Couples Counseling also known as Marriage Counseling, Relationship Counseling, Couples Therapy, or Partner Therapy focuses on improving relationship satisfaction, improving communication between partners, reducing conflict, and reestablishing connection and intimacy among many other benefits.
The idea of starting therapy can be frightening. Beginning Couples Therapy can be even more intimidating, however, knowing what to expect can bring some comfort and make the initial call and the first appointment a little bit easier. Statistically, it takes on average six years for couples to seek help. I want to commend you on your courage and provide you with reassurance and encouragement.
In my work with couples, I mainly use Relational Life Therapy for Couples (RLT) along with Trauma Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment Theory, Family System Constellation, Motivational Interviewing, Person Center Approach, Emotion Freedom Technique, and more.
As an RLT therapist, I will be working with you to develop a deep, permanent change in yourself and your relationship. My work is different from a typical couple’s therapist. I often take sides when there is a power imbalance, as I do not believe that all problems are an even fifty-fifty split. I use appropriate self-disclosure, I am honest, I am direct and I am real. I often do individual work in the presence of the partner. My goal is to help you move from trauma to healing, from disconnection to connection.
During Couples Counseling I will help you create a space where you and your partner feel safe, heard, and secure. Where your experience is validated and suffering witnessed. You can expect to feel respected and taken seriously.
As your therapist, I will have your and your partner’s best interest at heart. I will challenge you both to work on yourself to become a better partner or a spouse and to change the way you see yourself in your relationship with your partner.
What will I discuss?
During Couples Therapy you will have the opportunity to talk through and explore the difficulties you are both facing in your relationship. I will help you identify the cycle of your relationship you may be stuck in, unhealthy coping skills, losing strategies, and current stressors. I will help you process unmet expectations, empower you to stand up for yourself in a loving way, use healthy and effective communication skills, work through resentment, and move on from hurts and anger. We will work towards reestablishing connection, healing past experiences, and resolving conflict. It is also important to identify your strength, explore your hopes, wants, and needs, and identify what works in your relationship to build on the positives.
Can you fix my partner and my relationship?
Sometimes clients seek couples therapy hoping that someone can “fix” their relationship by “fixing” their partner. In reality, you will learn a lot about your partner but also about yourself. In our work together, I will encourage you to work on creating a shift by changing how you respond and participate in the current relationship cycle. You may also expect to reflect on how you and your partner react to triggers and what maladaptive coping skills you are both using. Some of the maladaptive coping skills are shutting down, withdrawing, engaging in angry peruse, manipulating, controlling, fighting, or trying to fix things. We will reflect on how your emotional reactions, often learned in childhood, impact and play out in the current relational dynamic. Very often each partner plays the same role in the conflict repeatedly, therefore no matter what the problem is, the fight always looks like the same old fight with the same outcome of disconnection.
Couples Therapy allows partners to break free from dysfunctional patterns and to develop empathy and understanding towards themselves and each other. It is a space for deep personal growth and reconnection first to yourself, your needs and feelings, and also to your partner.
Every relationship is different and your journey will depend on your current needs. You may seek help to resolve minor issues and difficulties before major conflicts arise and before things get worse. Perhaps all you need is to maintain a healthy relationship.
Maybe your situation is different and perhaps you are no longer able to communicate effectively and cope with the difficulties in your relationship alone. Maybe you are at the point where you are no longer able to ignore the problem or avoid it, you may need some extra help and support.
If you are considering separation or divorce. I can help you explore your options and determine if this is indeed the best decision for you. We can explore the consequences and impact of a breakup/divorce, both positive and negative.
Couples Therapy can help you see clearly what is currently happening in your relationship or marriage. You can gain a better understanding of what you would like to be different and how you to bridge the gap. Both you and your partner need to decide what you are willing and able to change. Being open to changing yourself can be a key to a successful couple’s work. I am here to help you move from “me vs you” to “us vs the problem”.