Pauliann Long, LCSW-C

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Couples Therapy: Why You Should Go & What You Can Expect

When you think of couples therapy, where does your mind go?

Do you think of all the benefits and helpful guidance you’ll receive? Or, do other less positive thoughts come to mind?

Perhaps the following thoughts seem familiar:

  • “Isn’t couples therapy a last resort?”
  • “Don’t couples just spend the hour venting and stirring up trouble to take back home?”
  • “Aren’t we admitting that we’re not strong enough to fix our own problems?”

Sadly, couples therapy is frequently seen as a relationship help you don’t want to want or have to seek. Still, hopefully, those stigmas won’t keep you from reaching out anyway.

Why You Should Go to Couples Therapy

When you’ve gone ’round and ’round trying to figure out why your relationship won’t improve, therapy can provide relief. If you find yourselves stumbling over the same obstacles repeatedly, therapy offers hope and direction.

Sometimes you have no clue how to improve relationship skills because you have too much individual pain, past dysfunction, or unresolved childhood hurt plaguing your current relationship.

Also, think of your therapy sessions as a time and place for working out challenges in your union with a trained and knowledgeable guide.

Common reasons for couples therapy

Whatever your background and commitment level, therapy provides the opportunity to identify specific problems issues or unproductive habits that may be hindering your growth as a couple.

For example, you may find therapy is particularly helpful when:

  • Sharing, relaxed interaction, and communication is dwindling or problematic
  • Romance has given way to “roommate syndrome”
  • Conflict is repetitive and routinely unresolved
  • One or both of you feel unheard, dismissed, or misunderstood
  • You miss the intimacy of your early life together
  • Fun and humor have become rare occurrences
  • Passive aggressive behavior marks your interaction
  • Distrust and insecurity are overriding your bond
  • Your families of origin or parenting styles are sources of disagreement
  • Infidelity has upended your perception of each other and the relationship
  • Addiction, mental health issues, or chronic disease are jeopardizing your relationship

All couples experience stress points in their connections. Bumping up against hard times can cause fractures that need attention and healing. When you and your partner feel broken, stuck, or confused, therapy provides a place to rebalance and restore your union.

Are you concerned about what committing to this process will be like?

What You Can Expect from Couples Therapy

Rather than frightening, therapy is a judgment-free and safe place. To help you grasp the notion of this relationship safeguard, here’s what to look forward to.

First, therapy is a place to safely develop coping skills and productive self-expression.

You can expect to spend some time gaining perspective.  You’ll get to breathe and focus on responding rather than reacting. You’ll also work on the personal awareness, self-control, and emotional expression.

Expect to discuss what you need as an individual to feel safe sharing in sessions. Your needs will be honored in neutral territory.

If you or your partner feels blamed or misunderstood, your therapist can address how to adjust the interaction. Scapegoating and judgment are not part of effective therapy.

Next, your therapist will help you explore and develop untapped communication and relationship skills.

You will have the chance to examine and explore your communication patterns. Together, you can break down and examine your conversations, interpretations, and responses to each other.

As you uncover where and how you and your partner are relationally stuck, you’ll practice more productive ways to identify and share your feelings.

Your practice may include in-session communication exercises and homework for more practice outside of therapy sessions. Special attention is paid to conflict management and productive disagreement with focus on developing a deeper partnership.

Also, your therapist will encourage reconnection through increased compassion, forgiveness, and cooperation

Sessions will ultimately serve to improve mutual understanding. The goal will be to find ways to look beyond your immediate problem reactions to each other.

Thus, You will be encouraged to view each other compassionately and with more curiosity (What’s the deeper pain? Is his/her irritation tied to me? How does this situation remind them of their past hurts?).

Taking time with your respective, underlying issues will help healing occur. You may find vulnerability seems less scary.

Are you ready?

You and your partner invested in each other up to this point, embrace the chance to add therapy to your relationship portfolio. Whatever direction your relationship takes, therapy pays off and is well worth the work.

Finally,  please investigate my couples therapy page. Contact me for a free 20-min consultation. I welcome any questions about the techniques I employ and how I can help you and your partner connect the way you want most.

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