In all the years I have worked with couples in Couples counseling the number one problem couples report is difficulty and problems with communication. No matter what other stresses the family is experiencing this single component is one that both partners desperately want to fix.When we translate this into actual behaviors to modify this is what we learn:
- Well meaning couples who love each other but who report feeling misunderstood often talk “at” each other rather than with one another.
- Relationship partners who truly believe they are lsitening to their spouse don’t realize that their “just trying to help” responses can be invalidating!
- Parners who express strong emotions are often unaware that the more intense their emotions get the less accurate they are likely to be in describing their experience to their partner
This transactional cycle is what Melinda addresses in both her Couples Counseling sessions and her DBT for Couples class in san Jose. This conversation “loop” single handedly brings down even the most devoted Couples. This cycle gets activated fast and couples are often mystified, hurt and frustrated- not knowing what to do.
Options for Couples Counseling
Believe it or not, couples counseling often begins with just one partner. This is because many past issues of family addiction or abuse can contaminate a person’s current relationship and need to be understood before attempting to solve relationship difficulties.
Before you can be a strong couple, you may need to become a stronger YOU. Once that happens, getting help together in couples counseling is very useful for many challenges:
- Learn how to be a safe partner
- Manage anger so you don’t get furious about little things
- Start seeing the good in each other
- Stop having the same fight over and over
- Learn how to communicate so that your partner can hear you
- Develop compassion for the other person
- Let go of past hurts and move forward in your relationship
Couples counseling, in which both partners take responsibility for their own behavior, can be a powerful healing experience. In fact, it is one of the greatest gifts you can give your spouse and yourself. The work may be hard, but the journey is one of hope.
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