what is couple therapy?
As human beings one of the closest relationships we have is with a partner. However, remaining happy in that relationship and staying together can be difficult through life’s twists and turns. Having a family can add pressure to the relationship and as dynamics change, each others’ needs change, struggles can emerge.
It may feel easier at times not to confront problems but to try and resolve them within ourselves. This can feel confusing and overwhelming and can build resentment. If we do confront them with our partner we may find ourselves going around in circles having the same old arguments with no real hope of resolving the underlying causes.
The thought of coming to see a couple or relationship therapist may feel daunting and scary talking to a stranger about our personal relationship and how we feel about it.
Couple therapy is a way to begin to understand ourselves and our relationship with our partner, to make sense of the feelings evoked in us in various situations and why these situations may cause us such difficulty. It allows us to talk about how we feel in a safe and contained environment with someone who understands the dynamics and powerful feelings which relationships can throw up and how these can be thought about and understood in a non defensive and constructive way.
how it works
Couple therapy or relationship therapy will provide a space for us to talk to our partner and express how we are feeling with the support of a therapist in a safe and non – judgemental environment. It may be necessary to think about our early life as this will help us to understand how early relationship experiences have influenced how we feel, what our expectations are of our partner and of ourselves and the different ways in which we attempt to solve our relationship problems. We can begin to listen and understand the impact our partner has on us and the impact we have on them.
Sessions will be weekly so as to keep up the momentum and will usually be on the same day and at the same time each week.
There are many issues which may bring us into couple or relationship therapy and below are just a few...
- Poor communication
- Life changes ie birth of a baby, bereavement, redundancy, retirement
- Lack of trust
- Betrayal or affair
- Controlling behaviour
- Different parenting styles
- Different backgrounds
- Different goals and values
- Family conflicts
It may be through couple or relationship therapy you and your partner can gain some insight and understanding into the underlying issues causing your unhappiness and make some changes allowing you both to communicate more effectively and resolve the issues. However, in some circumstances it may be you decide to separate and couple therapy can support you both in thinking about what this will mean to you both and how you both manage it, particularly if there are children involved.
Couples will come into therapy at different times of difficulty and for some it will be the last resort. It does not have to wait until things are really bad in fact may couples come to therapy and use the sessions as a way keeping their relationship healthy and wish to deal with underlying issues before they become conflicts at some point in the future.
some of the benefits of coming into couple therapy...
- To begin to understand how factors such as family values, religion, culture and beliefs can affect how you relate to each other
- To think about and reflect on how past experiences with relationships are being played out in the present
- To be able to communicate in more effective ways
- To understand and be more aware of ourselves and our behaviour and the impact it can have
- Learn why arguments with our partner escalate
- Be able to negotiate and resolve conflicts effectively
the first session
The first session with your couple or relationship therapist will be to talk through the issues troubling you. The therapist will ask you questions about how you see things and will be watching very carefully at how you interact with each other and with the therapist. She/he will pick up on some of things you say and explore them further to help you begin gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your role in the relationship.
Toward the end of the session the therapist will ask what you would both like to get out of the therapy and this will be thought about together with any possible constraints being discussed. From here the therapist will suggest you go and think together about the session and whether you both feel coming into couple or relationship therapy could be helpful.
You can then contact the therapist directly if you would like to pursue couple or relationship therapy.
Sessions will usually be on a weekly basis at the same time and on the same day. The length of couple therapy will depend on the issues and the couple and will be reviewed regularly.
Couple Counselling in Colchester and psychotherapy in Colchester