Pauliann Long, LCSW-C



Couples Counseling

Do You Feel Disconnected From Your Partner?


Despite living under one roof, do you and your partner or spouse feel as though you are living parallel lives? While at one time you were genuinely interested in each other, perhaps your relationship has become monotonous and distant. As your disconnection grows, do you feel overlooked, underappreciated and neglected?

Does it seem like the arguments with your partner are becoming more frequent? Regardless of what triggers a disagreement, do your fights seem to follow the same pattern? Maybe one person becomes overtly emotional while the other shuts down or surrenders, leaving neither satisfied. Or, it may be that you both close off and retreat, extinguishing all channels of communication and thus any path to compromise.

Perhaps you suspect your partner is having an emotional affair, or maybe you have evidence of physical infidelity. If so, you may be overwhelmed with feelings of betrayal, anger and emptiness. It’s possible that you want to reconcile with your partner, but you have no idea where to start. Or, maybe you’re beyond the point of reconciliation, and yet you fear what will happen with your finances or children if you leave the relationship.

Do you wish you could have an open and honest conversation with your partner, free from guilt, shame or judgement? Are you hoping the two of you can regain a sense of meaningful connection?


Life Changes Can Lead To Conflict In Any Relationship


Often times, a significant and enduring change to a couple’s daily routines can spark turbulence. Even a wonderful, expected change, such as the arrival of a new baby, can create a certain amount of stress. As schedules fluctuate and sleep deprivation takes hold, partners can find themselves feeling exhausted, overstretched and anxious.

There are also those unexpected changes—such as a health crisis, job loss or job relocation—that any couple might be ill-prepared to handle. In these cases, it’s extremely common for the person going through the crisis to fall into despair and experience symptoms of depression. A job loss, for example, can create feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. But, while one partner might be in the center of the change, the other is still undeniably affected. For example, job relocation can leave the supporting partner in new, unfamiliar surroundings without a built-in support system.

Couples going through turmoil can feel lonely, rejected and helpless. One partner may turn to cheating, substance abuse or another compulsive behavior that leaves them “checked out.” The other partner may lash out at seemingly small annoyances, feeling consistently anxious, depressed or distracted and finding difficulty in focusing on simple, everyday tasks. And, as these patterns grow entrenched, it’s no wonder that couples struggle to rebalance and reconnect.

The good news is that with the implementation of couples therapy exercises and effective communication strategies, partners can find their way back to an understanding, compassionate and purposeful relationship.


Couples Therapy Can Help You Find Joy In Your Relationship Again


Crisis happens when partners arrive at a set of circumstances without the necessary skills to cope. For that reason, crisis is also an opportunity to explore and develop untapped skills, paving path to a new way of relating to your partner.

As a couples therapist, it’s my job to help you and your partner grow through this crisis. In the safety of our sessions, we’ll examine your communication patterns. We’ll slow conversations down and look at how each person interpreted and responded to the same event. Then, we’ll identify and practice productive ways you both can advocate for your feelings while also listening to what your partner has to say. I will equip you with daily, effective communication exercises so you can build a real sense of partnership in your relationship, even outside of sessions.

Throughout the past 18 years and in my role as a licensed clinical social worker, I have helped couples understand how to be aware of, control and express their emotions so they can better connect with their partners. At the core of my work is the profound belief that you have the innate ability for growth, adaptation, resilience and healing. With help, you and your partner can move forward with shared compassion and grace.


You May Wonder If Couples Therapy Is Right For You…

What If Therapy Makes Our Situation Worse?

Like starting any new project, taking part in relationship therapy can feel daunting and scary.  However, therapy is a process of developing trust in each other—and in trusting my ability as a compassionate guide and educator. Together, we will create the best therapeutic approach for you and your partner.

If you have tried couples counseling before and found that it did not work, we will discuss what you were hoping to gain and what expectations were not met in your previous experience. Utilizing new skills may be the jumpstart your relationship needs to feel whole again.

If I Open Up, My Partner Will Use What I Say Against Me.

When introducing new ways of relating to each other, we will discuss what each person needs to feel safe while sharing their deepest fears and frustrations. If one partner is feeling criticized, cut off, silenced or unheard, for example, I will ask the other partner to actively listen without judgment, analysis or disagreement.

In our sessions, we’ll take small steps in understanding where certain responses are coming from. Many people don’t realize how emotions and reactions are actually symptoms of a deeper pain. When one partner is triggered, their anger or anxiety may have nothing to do with other person. Instead, something might be reminding them of an old hurt or past trauma. If we can identify the underlying issue and bring healing to those vulnerable places, you and your partner can be more equipped to compassionately problem solve.

I Don’t Want To Spend Money On Therapy If It’s Not Going To Help.

Couples therapy is an investment in yourself and your partner. The mental, physical, emotional and financial expense of not getting help can far outweigh the dollar amount spent on working on your relationship.

Alternatively, if you are beyond reconciliation and ready to part ways, I can offer guidance on how to separate amicably. As needed, I can also help you negotiate successful co-parenting. Once lawyers are involved, divorce can become acrimonious, hurtful and expensive. Therapy can help each person stay grounded in kindness rather than trying to devastate the other person.

No matter what you and your partner decide, therapy can give you the tools needed to foster a more respectful, caring relationship in the future.


Your Relationship Can Improve

If you’re interested in learning about couple’s counseling, I encourage you to call me at 240-447-0131 for a free 20-min consultation. I welcome any questions about the techniques I utilize and how I can help you and your partner communicate in a healthy and loving way.