Relationships are not easy!
Relational challenges are a part of every relationship. However, how we navigate these challenges can be the difference between healthy satisfying or unsatisfying relationships. Seeking support through couples counseling or even, at times, individual counseling can be a positive way to increase the safety, security, love and respect required for a healthy, or dare we say, thriving relationship.
SUPPORT, COMMUNITY, LOVE!
Relationships Take Work
Whether you are considering marriage, are in a long-term relationship or are at your wits end with the relationship, it takes time, energy, and effort to have a healthy and successful relationship.
At times, a relationship can be amazing and still require professional support to help maintain or set the stage for a thriving relationship. For others it may be that something “just feels off” and you need support to better understand how to make it better. Maybe you know what’s off and just need support to put the pieces back together. Regardless of where you are it is important to honor your experience and get the support you need to have the relationship you want!
If you and/or (sometimes it takes a little nudging to get partners on board with therapy) your partner could benefit from some extra support, we can help you take that crucial first step to having the sometimes difficult but necessary steps toward ensuring your relationship can thrive. At Pillars of Wellness, we understand the many frustrations you may be going through and our clinicians can give you the resources to strengthen your relationship and provide the outcome you desire.
You are not the first and you will not be the last person that reaches out after years (on average it takes about six years) of relationship discord before reaching out for relationship/couples counseling.
Is it really worth it to continue to endure the stress and loneliness any longer?
People in relationships may often think:
“I feel so alone in this relationship”
“It is like we have the same arguments over and over again.”
“We have grown apart and are not as close as we used to be”
“I love my partner, but I am not happy.”
“They just don’t listen.”
“Should we just get a divorce? I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
Couples Counseling Techniques
At Pillars of Wellness, we encourage the continuance of training so therapists under our umbrella remain up to date on the latest techniques and resources available to them. Here are a few common methods our therapists utilize:
This is a rather simple approach and can often be used for premarital or new relationships that seem rockier than they “should” be. Simply learning communication styles and getting additional support to share what you are going through can be all the help you need to get/keep or put your relationship on the right track!
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is a highly successful and structured approach to couples counseling that is effective in up to 90% of couples. EFT was developed by Dr. Susan Johnson. This technique is a more nuanced intervention, which aims to understand the unique underlying relational dynamics in different aspects of the relationship.
EFT goes deeper than simple skills building and works to identify recurring relationship cycles of conflict. Once these patterns are discovered and illuminated clients can then understand their patterns of emotional withdrawal that characterize distressed relationships. Understanding this allows clients to build empathy for one another and allows for re-connection. Establishing or re-establishing this safe attachment becomes the basis for this work. Once that connection is affirmed you will begin work on improving communication, resolving conflicts, and increasing and maintaining mutual love, respect, and commitment, with the overall goal of improving relationship satisfaction and happiness.
The crux of this model is to establish or restore a secure emotional attachment, which is highly predictive of relational stability, satisfaction, and sustainability.
EFT is comprised of three stages:
1. Phase One – Assess and Deescalate Phase
2. Phase Two – Change Events Phase
3. Phase Three – Consolidation of Change Phase
In phase one, the goal is to uncover the underlying emotional problem and begin to change the way clients perceive it. Phase two is focused on creating new emotional experiences to replace the negative experiences and setting the clients up for more effective communication. Phase three wraps up the EFT experience by resolving old problems and creating a plan for continued success outside of the therapist’s office.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy
The Gottman Method was developed by Dr. John Gottman, helps build mutual respect through “love maps” by helping you and your partner to identify your deepest emotions in all aspects of your lives.
This form of couples therapy establishes a calm and open environment for relationships to grow. Using this approach, you and your partner will learn how to openly share hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles you both experience which can lead to increased awareness and acceptance. With these factors together you will be able to strengthen your bond and improve your relationship in the present and future!
Gottman’s studies pointed to relationship difficulties caused by the “Four Horsemen” named after the famous Albrecht Durer engraving Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
These factors predictive of divorce include:
1. Criticism of the partner’s personality
3. Stonewalling or refusing to interact