Here are a few signs that it’s a good idea to start Couples Counseling:
- More than 50% of your time is spent arguing or avoiding each other.
- It seems like a mental exercise to create future plans together.
- The two of you do not see eye to eye, and it’s upsetting.
- Things always feel like your fault.
- You are constantly in the role of policing your partner’s behaviors like drinking, spending money, or isolating himself or herself.
- The two of you seem to no longer have friends or spend time with friends.
- You spend lots of time thinking about life before your partner or what it would be like if they were gone.
- Life is turning out nothing like the two of you planned, and it bothers you.
Relationship researchers have found that people feel the loneliest when in an unhappy relationship. It’s true and worse than being single and alone. This relational stress limits social and economic success. It also has unwanted negative effects on long-term mental and physical health. The negative effects caused by conflict create a cycle of poor communication, which leads to more conflict or avoidance. If this is happening to you and your relationship, it’s a good idea to address it.
Most Couples Come To The Very Same Crossroads.
No matter how perfectly matched and in love, every couple will have challenges in their relationship. It’s perfectly normal to have disagreements and differing opinions. Most people don’t realize that during the maturation process it is these differences that help us create trust and intimacy in a relationship.
The great news is that we are genetically hardwired to be social and maintain relationships. With a little guidance, you can embrace the strong biological drive to live together and love naturally.
Its Not Your Fault, and Couples Counseling Is Here To Help.
It’s a common myth that both people have to try equally hard to make a relationship work. This belief often gets people in more trouble as they try to calculate who is more invested and putting in more work. In reality, the well-directed efforts of each person can hugely impact the direction of a relationship. You don’t even have to try very hard if you are in the right environment for change. I like what Carl Jung said: “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
Initially it’s really important to identify the underlying social mythology that creates the problems in our relationship. We all have been given so many unrealistic expectations about relationships and love throughout our lives. Our culture is overflowing with songs and movies depicting “happily ever after” romance. I love those stories too, but they create strong unconscious expectations for our partners. It’s such a relief when you stop trying to make your relationship live up to unrealistic expectations.
After you identify where these problematic themes came from, you begin to see that much of your relationship conflict was not the fault or either person. Then it's time to invent your own relationship model. This is a great part of being in couples therapy. Your personal story will have an original feel that can no longer be easily influenced by popular trends.
Too many therapists try to give couples rules to live by and fake feeling exercises to do. It’s just awkward and embarrassing. I am an expert at facilitating natural communication during our meetings. By the way, great couples therapy looks nothing like what you’ve seen in the movies. Both people’s opinions are equally weighted, so both people feel validated. It’s actually possible to do this, and it happens in my office everyday.
Still Have Some Questions About Couples Counseling?
How Long Does It Take?
Most couples come to a significant breakthrough in fewer than 10 sessions. That means that in 2 to 3 months your relationship will likely have transitioned. Lots of people want to go back to a time when things were good. The problem is that we are moving forward, not backward, in time. The new relationship has even better potential and capacity than the good times of the past.
The Big “D” Word
Yes, some people come in because they are already talking about divorce. And in some cases divorce is a reasonable option. If two people are thinking about splitting up, it’s a great idea to explore how to do it in a way that honors the love they shared. If you want to break up in anger, with resentment, you don’t need my help. If you want to break up and treat each other the best way possible, couples therapy can really be a huge help.
They Have The Problem. Why Do I Have To Go to Therapy?
Relationships are naturally imbalanced. One person makes more money. One of you is going to be funnier. And similarly there will be an imbalance in emotional strength and verbal abilities. This also means that each person will have different identified problems. Some people’s problems can be pretty serious. I don’t let individual problems become the focus of therapy. It seems counterintuitive, but the self-identified problems are rarely the real problem.
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If you have further questions about couples therapy or would like to set up an appointment, please call me at