About couples therapy…
“In the coldest February, as in every other month in every other year, the best thing to hold on to in this world is each other.”
– Linda Ellerbee
Our relationship with an intimate partner sits at the center of our lives.
When that relationship is strong, we feel secure, supported, connected. Each person helps the other thrive and grow. We meet life’s challenges with the confidence that we’ve got someone at our side.
When that relationship is in trouble, it affects everything—our work, our health, our hopes for the future, our happiness. Struggles with an intimate partner can lead to some of the most difficult and painful experiences we go through.
A large body of research continues to demonstrate that a healthy, satisfying relationship improves nearly every aspect of our lives, and can provide an enhanced sense of meaning and purpose to what we do. A secure intimate relationship buffers us against the stresses and challenges of life, while an unhealthy one makes us far more susceptible to unhappiness, loneliness, and illness.
Are you distressed about your closest relationship?
Here are some things worth paying attention to:
- When your relationship has become a source of frequent emotional pain
- When you feel a growing distance between you and your partner
- When you and your partner get stuck in the same fights over and over, without resolving the problem
- When you regularly experience yourself and/or your partner as being critical and blaming
- When you you experience yourself and/or your partner as withdrawn or emotionally unavailable
- When one of you is having an emotional affair, a sexual affair, or an “on-line” affair
- When you’ve become inattentive to one another
- When you have prolonged difficulty talking about challenging subjects (e.g. children, parenting, finances, sex, fertility, etc)
Couples Therapy can:
- Help you reconnect with one another, and deepen the emotional bond between you
- Help you break out of “stuck” negative cycles that cause anger, resentment, hurt, and distance
- Help you learn how to be in the relationship without losing yourself
- Help you speak to each other in ways that increase intimacy & trust while reducing anxiety & fear
Several decades of research on close realtionships have made two things very things clear:
- Fighting itself is not what predicts break-ups. All couples have disagreements. What predicts break-ups in long-term relationships is emotional distance and partners’ lack of responsiveness to one another
- Success in couples therapy is not closely correlated with how bad things have gotten by the time a couple comes to therapy. Satisfaction with couples therapy is better predicted by the couple’s level of engagement with the therapy process. So: if you’re ready to do the work, couples therapy can save your relationship, no matter how bad things have gotten
With any kind of psychotherapy, finding the right person is essential. In couples therapy, it’s even more important. The stakes are high, and you should look around until you find a therapist who’s not only had extensive experience with couples, but who is someone you’re both comfortable with. You should get the sense that the person you decide to work with is skilled and knows how to help you. See How to Choose a Therapist for my thoughts on this.
To make an appointment, please go to the Schedule Appointments page of this website, and follow the instructions there. Or call (401) 709-4295.