There are many reasons why people seek couples counseling. There are also reasons why people don’t seek help with their relationship. You may feel as if the relationship is stagnant or deteriorating, and not know how to move forward. Your relationship may be filled with hurt, contempt, confusion, and sadness. You may feel disconnected from your partner over time, or due to hurtful things your partner has done. Your relationship may have spun out of control to the point where your self-identity has been called into question.
What to do?
Well, there are two paths to take. One calls for you to “stick it out” hoping that things will get better on their own. Perhaps you are afraid of moving from the status quo to one of growth, of change. Perhaps messages from your past tell you to “grin and bear it” and “hang in there” because the alternative might be worse than what you currently experience.
The other side of the argument calls for action. It comes with the knowledge that things could be better, or at least you need to clarify what’s going on. It may be scary to admit that one’s relationship needs fine-tuning, a major overhaul, or a parting of the ways. Couples counseling may open up wounds that have been festering for a long time. But in the absence of exposing these wounds, healing is not possible. One needs to look at what’s really going to better understand why things have gone awry and what, if anything, can be done to repair or salvage the relationship.
Why Couples Counseling?
Couples counseling is about identifying, clarifying and resolving “core issues” that impede or strangle the relationship. While couples won’t necessarily agree on all issues or see things the same ways, core issues can become so intractable that the relationship becomes undermined.
Many people mistakenly assume that only couples with serious problems can benefit from couple therapy. No relationship is free of conflict. Couple counseling can benefit all kinds of relationships, regardless of the severity of problems. Tangible benefits include, but are not limited to, improved patterns of communication, increased emotional and physical connection, and development of a life plan.
The benefits of relationship counseling are endless, and often overlooked by couples in need of this type of therapy. There is still a stigma attached when it comes to couples counseling, and many avoid the issue out of a fear of perhaps embarrassment. Dealing with issues in your relationship on your own will not always solve the problem. There are struggles that only a trained psychotherapist can guide you through to a successful resolution. If you value your relationship and don’t want to lose it, but feel like you’re on the edge of doing so, then reach out to a therapist who specializes in couples counseling.
Your First Couples Therapy Session
What happens in a couples counseling session? Each session is unique and it depends on the style of the therapist. The therapist will build a rapport with both individuals so that they feel comfortable during the therapy session. Unresolved conflicts often stay just that — unresolved — festering inside of both individuals until it leads to anger and resentment. With the help of couples counseling, you can avoid this pitfall in your relationship.
No relationship is perfect and we all know this. Healthy relationships form the cornerstone of our daily interactions as human kind. We enjoy the feelings of love, safety, and security, but to achieve a balance in our relationships there are certain steps we can take so the process is smoother.
We seek relationships for a variety of purposes — safety and security, love and intimacy, to satisfy physical, emotional and spiritual needs, to name a few — and it is through our connections with others that we come to shape not only our view of the world around us, but the way we see ourselves.
Healthy relationships encourage interdependence while supporting personal growth and autonomy. They also place great value in open communication. However, even the most skilled couples and families can experience a breakdown in communication and increased conflict that results in avoidance and withdrawal, mistrust, unbalanced power and control, and an overall lack of patience and empathy.
Issues bringing clients to therapy include, but are not limited to, infidelity, poor communication, money, parenting or co-parenting, work or career issues, lack of physical or emotional intimacy, separation or divorce, caregiver stressors, abusive or other destructive relationships, grief and loss, and life transitions.
If you’re interested in couples counseling for your relationship, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist. It may be the best decision you can take to save your relationship from common problems. Don’t let the fear of embarrassment or the shame of “reaching out for help” from a therapist hold you back from achieving the relationship with your loved one that you truly desire.