Looking to improve your relationship? For many, couples therapy is considered a last-ditch effort to save a relationship. But what if couples therapy was also used to prevent problems instead of just fixing them? No matter the stage of your relationship, couples therapy is a great resource across the board.
Some couples go to therapy in order to identify issues or differences before they become problems; others go to improve their communication and increase intimacy and affection. At The Relationship Place, we believe that couples therapy is a great resource for newlyweds and new parents, for couples who have experienced betrayal or infidelity, as well as for empty-nesters who feel disconnected after a lifetime together. No matter your history or situation, it is a safe space to discuss all the things - from finances and parenting, to sex and intimacy - and resolve small issues before they become more.
How can couples therapy save, support, or improve your relationship?
For starters, a couples therapist will see your relationship (and relationship issues) from an outside, neutral perspective. She or he is separate from the partnership and all of the anger, resentments, and history that come with it. This, combined with extensive professional training allows them to see the relationship dynamics from an outside perspective, provide insights you are missing, and offer tools and techniques for you, specifically.
With the guidance of a couples therapist, you will:
- Strengthen conflict resolution skills. Even in the happiest relationships, conflict is inevitable and learning to resolve conflict and communicate through anything is the best way to ensure the health of your partnership.
- Become more thoughtful and intentional versions of yourselves. This can look like learning ways to better manage work-life balance, learning to be a better listener and making your partner feel seen and heard, and increasing your ability to have empathy for one another.
- Work on building emotional resilience, including the ability to self-soothe during heated moments and conversations.
- Focus on increasing intimacy or rekindling a lost flame. Relationships go through natural seasons and there will be times when romance, connection, and intimacy ebb and flow. If you feel disconnected or distant from your partner, couples therapy can help you navigate whatever time you are in and give you techniques and practices to grow closer.
- Identify problematic behavior such as yelling or stonewalling when conversations get heated. For couples who fight often or fight hard, a couples therapist is a middle person during conflict and can support you in using non-antagonizing words to communicate.
- Get honest about whether both of you still want to be in the relationship. While many couples find that couples therapy helps them mend what has been lost or broken and recommit to healthy relationship patterns, for others, couples therapy is the place where one or partners get honest to the fact that the relationship isn't serving them anymore. In these cases, it's vital for the health of future relationships to resolve any anger or resentments so they don't fester and grow. A couples therapist can give you professional advice on how to navigate the separation in the healthiest way possible.
With all this being said, couples therapy can help your relationship only if and when both partners are willing to attend and put in the work. If only one person is on board, it will be difficult to make progress or changes. And while couples therapy is an opportunity to gain new insights into your relationship and to strengthen your existing bond, doing the work is up to you. It is not the job of the therapist to "fix" your relationship, but rather the job of the couple to resolve issues on their own with the guidance and support of a neutral third party.
Interested in learning more? Ready to begin your journey? Contact The Relationship Place, in San Diego, CA to schedule your first appointment today.