"There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there."- Paulo Coelho
Most couples seek help when they feel there’s a crisis. The problems often have been long standing and rather than finding ways to work through them partners have been locked in a stereotyped interaction that does not resolve conflict and keeps them stuck and unhappy in their relationship. Often their partnership has reached an all time low and they are wondering if they should separate or divorce. If both partners are motivated to try to work things out with the help of couple’s therapy they usually find treatment very helpful.
This last decade has seen major advances in our understanding of what therapy approaches help couples to work through difficulties and create greater trust, intimacy, mutual acceptance and respect, improved communication, an improved sexual relationship and most important, an empathic understanding of one another. Couple’s therapy can help you understand why you see an event in one way and your partner sees it in another way. With this clearer vision couple’s can be helped to better understand the dynamics of their interaction and what is sparking the fights, disappointments and betrayals.
Engaging in couple’s therapy can help move your attachment from one of avoidance and ambivalence to greater security, warmth and intimacy with each other. In this space of greater mutual understanding and connection you can better untie the knots that spark a negative cycle of interactions and move forward with each other positively, adaptively and more creatively.
Should you have children this will be a significant gift to them since children need, more than anything else, emotionally available, insightful parents who are positively and lovingly connected. Continual conflict, fights, hostility dehumanize relationships. Engaging in couple’s therapy, if you really want to work things out, will help you find a path to do this more quickly. Generally speaking, having both partners in the room together is the most efficacious way to work through couple’s difficulties.
I also work with couples who are thinking about moving their relationship to the next level and are trying to decide about moving in with each other or are trying to decide whether to make a commitment to marry. Entering therapy at this time is a wise choice and helpful in determining if you are really “right for each other.”
Couple’s sessions can also be beneficial if a couple wishes to minimize the acrimony that often occurs with a separation a/o divorce. It can help you part from each other with an understanding of what went wrong, a deeper understanding of your partner and your relationship, as well as yourself. This can soften upsetting feelings of anger, sadness and regret that comes with a failure of a significant relationship. Also, if you have children, one of the most difficult issues that emerge is shared parenting. Couple’s therapy can help minimize the anger and help to sort out conflicts in the mutual task of parenting.