Some people may be embarrassed to admit that something has gone wrong with their relationship. It may not even be something big, just a misunderstanding or failure of communication that nevertheless has started to fester. Couples therapy is a way to work on these issues, both individually and together. A happier, healthier relationship will mean a happier, healthier life overall.
Why is couples therapy important?
It’s an old adage that two heads are better than one. When we have a companion to share the journey, the challenges of the modern world become easier to bear. People in successful relationships may be calmer and experience a reduction in stress. When relationships go wrong, however, their stress increases and everything becomes more difficult.
There are a wide range of issues that can affect a relationship. They may not seem like much at first, but they can build up to an explosive point. The sooner they are identified and managed, the less likely that any damage to your relationship is going to be serious. If you have been having trouble for a while, then clearly, your own attempts to fix things are not working and going to someone else to help – someone with professional experience and an objective point of view – may deliver the best outcome for both of you.
What issues can be dealt with in relationship therapy?
Relationships can be complicated. Two people, each with their own distinct personalities and beliefs, trying to find the compromise and balance that make it possible to share a life, means that a lot of different factors are in play. Some of these may be to do with the individual, for example, if they are always late or untidy, or because of more serious character traits such as jealously or an unmanaged temper. Some factors are external, for example, where one partner has lost a job or experienced a bereavement, putting strain on the relationship. The severity of these factors can vary, but all can have a powerful impact.
There are some things that routinely crop up when people start having relationship problems. There may be issues with trust, or communication. Perhaps arguments are becoming more common. Sometimes it is simply a lack of spark. When children are involved, the situation is invariably more complicated and the repercussions of not dealing with problems are even more serious.
How does it work?
A first session will simply be getting to know your therapist, setting expectations as to how it is going to work and establishing what you want from counselling. Both partners will need to engage by identifying their personal goals and what they perceive their problems to be.
Not all the work takes place in the therapy room. Your therapist is likely to set you activities to do at home, such as recording your feelings or any arguments between the two of you. The therapist may also suggest techniques to use to try at difficult moments to develop better thought patterns and behaviour. Individual relationship therapy sessions can provide a good opportunity to review and explore further before making and reinforcing behavioural changes.
It may not always be easy fixing relationship problems, but with time, patience and the right guidance, your relationship can become happier and more fulfilling.
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