Here are some of the statements people make when they come in for couples therapy:
- “I don’t feel listened to or understood.”
- “Are we ready for the next step (living together, marriage, children) in our relationship?”
- “We get along and then we fight and everything feels terrible.”
- “I can’t trust him(her) anymore but I still love him(her).”
- “I feel betrayed and don’t know how to get past that.”
- “My needs aren’t being met”
- “We don’t know how to talk together:”
- “I’m so confused about our marriage – should we stay together or break up”
Having a lasting, loving relationship can be a tremendous support and joy in one’s life. Yet the process of creating and maintaining an intimate bond with another person can be one of the most challenging. Often people don’t realize the work and skills involved in having a good relationship. Even the healthiest loving relationships have problems. The ‘healthy’ part of a relationship comes from having the skills and tools to resolve conflict and work out the differences that naturally arise in the course of your life together. It can be difficult to accept that the one person with whom you are so close, can ultimately feel so different or be so infuriating. A healthy marriage or partnership can navigate these conflicts, moving away from blaming and developing the skills for compromise, compassion and positive solutions. Couples Therapy can be the place to learn how to do it—a safe place where skills are fostered and taught.
Fighting over commitment issues, jealousy, money, sexuality, betrayal, time alone or together, parenting or communication styles are common. Sometimes the patterns we learned about relating through our families that we grew up in, create conflicts with our relationship partners. Whether your problems are small ones that keep you stuck or large issues, you may want to consider couples counseling.
When you come in for couples counseling, the therapist will ask what your goals are and discuss the details of the problem from each of your perspectives. The couples counselor is a trained professional who can facilitate and teach communication skills and provide a safe place from which to work out differences. Starting couples therapy may feel scary but it can actually be an act of love—one that validates the importance of the relationship. Starting couples therapy demonstrates to both of you that it is worth putting the time and attention into understanding and feeling better about the relationship. This can also help you feel better about yourself.
If you are considering couples therapy, a couples counselor will be happy to speak with you about your concerns and specific needs. Please feel free to call Marlena Kushner at (415)563-2759 or Phyllis Klein at (415)273-1036 for more information or to set up an appointment.