Do you and your partner feel miles apart?
Are communication issues, and conflicts creating disharmony in your relationship?
Does it feel like you and your partner are not really hearing each other, and fundamental needs are going unmet?
Maybe you are fighting frequently, but never really coming to thoughtful or sustainable compromises or resolutions.
Perhaps in an attempt to avoid conflict, you’ve begun avoiding each other?
Has an affair or another breach of trust shaken the foundation of your relationship? Do you wish you and your partner could reconnect and begin working as a loving, unified team again?
All Couples Experience Conflict Over the Course of a Relationship
If you and your partner are struggling, you are not alone. Relationship stress is very common. It’s inevitable that any two people will disagree from time to time. The challenge, however, is in how you deal with conflict. There is nothing wrong with conflict itself—or with anger—but the way it is expressed can either lead to connection and clear communication or to pain and disengagement.
For many couples, the problem is not with how either partner expresses conflict, but that there is a mismatch between styles of expressing conflict. Styles of conflict engagement are often learned in childhood, and many people carry these communication and conflict styles into their adult relationships. Often, one partner’s style differs from the other’s. For instance, if you are from a family that turned to withdrawal and avoidance, and your partner is from a family that engaged in loud arguments, you may struggle with conflict resolution.
The good news is that couples counseling can help you and your partner examine your communication and conflict styles. If you and your partner are willing to look at yourselves and work to understand one another, you can deepen your connection and enhance the quality of your whole lives.
You may feel that couples counseling could enrich your relationship, but still have questions or concerns…
I’m worried that the issues raised in counseling will make us fight more.
If you and your partner are fighting frequently or having other communication difficulties, couples counseling can help. In sessions, we can investigate what’s not working in your relationship, and you and your partner can explore and practice ways to engage with each other that are constructive rather than combative. I can help you build understanding and move away from negative patterns. If negative communication patterns appear in the counseling session, I know when to intervene and when to step back. As you address your issues directly, I will provide support, guidance and a safe container for you and your partner to address issues directly.
We’re so busy. How can we find the time for couples counseling?
Life is complicated and busy. That said, a stressful life might be contributing to your relationship challenges. While finding time to meet for couples counseling may feel overwhelming, feeling unsatisfied in a relationship can take a toll on your work, parenting and overall satisfaction and well-being. But, by finding the time for and committing to counseling, you are beginning a journey that can enhance your whole life. In addition, I view counseling as a short-term way to explore your relationship and find solutions to challenges. At my practice, couples counseling typically takes around three to five months.
I’m not sure that my partner will want to come to counseling.
If you haven’t already, ask your partner if he or she would be willing to try counseling. You may be surprised by the answer, especially if you’ve been assuming your partner isn’t open to the idea. If your partner is reluctant, take some time to think about why counseling is important to you and let your partner know how you feel. Ask him or her what concerns he or she has, and try to listen and respond without judgment. You can suggest coming in for a consultation, which can feel less frightening, and proceed from there.
Couples Counseling Can Help You Reconnect and Deepen Your Relationship
As a marriage therapist and couples counselor I help you make connections and strides in your relationship. I provide safe a safe non judgmental setting to help you and your partner improve your communication, which will better your relationship immediately, and lay the framework for us to identify and talk through your difficulties. Together, the three of us can explore and practice ways to listen and communicate honestly and authentically. I can help you and your partner express your needs and respond to each other in a nurturing, healing way.
Throughout counseling sessions, I can help you and your partner increase self-awareness and gain insights into each other and your relationship. I can help you identify and come to understand your persistent patterns of communication and how you deal with conflict. Couples counseling is not about placing blame. I have empathy for both partners. In therapy, you can develop greater empathy for one another. I can teach you skills that can help you alter your patterns of engagement and regard one another with greater compassion and respect.
In couples and marriage counseling, we will focus on staying present through difficult conversations. When painful conflicts arise, you and your partner may be separating emotionally and withdrawing from each other. And, when negative emotions run high, it is easy to fall into criticizing, blaming or shutting down, rather than engaging directly. You can develop and practice skills that can bring you together rather than push you apart. Simple communication practices, such as replacing “Why don’t you…” with “I would like…” can have transformative effects. Easier said then done when emotions are high.
My therapy room is a safe and supportive environment. In this neutral zone, you can experiment with open communication without fear of judgment. Working through conflicts takes courage and vulnerability. People often put up walls and react when hurt and angry. In couples counseling and marriage therapy sessions, I create a space where painful and intense emotions can be safely expressed.
In marriage and couples counseling, you experience, expressing your feelings—even strong feelings—clearly and openly. You can learn to speak to each other directly and communicate your needs and desires. You and your partner can learn to listen to one another empathetically and reach understanding and compromise. Honest engagement in the therapy process can yield a deep understanding so that you and your partner can move forward with increased confidence, connection and joy.
Couples Counseling Can Open Communication and Transform Your Relationship
If you’re ready to find out how counseling can help your relationship, call 718.490.6751 for a free phone consultation.