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Is Couples Therapy Right For Us?

Relationships are challenging.

Couples may be arguing, bickering, and constantly triggering each other, or they may be disconnected, feeling alone, and barely speaking. The common thread in couples seeking services is that their relationship is no longer a safe, loving, and enjoyable space. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I help couples restore the strength and vitality their relationship once had, and show them how to create a conscious partnership focused on valuing each other’s experience.

Couples therapy, helps couples (both married and unmarried) to understand and resolve conflicts in their relationship and move forward together in a more productive way. Working with a therapist can help give you the tools to communicate better, negotiate differences, problem solve and even argue in a healthier way. I work with many of my couples clients to enable them to respond to each other’s needs and safely resolve issues together without blame.

There is something very true about the old saying, “love conquers all”. Research now shows that couples with well functioning relationships are less likely to get physical illnesses like cancer and heart disease, have stronger immune systems, and increased ability to handle stress and anxiety.

Unfortunately couples wait approximately six years before getting help from a professional after their first signs of distress. Anger and resentment could be slowly building up for years, destroying connection and safety, which need to be the foundation for a healthy and secure relationship. As soon as couples find themselves in patterns that they can’t break, therapy can be extremely helpful. Relationships can be repaired and revitalized!

Common relationship struggles include:

Common Relationship Struggles Include:

  • Lack of satisfaction and enjoyment with your partner
  • Constant fighting
  • Infidelity
  • Differing ideas of roles, rules, and expectations
  • Difficulty transitioning to a parenting relationship or a new phase of life
  • Anger issues
  • Inherent differences in lifestyle decisions (having children, religion, career)
  • Extended family conflicts
  • Inability for your partner to get understand you are feeling upset
  • Having the same arguments over and over again
  • Lack of intimacy

Below you will find some common reasons that couples come in to work with me:

  • Your fights are getting worse. Fighting is healthy and to be expected as part of any relationship – but it’s important that it take place in a safe and constructive manner. Couples counseling can help both individuals step back and examine the way that they argue, so problems can be solved in a less hurtful way.
  • You feel that you keep having the same issues over (and over) again. When couples find themselves rehashing the same issue over and over again—bickering over the division of chores, say, or fighting over spending habits—it may be time to consider outside support. Having the same fight over and over can erode trust and injure your connection as a couple. Coming to couples therapy might not eliminate the problem, but it can minimize the problem’s effect on the relationship.
  • You feel you are slowly drifting away from your partner. While constant fighting often signals that it’s time to get help, a notable lack of confrontation can also be cause for worry. Some people actually fear conflict or feel uncomfortable sharing their concerns about their relationships. In those cases, individuals can find themselves slowly growing apart from their partner. In these cases, it’s the role of the therapist to draw relationship concerns out of the partners, eventually closing the emotional gap between them.
  • You feel blamed by your partner. When we are feeling triggered or upset, we sometimes blame those closest to us – we look directly to blame the person who is triggering us. But the truth is we are simply projecting our earlier unresolved, highly-charged feelings from deep inside onto the person who is triggering them (usually our partner). We may have forgotten the original painful experience, but those unresolved feelings and unmet needs continue to exist inside.  In my work with couples, I help each partner to “own” his/her feelings and share it in a way without blame entering the picture. The focus shifts from blame to greater understanding and empathy – which can lead to a more harmonious process of resolving differences in the relationship. Couples who are self-aware of their own patterns and can honor the other’s inner experience do well in blending and growing together.

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