Are You And Your Partner Struggling To Communicate and Connect?
- Are you feeling hurt, misunderstood and wounded by constant arguing and tension in your relationship?
- Do you and your partner often belittle, shame and criticize one another?
- Has intimacy fallen by the wayside?
- Are you worried that a breakup or divorce is just around the corner?
- Do you long to rekindle romance, friendship and mutual respect, but fear your relationship can’t be repaired?
Relationship difficulties can make you feel like you’re walking through no man’s land with no hope of escape. Like many relationships, yours likely began with feelings of excitement and attraction, but over time it might have started to sour, turning what was once a passion between lovers into a conflict among warring factions. Perhaps you and your partner constantly yell and have fights over seemingly insignificant things. You might insult, criticize and belittle each other and have heated arguments about parenting, money or even household chores. What’s more, you might feel hurt and abandoned by your partner and long for the past when you spent meaningful, playful time together. However, the harder you might plea for closeness from your partner, the further he or she may push you away. Your partner might even seem depressed and withdrawn, perhaps refusing to speak or spending hours alone. You may want to be sensitive to his or her needs, but feel angry with your partner for not being emotionally present.
Regardless of whether you are bumping up against minor challenges or fear that your relationship is falling apart, you’re likely feeling alone, deeply hurt and maybe even powerless to affect change. After a long day at work, you might sit silently watching TV together with little communication or interaction, only to get up the next day and start your disconnected routine all over again. You may long to recapture the dreams you once had of a healthy, happy, fulfilling relationship, but have stared to lose hope that you can reconnect, enjoy each other’s company and work as a team again.
Most Couples Struggle With Communication
If you’re currently struggling in your relationship, you’re certainly not alone. Most couples fight, primarily due to poor communication in their relationship. Many of us never learned to resolve conflicts in productive ways. When presented with the stresses and challenges of a relationship, one or both partners can become defensive, use aggressive language or focus on the other’s perceived faults. However, this only leads to hurt feelings and more arguments, and conflicts almost never get resolved. Thankfully, couples counseling can stop the cycle of fighting and teach you new, effective ways of communicating.
Couples Counseling Can Get Your Relationship Back on Track
Couples counseling is very effective for couples who want to save their relationship and/or for those who want to find a healthier way of living. If both you and your partner are motivated to do the work, agree to set aside the necessary time and can approach therapy with openness and honesty, you can make great strides in your relationship.
In couples counseling sessions, I can help you not only gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your relationship, but also teach you practical tools you can use at home. You can begin to turn away from blaming and criticism by bringing “I” back into the conversation, focusing on your own needs and frustrations rather than on what your partner is doing wrong. You can also adopt activities to help you honor each other’s strengths and positive qualities. By learning to focus on the positive (rather than the negative) you can restore feelings of admiration and respect and perhaps even rekindle the attraction that initially brought you together.
In sessions you’ll also have the opportunity to increase romance and intimacy. As your therapist, I’ll encourage you to spend time together and re-cultivate a sense of enjoyment and fun in your relationship. Instead of sharing passive activities like watching TV, you can begin to share healthy, engaging activities that you both enjoy, such as dancing, hiking or camping.
During sessions, we can also explore how you’re communicating and determine whether your communication style is contributing to conflict. You can begin to voice your needs, frustrations and desires, become a better listener and adopt conflict resolution skills that can help you calm down at the onset of an argument. Using valuable skills, you can identify anger signals in your body and mind so that you’ll be able walk away from fights during times of high tension. You can learn to respond rather than react, say fewer things you regret and express your point of view in a calm and grounded way.
As a therapist, I use an eclectic approach and will tailor your sessions in ways that will best support your unique situation. I sometimes use attachment theory to help couples better understand each other’s behavior and experience. Using this approach, you’ll be able to share your life stories, examine your belief systems and become more empathetic toward your partner.
A breakup isn’t the inevitable outcome of your relationship. I truly believe that with time, patience, commitment and a willingness to work, you can make great gains. With the guidance of a compassionate, professional, supportive therapist, it’s possible to feel better about yourself, develop more compassion toward your partner and have a relationship that is rewarding and fulfilling.
Perhaps you’re ready to give a try, but still have some questions or concerns…
What if my partner won’t join me in couples counseling?
You don’t need your partner in order to gain the benefits of therapy. If your partner won’t come in, I can treat you individually. If you grow, flourish and make positive changes in your sessions with me, your partner may decide to come in at a later date.
I’m afraid I’ll be blamed for the failing of our relationship.
My job is the help you grow as a person, not to judge or ridicule you. In sessions, I’ll discourage attacks and blaming and will serve as a mediator. Together we can explore how both of you contribute equally to conflict and discover that neither is ever solely to blame.
We tried counseling in the past and it didn’t really help.
Perhaps your previous therapist wasn’t a good fit, or he or she used an approach that wasn’t right for you. Regardless of what happened, I’ll work collaboratively with you and your partner to ensure that therapy with me is a positive experience. During your first session, you’ll fill out a patient intake form. Here you can voice your frustrations about your previous therapy experience and describe your current needs, goals and desires. Based on this knowledge, I’ll do my best to meet your needs and fill in any gaps your previous therapist might have overlooked.
Your Relationship Isn’t Over Yet
With the help of couples counseling, you can restore warmth and start communicating in healthy, effective ways. Please call me at (310) 427-1107 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. I’d be happy to answer any of your questions about couples counseling or my practice.