In my experience with couples counseling over the years, one question describes the plight of couples in counseling: Are you getting something that you don’t want, or wanting something that you’re not getting?
This question is the key to identifying what needs to be added and what needs to be taken away from the relationship in order to bring emotional health back to the couple in need. Few things are worse than feeling like your partner doesn’t have your back. When two people who once felt part of the same team but now find themselves feeling alone and unable to connect, their relationship inevitably deteriorates. Unfortunately, by the time couples are typically ready to consider couples therapy, they feel like they’ve exhausted all other options – whether it’s talking to friends and family, reading self-help books, or watching episodes of Dr. Phil.
In spite of one or both partners’ sincere attempts, they can often find themselves locked in old disruptive and hurtful patterns. Our goal in couple’s therapy is making sure that both party’s needs are addressed and helping develop new skills and tools that dismantle old ineffective patterns and restoring a secure connection within the relationship. This normally accomplished by improving communication skills, becoming more “emotionally fluent,” gaining insight as to how your actions and words affect those around you, and by learning how to respond to your partner in ways that are helpful and not destructive. Through these techniques, we help you to understand the deeper issues behind what you want but aren’t getting or what you’re getting but don’t want.
At Rawers Therapy, couples learn ways to express their needs without attacking or demeaning their partner, and how to effectively respond when needs aren’t being met. Many learn how their fights were part of a bigger pattern that have little to do with whatever surface issues the argument is about. Many learn why certain words or actions are “hot buttons” that produce overwhelming floods of emotion.
Ultimately, you learn that your partner is not your enemy, but your pattern is. Together, as you learn to dismantle the pattern and reconnect during the process, then trust isn’t far behind.