The Couple, be it in marriage, living together, monogamous or polyamorous and whether it’s ‘straight’, ‘gay’ or ‘other’, any couples relationship can struggle to thrive and feel positive & healthy.
- Are you struggling to get your needs met in your relationship?
- Do you keep getting into the same arguments with your partner?
- Are issues from past relationships causing difficulties in your present one?
- Do you feel like you are speaking different languages and unable to communicate successfully?
Couples therapy, also referred to as ‘couples counselling’ or sometimes ‘marriage guidance’, seeks to untangle the cause of the problem and find the roots to both sides concerns, issues or dissatisfactions with the relationship and their position in it.
When clients come to couples therapy they are often thinking about ‘their side of the story’ and wanting someone to see ‘their’ issues within the relationship. However, the couples therapist will encourage both parties to see that it is the ‘relationship’ that is the ‘client’, and that you are all there to help it.
Couples Therapy: Subjects that frequently arise in the relationship:
- Arguing and conflict
- Infidelity, affairs and loss of trust
- Lack of communication
- Drifting apart with a feeling that there is no common ground anymore
- Feelings of dissatisfaction in the relationship or partner
- When one partner wants to start a family and the other doesn’t
- Infertility issues
- When one partner falls out of love and wants to move on
- Commitment issues
There is no definitive list of things that can cause troubles.
Couples Therapy: When should we come to talk?
Couples often think that therapy is a last resort, when things are so bad that it’s ‘make or break time’ in the relationship. However, there are many reasons to consider talking with a couples therapist well before you reach crisis point:
Negotiating difficult situations that arise:
There are many situations that can arise during the course of a relationship, some happen as a result of an unforeseen event, for example an elderly relative needs caring for and the only option is for that care to be given by one or both of you perhaps in the family home. This can create stress and resentment in the relationship and lead to tensions that would not have arisen otherwise. Or perhaps one of you has a life changing event that then puts a strain on the relationship.
Difficulties in discussing sensitive subjects:
Those subjects can be anything, sex related issues, fertility issues, differences in parenting styles etc.
Power struggles, controlling behaviour and insecurities:
Inevitably relationships can have friction and tensions that can arise from one or both parties trying to assert themselves. Sometimes it is just the perception that someone is trying to control or it could be that there is a form of manipulation doing on.
What happens during a couples therapy session?
In couples therapy it can be helpful to talk to someone together about what is not working between the couple and can be easier to hear each other in the presence of a witness.
The couples therapist will also help you find ways of communicating more effectively and resolving conflict.
It is unrealistic to think that, as a couple in a marriage or life partnership, you can avoid conflict altogether. This may involve renegotiating your relationship and helping you to build a more realistic and deeper partnership.
Learning to manage and respect your differences is also an important part of couples work.
It may be that you come to the conclusion that you can no longer be together. Couples therapy can help in creating a positive “ending” for the relationship.
Couples therapy, how to find the right person to work with
Research shows again and again that the effectiveness of the therapy or counselling is affected by the relationship you have with your therapist or counsellor, this is especially important in couples therapy. It is therefore important that you find someone who you both feel comfortable with and who you can build a trusting relationship with.
Couples Therapy in London
To find a couples therapist for help with your relationship take a look at the profiles of the London Therapists at City Therapy Rooms, each profile is written by the therapist and gives you more information about how they work and their availability.
Please feel free to chat on the telephone to a few therapists or to meet several before deciding who you would like to work with. The initial session is an opportunity for both you and the therapist to decide if you would like to work together.
© Brian Cotsen