Why seek couples counseling?

Intimate relationships can be a great source of human joy as well as a substantial source of pain. They begin with hope, acknowledgement, acceptance, belonging, passion and a lasting bond. However, at some point we may begin to think, "What am I doing here? Is it really worth the struggle?" These questions arise when a relationship starts to feel more like work than fun and we wonder if we are on the right track.

Nearly all couples encounter a significant crisis point in their relationship that can benefit from outside intervention. Therapy helps by providing an opportunity for both partners to be heard and brings another perspective into the issue.

What can I expect?

Couples seeking relationship counseling can expect to be together for the entire session. They will learn how to communicate in more effective ways that lead to greater clarity. This does not necessarily mean agreement-just a better understanding. This type of therapy focuses on resolving the current issue by providing new, effective ways of working together toward mutual goals and experiences. Couples must devote attention to their partner's additional developmental needs if they are to maintain a vital, helpful and nurturing partnership.

Some common discoveries include repetitive patterns of conflict for which couples need help finding productive solutions. Partners may reach an impasse along some major decision or on a major lifestyle issue such as relocating, children or adapting to a family or economic crisis. Couples must seek a new perspective on relationships for them to flourish. Doing so will increase awareness and reveal deep truths.

What will I learn?

Often we need a new understanding of what our relationships can offer as well as what makes relationships so difficult. Many people in our society still believe that a successful relationship depends on finding the right person. We dream that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security. Such beliefs can undermine the real power of love, which transforms us, grows us and helps us become more mature.

Many couples return for periodic episodes of sessions. Some couples utilize monthly visits as a way of maintaining progress and work through any new crises that arise without allowing hidden feelings or resentments to grow and thus interfere with the development of their relationship.

Learning how to work cooperatively with a partner increases closeness, communication and true intimacy. The degree to which we learn to love ourselves greatly influences the degree to which we develop that true intimacy. Whether we're distanced from our unresolved anger, pain, grief, emotional wounds or our backgrounds, therapy approaches relationships as an arena for learning, healing and growth.

February 2020
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