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Collaborative Couples Therapy ("CCT") is designed for couples who may be struggling with patterns of conflict in their relationship. The focus of CCT, then, is on helping partners work together in a collaborative way to solve problems and improve their relationship in the process. CCT therapists see a fight between partners as an opportunity for a conversation. 

CCT therapists believe that relationship conflict emerges when partners are unable to express their true thoughts and feelings, which may lead them to act in ways that hurt their partner. Couples engage in adversarial cycles when they say something hurtful to their partner and withdrawn cycles when they say nothing about how they are feeling. In collaborative couple therapy, partners are encouraged to identify and express their “leading-edge” thoughts and feelings—the ones in the moment that motivate, distract, or linger in the mind or body—rather than continue engaging in adversarial and withdrawn patterns.   


One defining feature of CCT is that the collaborative element occurs not only between the couple, but also between the therapist and the couple. Therapists who practice CCT recognize that the therapist may struggle with the same problem as the couple: the tendency to get pulled into adversarial and withdrawn states. Rather than siding with one partner or failing to engage with either partner, the therapist strives to enter into a collaborative relationship with the couple. The therapist works to help both partners regain their voice and express their underlying 

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