Couples Therapy Can Be Costly. Here Are Some Affordable Alternatives

It’s becoming more and more common for couples to seek out professional relationship advice, often in the form of couple’s therapy. Couples therapy is a great option for couples that need to work through deep-seated problems, in-person, with the help of a professional. Couples therapy, like individual therapy, can be a long process that requires a lot of emotional vulnerability over the course of multiple sessions. And while couples therapy is very effective, it’s unfortunately not a viable option for every couple.

Couples therapy tends to be quite expensive. The nature of problems that bring people to the couch of a couples therapist are not the kind of problems that can be hashed out in one session, meaning that you and your partner will have to commit time and money to counseling that could end up being long-term. But, don’t let the price tag of couples therapy deter you from getting relationship help! The good news is that there are plenty of steps that you can take before heading into a therapist’s office! All couples have problems, and many can be addressed without the expertise from a professional. There are lots of resources out there for people that feel like they need some relationship support, but don’t have the ability (due to time or money or what have you) to meet with a couples counselor.

Some affordable alternatives to couples therapy are:

Self-help books

There are self-help books for just about everything these days, including relationships! And not just relationships in general, but books that are catered to specific relationships problems and specific types of relationships. While the nuances of every relationship are different, all relationships share some core characteristics, as well as some core problems. Relationship self-help books explore, explain and provide actionable solutions to remedy some of these common problems. Self-help books are a great alternative to couples therapy, because they are super accessible and address a huge variety of topics.

There are books that you can read as an individual, as well as books created for couples to read together, depending on your relationship dynamics and preferences. These types of books offer testimonials and advice from experts and real people that you can incorporate into your relationship. Taking advice from these types of books can help you address small problems as they come up, preventing huge, therapy-requiring problems from popping up down the line.

Online Quizzes

If you can’t imagine strolling through the self-help aisle of your local bookstore to find relationship help, you should consider looking at the relationship resources that are available online. There are tons of online quizzes that can help you “diagnose” your relationships problems in the same way that a therapist would. Sometimes it can be hard to see the signs, problems and patterns when it's your everyday life, taking an online quiz can help elucidate these things and point you in the right direction. Most of these quizzes take less than five minutes to fill out, so there’s really no excuse not to try it.... Using online platforms, you can find out your relationship personality profile, your conflict style, your love language, the types of things you value in your relationship and tons of other things just by filling out a simple quiz.

Knowing these things about yourself (and your partner) will help you navigate your problems with a more informed perspective and with more empathy for one another. Doing these quizzes on a regular basis can help you keep tabs on how things are going, which will allow you to address problems as they come up (or even proactively!), keeping you out of the expensive therapist’s office.

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Talk it out

Online relationship quizzes and books can be a helpful way to figure out what’s up with your relationship, but sometimes we know exactly what the problem is. In these cases (and even in cases where we discover the issue with the help of an outside source), it’s important to schedule time with your partner to talk out the issues. Knowing the issue is half the battle, actually talking about what the issues are and finding the solution is the other (often more difficult) half of the equation. Now when we say talk it out we don’t necessarily mean having an argument (though it could lead to that if you aren’t proactive), we mean that you should have routine relationship check-ups to talk about what’s on your mind, and evaluate the current state of affairs.

Having routine check-ups, whether they’re once a week, once a month, or every few months, establishes a safe space for you and your partner to talk about things – both positive and negative – in a constructive way. A lot of the times the speed bumps in our relationships are super navigable if you are able to openly talk about them as a partnership, as they arise. Couples therapy is often just a formal facilitation of these types of conversations. If you and your partner add check-ins to your routine, you will become more and more comfortable talking out your problems, which can help you avoid therapy in the long run.

Date nights

Really can’t stress this one enough. In addition to having routine relationship check-ups, you and your partner should have routine date nights. After all, relationships can’t be all business and mature conflict resolution.... Having a routine date night will help you and your partner maintain your connection, despite all the stressful things life throws at you. Date night can mean a movie night in, trying out a new restaurant, hitting the town, or whatever it is that you and your partner prefer to do together. On date night you should refrain from talking about the same old same old, and instead, focus on having fun and keeping up your friendship as well as the romantic spark alive.

Spending quality time together on a routine basis proves to your partner that you prioritize spending time together and prioritize the health of your relationship. Date nights can sometimes be the first thing to go during stressful bouts in a relationship, but sticking to them will help you stay strong through tough times. It will also show your commitment to one another, which can make conflict resolution more meaningful. Routinely spending time together can help you maintain a strong connection in your relationship, which can help you avoid having huge problems in the long run.

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Go on group dates

If you and your partner are social people, it can be really fun (and effective) to go on group dates with other couples. This is in addition to your regularly scheduled date night of course! A lot of relationship problems are related to the life stage that you find yourself in. Are you a young couple stressed about finances and ageing parents? Are you new parents dealing with the stress of a baby? Have you lost your spark after years of being together? These types of problems are often the root cause of other relationship issues. And believe it or not, these problems are not unique to you and your partner. If you’re experiencing these types of problems, it’s likely that your peers and friends are as well. It can be super cathartic to invite a couple of your favorite couple friends to a group date night where you discuss these issues as a group. During these types of discussions you can talk about good strategies and learn how other people handle these same problems.

While the idea of group therapy with your friends may not seem like the most fun way to spend a Friday night, it can be very helpful and even enjoyable to air some of your problems to a group and have your friends provide fresh perspectives, solutions and even a little empathy. A group date probably won’t immediately solve all your troubles, but at the very least you will know that you have supportive friends around you that can empathize with you and your situation. Talking about your problems out loud, and problem-solving as a group can help you avoid couples therapy.

Vacation together

The idea of taking a vacation may seem like a rather expensive solution to include under an affordable alternatives to therapy list, but just remember that not all vacations have to be a trip to Hawaii! If you find that you and your partner are struggling to connect, it may be helpful to schedule a vacation together so that you can spend some quality time as a couple. Sometimes you need more than a date night to really rekindle your emotional and physical connection. Like we said before, the vacation doesn’t need to be lavish or expensive, you don’t even need to leave your city! Book a hotel room for two nights, camp in a nearby state Park or be more lavish and plan a getaway in a new city you’ve been wanting to visit. The specifics of the vacation are besides the point, which is to spend more time together, and perhaps rekindle some lost romance.

Taking a vacation together can help you reset any negative habits you were in as a couple. Spending quality time together can also remind you why you are with this person in the first place. It can be easy to let small, daily annoyances fester to the point where you have a problem. The type of problem that requires couples therapy.... Taking a vacation together outside of your usual environment can help you get over those little things, by remembering the important things that make the relationships worth it.

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Couples Workshops

If you want to avoid a full-blown therapy session, but still believe that you need the help of a trained, in-person counselor, you and your partner should consider going to a couples workshop. Couples workshops can come in the form of singular classes, day long workshops, weekend long workshops, and even couple retreats that have workshops set up over the course of a long weekend or week. All of these options can provide you and your partner with the resources to navigate through your relationships problems, in a group setting with trained facilitators. There are couples workshops and courses for all types of things such as conflict resolution, navigating infidelity, addressing addiction, pre-divorce/breakup counseling and intensive couples counseling that you can enroll in to help you address your problems together.

These workshops can provide a broad framework in addition to specific skills that can help you navigate these difficult problems. This option can be pricey and fairly intense, but sometimes a one-off session is all you need as a couple to get your relationship back on track. And while this is one of the pricier options, it will definitely be cheaper than long-term couples therapy. Think of this type of spending as an investment in the future success of your relationship, which is priceless.


Another great way to avoid a couples therapist, is to participate in relationship coaching. Relationship coaching helps you evaluate the current state of your relationship, create relationship goals, and actively move towards those goals. Relish is a relationship coaching app that facilitates these things, by putting you in touch with a relationship coach that can help you navigate the current problems you are having. Embracing relationship coaching, and putting in the effort (which can often be really, really hard) that it takes to reach your goals will help you address problems early on, create a stronger bond and relationship between you and your partner, and prevent deep-seeded problems from festering and necessitating therapy.

Relationship coaching is beneficial even for couple’s that aren’t currently having problems. A lot of trouble can arise if you and your partner are not of the same page about your plans for the future. Using a relationship coach like Relish to help you set goals as a partnership will help you clarify your goals early on, which ensures that you agree about what the future of your relationship holds. Creating these goals at the outset also helps ensure that you’re moving toward your shared vision of the future together!

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