The work in couples counseling is to break the status quo. Couples in counseling are typically distressed and unhappy; if they stay that way, many of them will not stay together.
This requires doing things differently. Unfortunately, couples in counseling are so locked into their less effective patterns that they can’t resolve issues on their own. That’s where couples counseling comes in.
A trained third-party observer can see where couples get stuck and suggest more productive ways of interacting. The goal is to develop muscle memory so that when couples discuss challenging topics, they automatically know how to do so—breaking the status quo.