We form many different relationships with people as we go through life, but our romantic relationships tend to be by far the most intimate and intense. This often means that if any issues arise, their impact can be far greater than if they were to occur with a colleague or acquaintance. And no relationship, however perfect as it may appear on the surface, is perfect. Choosing to share your life with someone means also sharing the ups and downs that we go through and the lows (job losses, money worries, deaths, and more) can place a great deal of strain on personal relationships. Even if there are no major changes to your life, over time repeated arguments and bickering, or the loss of fun between the two of you can make your time together strained.
People tend to prefer not to talk about their relationship problems, preferring to try and work through them alone. However, outside support, particularly from someone impartial, can be valuable in seeing the issue from another perspective, resolving the issues currently affecting the dynamic, and enhancing your relationship in the long term. This is where couples therapy comes in.
Couples therapy goes by a range of names, including marriage counseling and relationship counseling/therapy. However, they all have the same goal – to help those involved in a romantic relationship to recognize and resolve conflicts that they have been having and improving and strengthing their relationship.
Couples therapy typically involves both parties attending sessions or retreats together. It isn’t uncommon for one partner to be reluctant to attend, and if necessary, the other can attend initial sessions on their own. The exact dynamic can be altered to meet the specific needs of the couple. For example, you may wish to intersperse couples sessions with individual sessions too.
It is important to be aware that the role of a couples therapist isn’t to pass judgment on who is right or wrong or to give you answers about your relationship or tell you what to do. Instead, your therapist is there to help you both communicate with one another more effectively and to reach your own conclusions under professional guidance. This can help you to facilitate change and bring about your own resolutions.
Relationships can be affected by many different issues, but there are some that are particularly common reasons for couples to seek professional support. These include:
One or both parties have had affairs
Sexual differences or issues
Lack of communication
Stress caused by work
Changes to the goals or values of either party
Differences over parenting methods
The effect of alcoholism, gambling, substance abuse, etc on the relationship
If you are unsure if couples therapy may be able to improve your relationship, speak to our team who will be able to advise you.
There is a range of advantages to choosing couples therapy to overcome the difficulties you are facing. The main benefits of couples therapy include:
Improved communication. Communication is key in any sort of relationship, but particularly our most physically and emotionally intimate ones. Your therapist will set the scene for open and honest communication that enables each party to speak their mind and express their thoughts and feelings while also helping the other person to listen and understand.
Resolve conflict in a healthy way. When emotions run high, it can be difficult to respond appropriately to the situation at hand. Shouting, screaming, crying, and even physical actions such as throwing or breaking things are common, but there are healthier and safer ways to resolve conflict. Your therapist will help to equip you with the skills you need to do this.
A safe space to express your feelings. Many people are worried about raising issues with their partners in private, but your therapy appointment provides a safe space to do this. It may even be that your partner is unaware that you are unhappy and the opportunity to bring your concerns to their attention is all that is required.
Recommitment. Commitment can be one of the most problematic aspects of a personal relationship, but this doesn’t always refer to sexual commitment. Finances, parenting, and emotional support are also huge elements of a happy, fulfilled relationship. Your therapist can help each party understand the type of commitment that the other person needs from them to be happy, and how to best fulfill this without compromising their own requirements for commitment. In doing so, it is possible for both parties to recommit to one another and forging a stronger relationship for the future.
If you would like to find out more about how couples therapy and our couples retreats can enhance your relationship, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team of therapists in San Diego, CA.