, go stargazing, hit the roads for a long drive or just spend time in a hot water bathtub.
Your partner is someone whom you want to go to every day after a tiring day or stressed life and cuddle to release the stress. However, if both of you are going through some stress within relationships, it’s necessary to identify and weed it out.
Also Read: 20+ Stress Reducing Activities For Everyone
Issues like financial bills, job loss, or personal health could be triggered but together you can resolve it. Yes, finding solutions are not an easy process but communication and discussion could help sooner or later.
Although ‘Trust fall’ is performed to build trust within a team but honestly, both of you form the strongest team together.
Also Read: How To Stop Being Insecure In A Relationship? First, Trust Yourself.
This couple therapy tip can be tried at home where one of you will fall backward and your partner will hold you from falling off. It gives a trust of ‘having your back’ and makes you realize that their presence will always be there, no matter what.
In the generation of automated love, couple counselors recommend writing your feelings in a letter and give it to your partner. Appreciating your spouse not only makes you realize the value of them in life but also thrills your partner with confidence.
Also Read: Feeling Unappreciated? What To Do First, Don’t Lose Hope!
It shows that both of you value the relationship equally and love each other despite the flaws. Also, make sure that you repeat the act every few months and remind each other of your love.
A successful and thriving relationship aligns well with intimacy. Intimacy doesn’t mean sex alone but it’s about connecting together on a deep emotional level.
For example, sharing about your day in bed and talking about new ideas without turning on the television or using a mobile phone. Hold each other’s hands often and choose to spend some long-lasting time together.
“Don’t go to bed angry” is a phrase that really matters. Petty issues that could be solved if taken throughout the night only pile up for the next day. This piling only creates bitterness within each other, thus impacting a solid relationship. However, if issues are not resolving, make sure you fix an appointment with a relationship counselor very soon.
There is nothing complicated with this couple therapy exercise. All you have to do is spend some time more than regular in cuddling. Cuddles could see improvement in mood, deepen the connection within and sleep better.
Also Read: 10 Relationship Hacks Unfurled By Couples Therapists
It is also not necessary that you cuddle only before sleeping at night. But if you find time on a lazy Sunday, watch a movie on the couch while cuddling with each other. You can also choose to run a cool playlist that you mutually enjoy together.
Naikan reflection is a Japanese method of self-reflection and needs to be performed on an individual basis. It reminds the partners to not to take each other for granted by asking 3 important questions.
- What have I received?: Feel free to list those things that you have received from your partner in the last few days. Did they help you with the last discussion on job change? Did they pack lunch for you, etc?
- What have I given?: What have you done for them during these days? Did you ask them about their day? Did you message or call them during the day and ask about it?
- What troubles have I caused?: Think if you have caused any trouble or hurt your partner by any means. Did you say any impatient words or blamed them abruptly?
By implying this couple therapy activity, you can improve your recognition for you as well as for your partner.
You can perform this couple therapy exercise anytime and anywhere. Find a theme you want to talk about today like what makes you feel happy around your partner, what are the things that you appreciate about them, etc.
Now ask your partner to write 5 things on a paper and meanwhile, write 5 things about them too. Now express the details to each other, ask follow up questions and come together to make the relationship stronger.
Team up with your partner to practice yoga to balance and strengthen your trust. Studies have proven that couple yoga provides mindfulness to each other and enjoys benefits of yoga with each other.
Also Read: 15 Relaxation Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
A beautiful moment could be spent with each other if you start with a book club between you two. Buy a book for your partner, read the one that he or she gives you and set a date to discuss the book together.
Those who share the music together, share a special bond together. Make a playlist of songs which remind you of your partner and allow your partner to do the same. Play these songs, express, dance and enjoy together.
This couple therapy activity can enhance the quality of time being spent together and love for each other.
Also Read: Music Meditation: How To Meditate With Music
Looking For Couples Therapy? Drop a mail at [email protected] or check the best online relationship counseling programs to revive the spark of your relationship.
Start Your Counseling Now
Disclaimer: As BetterHelp Affiliate, We may receive compensation from BetterHelp or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page.
We hope that you spend your lives with love and affection and these couple therapy tips to try at home will keep the flame burning. Your promise and vows shall be respected and couples therapists can also play an important role in doing so.
When you want to put in efforts with the help of a therapist, drop us a message at [email protected] and give your relationship a gift of online and comfortable therapy.
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About The Author
Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.
I like the idea of a digital less date night. Such a wonderful way to reconnect with each other!
I love to make these Appreciation Letters..... but I really don't know that it is a part of an exercise......
I really like the tips you shared to try at home for couple therapy. I tried the trust fall and trust me it is rightly named. Thanks again
Wow this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I will definitely try these with my partner.
I truly liked Honestly Hour & Digital Free Night the most.
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11 Most Romantic Places in Moscow
Moscow is known to be one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to romantic getaways with your significant other. It’s a city where you can put your hands in each other’s pockets to keep warm when it’s cold outside or embrace a lot. A trip to Moscow as a couple can be both unique and enjoyable!
Whether you’re a romantic at heart or a bit more practical, Moscow has many dating options for you: stylish, fancy, and laid-back.
A couple in love has plenty of delicious options for spending time together. There’s a perfect option for everyone — whether you’re looking for ideas to amaze your new Russian date, you’re celebrating your wedding anniversary in Moscow, or you just want to hang out together.
With our choice of the top romantic places in Moscow, we want you to experience a special and exciting moment for yourself and your significant other.
11 Romantic Places to Explore in Moscow
Themed parks and gardens, exclusive restaurants, and other romantic spots can be found in Moscow. Take a look at the following:
1. Panoramic views in Moscow City
Moscow City is a brand-new commercial district in Moscow’s city center. With one of Europe’s highest buildings, it’s not the most obscure location in Moscow. However, the beautiful city panorama, especially in the evening, makes it one of Moscow’s finest dating romantic places.
Everyone knows that combining novelty with a dash of adrenaline may make your date fall head over heels in love almost immediately. And here is what you can see from the sky deck on the 58th floor of the Imperia Tower, which is 230 meters above the city.
If sharing the views isn’t enough, a prearranged private meal with a glass of champagne would work wonders as well!
2. Patriarch’s Ponds
Patriarch’s Ponds is a residential neighborhood in Moscow’s central business district and one of the key settings of Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic novel “The Master and Margarita.”
Take a leisurely stroll along the pond to escape the bustle of nearby Tverskaya Street with your significant other. Observe groups of teenagers who crowd the benches in the afternoon, sing, and play guitars. After that, get lost in the maze of narrow streets. And when you’re tired, head over to one of the many chic pubs and comfortable cafés that line the streets to grab a meal and relax with your partner.
3. Hermitage Garden
Hermitage Garden, located on Karetny Ryad Street in Moscow’s central district, is an open field that is frequently characterized as the ideal location for couples.
Hermitage Garden is beautiful at any time of year. It stunning views during the day and a magical ambiance at night. This garden would be wonderful for couples, with several lovely resting areas right under the trees as well as multiple cozy cafes.
Hermitage has also become one of the most iconic dating destinations, thanks to a newly constructed heart-shaped monument where couples can make a wish. The garden also features several theatrical and music festivals in the summer. It even has a magnificently illuminated ice skating rink in the winter.
All year round, this is an ideal location for a date.
4. Brix Wine Bar
Brix is a great place to grab a glass of wine and have an intimate conversation if you’re seeking a romantic place in Moscow.
Brix is one of Moscow’s best wine bars. It features a wide assortment of alcoholic beverages and top-notch cuisine at relatively moderate costs. It’s a tiny space that accommodates up to 40 people, with a straightforward but well-thought-out design.
Brix’s welcoming atmosphere will make you and your Russian date feel welcome and at ease.
The restaurant, which opened its doors in February 2017, is a novelty to Moscow’s dining scene. This restaurant combines traditional Russian food with modern execution. Also, the two-story restaurant’s décor features a mix of contemporary fashion styles, antique components, and industrial themes. This makes the romantic place a setting where traditions meet the latest trends.
The menu exemplifies how diverse and sophisticated Russian food is. Pike caviar costs around $10, sockeye salmon or pink salmon caviar is around $11, and sturgeon caviar is around $33. These are the four kinds of caviar available in this charming restaurant. Separately available that costs around $4 are sour cream pancakes.
Geraldine is a restaurant with a touching backstory: it is named after the mother of Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, who was French.
The establishment is charming and pleasant. It’s ideal for both couples who want to get away from their kids for a weekend brunch date — as well as first dates, as the warm atmosphere helps to break the ice.
Geraldine is a néo-Bistrot , a cheeky word for a chef who prioritizes their vision and the customer experience over a Michelin star. Néo-bistros are much more than establishments that offer exceptional value in relaxed circumstances. They are similar to an independent film director who wants to share his enthusiasm with you.
Think of delectable, affordable, and humble when you hear “néo-Bistrot” — ideal for a romantic date for couples visiting the city!
The Sad is one of the most romantic places in Moscow. The restaurant is large, with seating for up to 200 people. It’s divided into two areas — one of which is a blooming garden — where lovebirds like you and your Russian lover may easily find an ideal table.
The menu prepared by Michelin Star Chef Adrián Quetglas is extensive and diverse. The soup section alone includes eight entrees. It is mostly inspired by his native Spanish cuisine, although it also has Chinese, Indian, and Italian specialties.
The wine selection and cocktail list are both on par with the cuisine. It’s challenging to pick something that won’t please you and your partner! One significant advantage of a romantic trip to Russia is that you will spend far less money on caviar than you would in many other countries.
8. Mandarin Combustible
Mandarin Combustible is one of those rare venues where the shift from peaceful tearoom to an astonishingly beautiful bar to a restaurant is effortless. The interior is the most fascinating aspect of this place. It has a fantastic cocktail collection and some genuinely new pan-Asian bites.
Regardless of how busy the bar is, dark hardwood lounge chairs, richly draped curtains, and mandarin-colored light fixtures contribute to a sense of natural intimacy. Sit in a corner with your partner and let the world pass you by.
Pavilion is a restaurant located in one of Moscow’s most picturesque areas, overlooking the Patriarch’s Ponds. You can sometimes see skaters in the winter and witness the lovely swans drifting by in the summer.
The restaurant serves exquisite Russian cuisine and has waiters dressed in white tuxedos. As the sun sets over the lake, begin the evening with a toast of Prosecco with your partner. When the weather heats up, a terraced seating area near the water’s edge becomes available.
Bar 45 has an interesting take on serving wines. They don’t have menus, but a sommelier who personally visits tables and discusses their wine options with guests. Any establishment where the wine selection only sits in the sommelier’s mind takes wine carefully.
This unassuming bar offers space for roughly 25. It has soft bar stools placed in twos along the counter and rear wall. The kitchen delivers charcuterie, olives, and delectable snacks to help match your booze of choice. This is the ideal setting for wine drinkers, with ambient lighting, soothing music, and superb wine.
A bit of advice: if this is your first date, keep tabs on your knowledge regarding grape varieties and wine locales beforehand. When the sommelier accepts your order, you don’t want to be caught off guard and embarrass yourself in front of your Russian date.
11. Vogue Café
Vogue Café is regarded as one of Moscow’s most trendy establishments. It’s a popular choice among couples looking to spend an evening in a stylish setting with delectable cuisine and beverages. The interior design is sleek and sophisticated, with black and gold accents and countless images of some of the most famous fashion models.
Vogue Café is a terrific choice for romantic but modern couples. Enjoy the nice ambiance, superb food, and impeccable service!
Enjoy these best romantic places in Moscow!
Although there is no such thing as a perfect time or place for love to blossom, it can be quite beneficial if the setting matches your emotions. Choose from these romantic places in Moscow and enjoy your time with your Russian date.
If you haven’t found your ideal match yet, don’t worry! TrulyRussian has all the decent and gorgeous Russian singles — and one of them could be your Happily Ever After. Sign up today!
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