Therapy for Couples

A strained relationship

Factors of everyday life can place strain on a relationship. Severe stressors may include resentment, infidelity, intimacy issues, miscommunication, poor conflict resolution, and lack of trust.

When problems go unresolved, or a partner is suffering from mental illness or health complications, one can feel helpless or have feelings of guilt or shame.

When both partners communicate effectively, emotional anxiety can be alleviated from situations currently being encountered.

Intimacy and relationship issues

Intimacy and relationship issues widely occur behind closed doors.

Conflicts may include a loss of harmony between the sheets, a lack of sexual desire between either partners, or failure in communication.

Psychological factors may contribute to a sexual disorder such as erectile dysfunction or a lowered desire after a new mother has given birth.

Intimacy issues are common; but if one or more factors become severe and there is no resolution in sight, it may be time to seek therapy for guidance.

Signs that sex problems are affecting a relationship

Signs that sex problems are affecting a relationship include: disappointment in oneself or the relationship, dissatisfaction, lack of communication so partners disconnect from one another, feeling neglected, unwanted, and sexual boredom and unhappiness.

What makes a satisfactory relationship?

Satisfactory relationships exhibit trust, mindfulness, mutual respect, emotional security, and good communication.

Treating intimacy issues – healing the relationship

Steps to take for treating intimacy issues include psychosexual therapy which allows couples to express themselves in a safe environment with a trusted and supportive professional.

This type of therapy is also called relationship counseling in which the therapist works with individuals together or separately to overcome the problem.

Conflict resolution

There are several positive strategies to utilize when dealing with conflict resolution, such as analyzing various behaviors and the consequence each behavior produces on the individuals living the problem.

Couples may be practicing poor communication techniques that handicap conflict resolution. Examples of such negative methods are couples who practice avoidance, ignore the problem, and hope it will go away. Unfortunately, the opposite occurs when the problem lies under the surface, until it raises its ugly head and can no longer be avoided. Then, it will need to be addressed.

Standing one’s ground may come across as controlling and aggressive. In this situation, the person fears their needs will not be met if they don’t set the rules and direct the conversation.

When a person practices surrendering, they may be perceived as diplomatic and implementing this tactic to concede to the other person’s needs. In their quest to maintain the relationship, they place the needs and opinions of others on themselves.

One partner may compromise or sacrifice as a concession. This person makes a sequence of tradeoffs where they focus on what they want versus understanding the other person’s point of view.

Finally, from a positive standpoint, others collaborate for a positive, win-win situation. They look at common goals and needs, where each person’s opinions are stated, and important feelings are expressed and heard.

This style exemplifies cooperation, assertiveness, and communication between the parties involved.

When to seek couples counseling

When the relationship is at a standstill or if they are unsure whether the relationship is worth salvaging, couples often seek couples or marriage counseling.

This type of therapy also can benefit families with children who have been affected by relationship issues, such as divorce, to help them confront the source of the conflict.

When a relationship is showing signs of addiction, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and/or severe depression, individuals should seek guidance from a counselor immediately, for your safety and the safety of your partner.

Treatment methods

Treatment techniques may include the following: Gottman Method, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Positive Psychology, Imago Relationship Therapy, Analyzing Your Communication, Getting to the Root of the Problem, Enhancing Intimacy, Individual Counseling, or a Couples Retreat.

I have completed Levels I, II, and III of the Gottman Couples Therapy Method, which has been proven to help couples learn to respect and care for each other and to break through conflict in a calm and productive manner. In addition, this treatment helps couples avoid many pitfalls that may lead to divorce.

One of the research findings that is helpful to clients is understanding what is called “The Four Horsemen.” These four behaviors include: 1) criticism and complaining about your partner with contempt; 2) treating your partner with disrespect, showing sarcasm, eye-rolling, and defensiveness; 3) not taking responsibility for your actions; 4) stonewalling, shutting down, and backing away from a conversation.

The Gottmans found that these behaviors are present in failing relationships. Therapists who use the Gottman Method help couples strive for balanced, healthy relationships and point out behaviors that are hazardous to couples.

These points plus the fact that The Gottman Method is all research-based make it an extremely effective tool for couples therapy.

Start now to salvage your relationship

Call me today at (616) 236-3281, so we can set up a consultation and begin addressing your relationship challenges.