Factors of everyday life can put an abundant strain on a relationship. Severe stressors may include resentment, infidelity, intimacy issues, lack of trust, and miscommunication. 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. Communicating effectively on both parts can alleviate emotional anxiety from subjects of all kind.
Couples often seek couples or marriage counseling when the relationship is at a standstill, or if they are unsure whether or not the relationship is worth salvaging. This type of therapy can benefit families with children who have been affected by relationship issues such as divorce, and confront the source of the conflict.
If you want to try the "Do It Yourself" approach to Couples Counseling, consider the classic book, "Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. It has useful exercises and some couples have strengthened their relationship simply by working through the book. Others find it important to work with a trained therapist.
Before you begin couples counseling, ensure you and your partner are ready to address your problems with honesty. Counseling can be challenging, uncomfortable and emotionally painful as you might discuss intimate issues you’ve never talked about before. In some cases, one or both of you may be revealing things you’ve never even shared with each other. You should be prepared for the time and emotion involved in each session. Take a moment to consider the issues causing you stress and be ready to discuss them openly.
Treatment techniques may include but are not limited to the following, depending on your needs and the theoretical orientation of the therapist:
- Cognitive / Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (CB/DT) & Mindfulness: Our thoughts shape the way we see the world. CB/DT is a rational, structured approach to identify negative self-talk and replace it with more life-affirming words. Although this may sound "woo woo," CB/DT is actually a well-researched, evidence-based approach to help manage anxiety and depression. CB/BT also helps "de-personalize" some of the innocent but annoying things our partner says or does. Sometimes, they really aren't about you -- even though it FEELS like they are.
- Jungian Sandplay and Expressive Arts Therapy -- not just for kids. Based in the psycho-dynamic tradition, Jungian Sandplay is a non-verbal approach developed by Swiss psychiatrist and mystic, Dr. Carl Jung. This creative approach allows us to tap into the unconscious, which frequently drives us. Yet, the power of the unconscious is frequently just beyond our full awareness. Symbolic, creative approaches allow couples to use symbolic language to increase self-awareness and communicate without words. These creative approaches access the "non-verbal parts" of the brain and can facilitate exploring painful parts of our past == without being re-traumatized.
- Imago Relationship Therapy -- If you would prefer to try the "Do It Yourself" approach to Couples Counseling, consider the classic, "Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix. It has useful exercises and some couples have been able to strengthen their relationship simply by working through the book. Others find it useful to work through the exercises (or a similar ones) with a trained therapist.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy
- Positive Psychology
- Communication Coaching
- Bowen's Family Systems Theory (including Genograms to explore family history and its impact on your life, today. A problem named is a more than half solved -- because with greater awareness you can make conscious choices based on personal principles, goals, beliefs, and traditions.
- Enhancing Intimacy