Relationships are a dynamic of two; what affects one partner in the relationship will affect the other and thus affect the relationship. Therefore, in Couples Therapy, The Relationship is the Client. The three of us work together to understand the wounds the relationship is suffering, how to feed the relationship, how to honor it and how to heal the wounds.
Couples Therapy helps couples in a diversity of ways. Pre-marital counseling helps couples examine their individual value systems and decision making about core areas of a marriage, including finances, children, career moves, religion, sex and intimacy and family of origin.
Employing Couples Therapy in the early stages of a difficult problem can open doors of communication and problem solving, heading off the possibility of getting stuck. Some couples come when their relationship is in crisis; others find themselves stuck in an endless repetition of the same problem with no resolution. And still others come as a last resort to save or end the relationship.
Many stressors can affect the relationship, creating obstacles in the road, keeping the relationship stuck and creating feelings of resentment. Some stressful contributors can be:
Lack of emotional or physical intimacy, broken trust, the birth of a child, changing or losing a job, moving, illness, family of origin, finances, crisis, becoming empty nesters, shifts in lifestyles. Couples Therapy addresses these concerns through learning and creating specific skills, connecting with one another and most importantly, the cornerstone of couples work, communication.
Healthy and productive communication is composed of many elements that can be learned to enhance and grow your connection and to help you to be seen and heard. Communication consists of:
We are all subjective viewers of the world. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and see the world through their eyes rather than yours. Empathy comes out of curiosity rather than judgment. Truly understanding the other’s thoughts, reasoning and feelings, dissipates anger and opens the door to productive discussion.
Active listening leads to empathy. Listening attentively and actively, letting go of defenses and opening yourself up to take in what your partner is trying to say makes way for intimacy, understanding and connection.
What are your arguing styles? How do we make them more productive, less hurtful and less damaging to the relationship? Arguments and fights can be destructive and cause deep and painful wounds. Learn how to argue, disagree, and to express your anger and pain constructively to create change.
Sex and Intimacy
Many couples experience a shift in their sexual relationship at about the 2-year mark. Some may experience it later. Sexual differences can lead to resentments and lack of intimacy. And chances are, if you have difficulty communicating outside the bedroom, you will most definitely have difficulty communicating in the bedroom. Learn to open up about your thoughts and feelings regarding your sexual concerns, wants and needs.
Trust and Honesty
Broken trust can be the result of the discovery of a hidden secret. Learn to rebuild trust, and to promote honesty and vulnerability with one another.