Having Relationship Problems? Couples Therapy Can Help

If your intimate relationship has reached the point where you are considering couples therapy, your problems are almost certainly not new ones. Since you’re reading this, it’s probable that you are at the point where you feel that you can't resolve the issues yourselves. If so, it's good that you are taking the step of getting professional help.

Do We Really Need Couples Therapy?

The fact that you are reading this page means you haven’t given up. If you want a neutral and professional view of your relationship, you’ve come to the right place. In my experience, couples therapy can help if you are
* having communication problems with your partner

* are avoiding discussion of the real issues in your relationship

* are finding that you tend to be codependent with your partner (more on this later)

* unsure of how to share your thoughts and feelings with your partner

* struggling with trust after infidelity

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you think couples counseling could help, feel free to consult with me at any time

PLEASE NOTE: My rates for couples counseling are $55-85 per session. You set the rate within that scale, based on your ability to pay. 

An important point: If you are feeling physically threatened or are being physically or sexually abused by your partner, it is wise to seek support. This can take the form of
* seeing a mental health counselor individually

* calling WomenSpace here in Eugene at 1-800-281-2800 or the national hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE

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Tools and Insights

If you are having relationship problems, you are most likely also having communication problems. Listening is the cornerstone of effective communication. If you haven’t done so already, read my page on active listening.

Being able to listen effectively, with a mindset of genuine interest, is fundamental to the well-being of a close relationship. Other fundamentals include:

  • feeling emotionally safe. In other words, each of you should be able to be in the presence of the other without feeling vulnerable to verbal or physical attack. It can help greatly to agree to a set time to discuss issues, rather than bring them up in the spur of the moment. Otherwise, you and/or your partner may feel ‘on edge’ most of the time you are around the other person--not a good way to build a healthy relationship!
  • being able to notice when you are triggered by your partner or a topic of conversation that comes up when speaking with him/her. This includes noticing and learning what your emotional ‘hot spots’ are and understanding what these feel like in your body (in other words, where do you feel the tension, anger, discomfort?) and how you respond to them mentally (i.e., what thoughts arise in response to the situation?). I’d suggest starting a journal about this, so you can put your thoughts down on paper or web page. You will often get new insights by doing this
  • a willingness to listen to your partner. This doesn’t mean you have to agree, but it’s important that you listen to your partner with as open a mind as possible. Then you can decide for yourself what you make of the information provided to you. Once again, the active listening tools can be extremely helpful here.

Codependent Relationship?

If you feel that you are working a lot harder than your partner to make things work, and/or are taking care of your partner more than he/she is of him/herself, you may be acting in a codependent fashion in the relationship. Check out my page on codependence or see WebMD for more on this issue. In any case, a consultation with me about individual or couples therapy is always welcome.

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