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    Couples Therapy

    Are You And Your Partner In A Relationship Struggle?

    Is it difficult to communicate with your partner?

    Do you struggle to see eye to eye?

    Maybe you find yourself thinking that you and your partner “aren’t on the same page” time and time again. You may not communicate with them effectively, and perhaps conflict feels overwhelming and unproductive.

    You have probably wondered (and/or worried) if you can find common ground and rekindle the spark, the love, and the commitment that brought you together in the first place. And you may be curious if couples therapy can help you achieve that.

    Unhelpful Communication Styles Often Make Matters Worse

    When you or your partner get emotionally charged, you may yell, fight, become critical of each other, blame one another for your troubles, and use other poor communication styles like giving the silent treatment or avoiding the argument altogether. Even if one or both of you are trying to speak clearly from the heart, it can be hard when you are in the midst of conflict to hear and validate your partner, and understand where they’re coming from.

    These common relationship problems can make one or both of you feel lonely, isolated, and frustrated, often leading to stress, anxiety, and depression. You might even experience physical pains like headaches, stomach or digestive problems, and trouble sleeping. Relationship problems can eventually have devastating effects on your self-esteem and overall enjoyment in life.

    You likely want peace in your life after living so long with conflict, but you also probably want passion and want to feel deeply cared for—connected as friends and lovers again. My therapy practice holds peace, passion, and happiness as the main priorities and goals for couples, and I can help you and your partner learn to properly manage your differences and recapture the spark.

    couple arguingRelationship Problems Are Extremely Common

    Communication breaks down in all relationships at some point, and communication problems are now understood to be the number one cause of divorce. (1) The truth is that 69 percent of all problems in relationships are unresolvable—but that doesn’t mean that these disagreements are deal breakers. Counseling helps by guiding couples to learn how to talk about their differences properly, instead of yelling, shutting down, and feeling defeated again and again.

    Humans tend to have unrealistic ideas about love being a feeling instead of a choice and a commitment, with an over-emphasis on romantic love. Typically, romantic love lasts no longer than two years into a relationship, at which point it needs to evolve into something more substantial and longer-lasting. People often don’t know how to effectively make this transition and fear their relationship may not go the distance.

    Culture’s Emphasis on Individualism Makes Relationships Even Tougher

    We live in an individualistic society that focuses on instant contentment, happiness, and choices of the individual. This makes putting in the work to fix communication problems with others not as appealing. It’s not easy to do, and so often our culture says “Why bother?”

    So many of the skills necessary for healthy relationships are counter-intuitive. When a couple has a conflict, both people tend to make their feelings and points of view clear, often with increasing volume and intensity. But the relational skill that needs to happen involves listening, hearing, and validating where your partner is coming from. Through my telehealth counseling practice, I can help you and your partner learn the critical skills you can practice that will strengthen your communication as a couple.

    Couples Therapy Can Help Your Relationship Thrive In Spite Of Your Differences

    couple outdoors smiling togetherCounseling can help improve the intimacy in your relationship and reignite the passion you have for each other. It can help you both learn how to disagree productively and without hostility, understanding which issues matter and are worth tackling and which ones are just energy drains you need to let go of. You will get the chance to understand your disagreements from a new perspective and learn how to not take your partner’s feelings and thoughts personally.

    In therapy, you can practice how to tell your partner what you need in a way that doesn’t make them defensive, and you’ll both have a chance to work through issues that have caused long-standing hurt and frustration.

    What Are Sessions Like?

    I help couples identify counterproductive communication patterns and understand why they aren’t working while teaching specific, proven interventions in therapy. The roots of so many misunderstandings are often physiologically hard-wired based on poor communication habits. Our long-term goals of couples therapy are to be able to address conflict productively, deepen your and your partner’s friendship and closeness, and build a life of shared purpose and meaning together.

    The Gottman Method Can Improve Your Communication And Your Bond

    I use the Gottman Method for couples therapy, which follows a protocol that includes an assessment phase for the first three sessions (90 minutes each), followed by the intervention phase, during which sessions are 50 minutes each. Sessions beyond the first three are rooted in your day-to-day experiences and generally based on how you both did in the week before our meeting.

    Research has shown that Gottman-informed relationship therapy has a success rate of about 75% percent. That is, 75% of couples are pleased with the outcome of therapy and the progress they have made. Of course, I cannot guarantee this is the result you will get because so many factors go into determining this for each couple, but this approach is generally very successful.

    As a virtual couples therapist, I will help you learn how to:

    • Know which issues are important to pursue and which are not.
    • Take timeouts to avoid emotional overwhelm in an effort to de-escalate.
    • Repair mini tears that happen during disagreements in real-time.
    • Regularly show up for each other emotionally and physically.
    • Use many other concrete skills to improve closeness and communication.

    Through relationship therapy at my practice, you can grow in respect and understanding of each other more deeply than ever. As you work together on recovering what you have lost over the years—re-energizing your friendship and sense of intimacy—you can enjoy your relationship again.

    Perhaps You Still Have Concerns About Couples Therapy…

    The last time we tried couples counseling, it didn't help at all.

    Nearly 80 percent of counselors have couples as clients, but few graduate programs require even one class in couples therapy. (3) Therefore, it’s likely that if you’ve sought counseling before, you received ineffective guidance from someone who is not well trained in relationship issues. While I cannot guarantee that any specific couple will get the results you are seeking, I can guarantee you that I have the training and experience to help you! You can also rest assured neither of you will be targeted or blamed for the entire issue. Our work is highly collaborative.

    What if my partner isn't sure they want to save the relationship?

    This is not an uncommon situation. We do not move into relationship counseling until both partners are on board and ready to commit the considerable time and effort it requires. If your partner is not willing to engage in couples therapy and you are at the point of considering separation or divorce, discernment counseling may be a better option for you.

    We feel like you're the person we want to work with, but we don't know if we have the money.

    When considering the cost of counseling, it's important to ask yourselves what is the value of your relationship? What would you pay to see someone who is most likely to be able to help you save it? Here is another consideration: Couples counseling with a trained and skilled therapist is usually considerably cheaper than divorce! 

    If you are still concerned about the cost of counseling, note that therapy can be funded through a Health Spending Account. However, I am not an out-of-network provider. I, like many trained relationship therapists, do not accept insurance and work by private pay only.  

    Get In Touch Today To Start Healing Your Relationship

    My online couples therapy practice can help you and your partner reignite your bond and reinforce your commitment to each other as you learn how to manage your differences. I offer a free, 35-45 minute video call with new couples to help determine what kind of therapy each couple needs. Reach out to me through my contact form or give me a call at (240) 376-2790 to get the process started.