Are you in a relationship and thinking about starting couples therapy? Relationships can be both the source of life’s greatest joy as well as life’s deepest sorrow. Relationships are not always easy, take work, investment, compromise, and self-sacrifice if they are to withstand the test of time. A soul mate is the best mirror one will ever receive for one’s own self and provides both individuals with one of, if not the greatest opportunity to grow and experience existence.
Couples therapy is remarkable in that it provides a space for both individual growth as well as the growth of the couple as a unit. The unit, in good circumstances, is indescribably invaluable. A couple truly is greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, in bad circumstances, the opposite can feel true. Working with the couple as a unit while providing gains for both each individual in addition to their resulting relationship also generalizes into all the other relationships that are interconnected to the two individuals. This includes, but is not limited to children, other family members, coworkers, and friends.
Should You Explore Couples Therapy?
- Do you feel like your significant other is more of an adversary than a partner? Does your significant other feel this way?
- Is your relationship important to you? Is your partner important to you? Is what is being done to address this currently working well for both of you?
- Have life’s stressors or major changes put a strain on the relationship?
- Do you want to decrease negative experiences that may be impacting other important areas of your or your partner’s life?
- Do you understand and believe in the substantial interconnected nature of our relationships and our physical, emotional, and mental states?
- Does it logically make sense to you or your partner to proactively deal with issues in the relationship versus allowing them to create additional and sometimes more pronounced conflict, distance, and hurt?
- Do you want to grow as an individual? Do you want your relationship to grow? Do you want your partner to grow?
- Do you want to regain similar feelings to how things were when the relationship was going well?
- Is your relationship experiencing continuous problems that tend to have recurring themes and be cyclical in nature?
- Are you struggling to resolve disagreements and reach compromises on important topics that you would like to be aligned on?
- Do you both love and care about each other deep down and that love is getting lost in an elusive dysfunctional dynamic that ends in negativity, exhaustion, and feelings of dysregulation?
- Do you want to gain insight from an outside, neutral and professional perspective on what is happening in the dynamic between you and your partner that can allow both partners to feel understood by one another and decrease the strain in the relationship?
- Do you want to learn skills from therapy that will also translate into other relationships in your life (that also includes your relationship with yourself)?
- Are you and your partner unable to hear, see and work toward understanding each other’s point of view and meeting requests to compromise or find effective solutions due to a history of pain, misunderstanding, anger, hurt, sadness, isolation, and/or loneliness?
- Do you care about losing the time, energy, and other resources that have been invested in the relationship thus far?
- Do you feel like your partner is trying to control you, is critical, aggressive, demanding, defensive or withdrawn?
- Do you feel unappreciated or like your partner is underinvested?
- Do you feel like your relationship lacks reciprocity and balance?
- Is attending couples therapy a way to help ease your partner into receiving help with their own challenges that they may not feel ready to address at this point in time such as trauma, anxiety, or addiction?
- If you have children, do you think they could benefit from reduced tension in the relationship and their parents working better as a team?
- Do you want to be absolved of some regret or doubt if it is later determined that there are irreconcilable differences in the relationship?
Couples therapy is likely a worthwhile consideration if you answered yes to one or more of these questions. Those who have experienced and understand similar pain and made it to the other side are inclined to share and pass along compassion, knowledge, understanding, and love. While the details of each individual and the couple as a whole may vary considerably by case, these types of concerns and problems are very commonplace and are much easier to fix with professional help than expected.