Even happily married couples can hit obstacles along the way. When this happens, couples often choose to go it alone, try to work through their issues themselves, or they can seek the guidance of a trained and experienced marriage therapist.
People come into my office for many different reasons and I help them talk to each other in a safer and deeper way. Often they learn something about each other that changes the whole scene and helps them to heal.
These days with therapy becoming more common, many couples are finding the value of seeking help from someone like me, that can be an impartial and nonjudgmental third party.
Here are 3 ways therapy can help your relationship
- Identifying Behavioral Patterns
Most of us are aware of our partner’s behaviors and much less aware of our own. It stands to reason that most challenges in a marriage are the result of the learned patterns they have developed over time. But when a person only sees half (or less) of the dysfunctional patterns, they are likely to blame, devolve into a negative view and amplify the problems in the relationship.
Most often, in my couples therapy work, I am helping them learn new skills that will break negative patterns. In session, I can gently, but firmly, help the individuals recognize their own negative patterns so they can recognize how they manifest in their relationship. On the other hand, my goal is to point out individual and relationship strengths to nourish and magnify them.
In sessions, I often include modeling, practice and role play of new skills. Skills include such game-changers as asking for and agreeing to take a break and the daily hug. Such skills when taught and managed with humor and active participation, can start new and better behavioral patterns. When I see the growth of some couples I marvel at their humility and bravery. With new patterns and ways of reminding each other, they report feeling more confident, relaxed and attached to each other.
- Change at the Root Level
Once we identify negative patterns, often the goal is to understand why they are happening. Some behavioral patterns are formed and ingrained when we are very young and other are rooted in previous relationships or the early betrayals or injuries within the current partnership. In many cases, the relationship will continue to flounder if the root cause remains unprocessed.
Processing can happen with guided communication within the dyad. To facilitate, I offer structure, lists of emotions, and modeling of improved and deeper communication. Other times I use EMDR to help the individual process the root hurt that needs healing while the partner works on their own issue or supports and gain empathy during the processing.
Understanding why the partner reacts a certain way can often create a deep and nurturing empathy, foster forgiveness and help ongoing communication.
- Deeper Intimacy
If the couple moves away from considering separation or divorce and engages in therapy with the goal of working through the hard times, they will experience better communication outcomes, learn to use specific research-proven skills and feel the benefits of processing past hurts. Ultimately, the goal result is a profound and deeper intimacy based on increased understanding of each other. What often follows is a renewed commitment to meet each other’s needs and desires.
- Want help now?
If you are curious and interested in exploring treatment, please read more on my couples page and contact me today. I love working with couples even in the most challenging situations. If your goal is a deeper connection, my job is easy. If you are seeking eventual divorce with a more amicable outcome, I have success helping couples manage the difficult transition. In any case, each person will likely learn some skills that will provide them better outcomes in all of their relationships, at the very least.