Saturday, December 3, 2016

Is Your Relationship on the Rocks? Consider Couples Therapy

It is normal for couples to experience difficulties at different times in their relationship. For those couples who are unable to resolve conflicts, couples therapy is an excellent option. Marriage is both rewarding, and at times painful. Therapy is a way of resolving problems and conflicts that you haven't been able to handle effectively on your own.
Your therapist is a professionally trained, objective third party who will listen to both partners as they express their thoughts and feelings. The therapists' goal is to help the couple identify and clarify problem areas in their relationship. Marriage counselling does not include children or other family members, and instead focuses solely on the couple and their relationship. Therapists are trained to respect the values of others and not impose their own values or be judgemental. The marriage counselling process can be similar to individual psychotherapy, like mediation or more educational (or a combination of these three approaches).
Therapists can help strengthen your relationship in a number of ways. Therapists:
1. Act as a mediator and attempt to clarify misunderstandings in communication
2. Help partners consider alternative ways of handling problematic situations
3. Offer a perspective that is not obvious to you or your partner
4. Help you anticipate and deal with issues that you may face in the future, before they become a problem (such preventative help is often a goal of pre-marital counselling)
There can be many different types of problems in a relationship, and each type of problem can have a different cause. Depending on the couple, their situation and personality, problems will vary greatly. Common causes of problems in relationships include:
1. Issues originating outside of the relationship, including job loss, illness and conflict in the family
2. Personality conflicts within the relationship
3. Issues stemming from natural stages in the growth of a relationship
Counsellors can help you develop skills to help improve a number of barriers to a successful relationship. Focusing on the total relationship, therapists can help with:
1. Lack of communication or miscommunication
2. Frequent or constant arguments and persistent conflicts
3. Unfulfilled emotional needs
4. Financial concerns
5. Conflicts about children
6. Power struggles within the relationship
7. Differences in sexual desire
8. Lack of sexual intimacy
9. Infidelity and feelings of betrayal after an affair
10. Emotional disconnection (leading separate lives)
11. Reconciliation after separation
Sometimes individual conflicts and personal problems can affect a relationship, including:
1. Low self-esteem
2. Illness
3. Work-related stress
4. Being in a committed relationship (which is challenging for some individuals)
Couples retreats and workshops are also excellent options for couples experiencing difficulties. These alternatives to traditional counselling provide similar benefits of therapy in a tranquil setting without the usual time restraints. Time away from work and family commitments can offer couples a more intensive setting to rediscover themselves individually and as a couple.
In addition to the benefits of strengthening your relationship, resolving conflict and feeling closer to your partner, couples counselling can also teach you a number of important skills, including learning how to:
1. Communicate more effectively
2. Become a more effective listener
3. Avoid competing with your partner
4. Work together as a team
5. Identify common life goals
6. Share responsibilities within your relationship
If you and your partner are experiencing conflict which you are having difficulty solving on your own, remember that there are numerous advantages and benefits to couples therapy.

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