Relationships, like the people that comprise them, are constantly changing. Life around us changes, our perspectives changes, our dreams, goals and behavior changes.
Conflict often accompanies change and is an unavoidable part of being in a relationship. If effective conflict resolution skills do not exist or are not being utilized by both members of the relationship, tension and disorder will likely arise.
The spark that once ignited into excitement and passion at the beginning of the relationship may seem dimmer, or things that you once easily agreed on become points of contention. Anger and resentment within the relationship may form for various reasons, addiction issues may need to be addressed, or you both simply might need a check in as you experience a period of difficulty or transition.
When it appears that relational happiness or functionality cannot be achieved on your own, it might be time to seek a couple’s counselor.
When you begin couple’s counseling, you will complete an assessment with the therapist during the first session where she will ask questions to understand the issues within in the relationship. By gathering this necessary information, you will all then collaborate on creating a treatment plan that acts as a road map to follow in order to meet your goals in therapy.
Depending on the issues, the therapist will use a number of interventions during the therapy sessions and will likely play a more active role than most individual therapists, interrupting as the couple gets sidetracked or begin to escalate in an argument. Your therapist will most likely assign homework between sessions that can include written work as well as behavioral components to practice interacting in new ways in a real life setting. By working in this way, your therapist will help you correct misunderstandings, alter unreasonable expectations, and change unhelpful communication patterns.
Sometimes couples therapy need only be a few sessions, or it may be open-ended depending on the issues within the relationship. Most couples come away from therapy with a heightened awareness of relationship patterns, increased emotional expression and a toolbox of communication skills that help the couple problem solve effectively.
Couples therapy can be used to address the following issues:
- Chronic Health Issues
- Communication Skills
- Conflict Management/ Resolution
- Emotional Distance
- Emotional Regulation
- Financial Stress
- Goal Setting
- Intimacy Issues
- Self Care
Possible Therapeutic Interventions:
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Communication Skills Training
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Intimacy Enhancement (exercises to increase emotional support)
- CBT for Couples
- Gottman Method