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  • Lisa Atkins

Is Couples Counseling a Good Idea for You and Your Partner?


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How do we know if we need couples counseling?

Couples counseling can help you if you want to…

· Restore emotional and physical intimacy

· Improve communication

· Discover the root causes of conflicts

· Understand each other better

· Fully accept one another

· Increase shared support

· Restore trust

· Strengthen your bond

· Reconnect with each other


When to get couples counseling?

Even the happiest of couples can benefit from counseling, because it teaches communication skills that can be used in good times and hard times. But chances are, if you are thinking of counseling, things may not be going well right now.


Maybe these feel familiar….

· Come home, greet, eat, and then watch Netflix/YouTube/social media…. Rinse and repeat each evening.

· Only talk about the kids…and never agree.

· Not really able to agree on anything anymore.

· Never laugh or joke anymore….like ever, even about the kids.

· Constant bickering, even over little things.

· Say you can get past a betrayal, but then bring it up at any small conflict

· Leave the house and not spend any time together just to avoid arguments


Couples counseling is useful not only for solving problems, but also for identifying them. Let's say something in the dynamic of your relationship has changed, but you can't really describe it. Or you don't feel as comfortable with your partner as you used to. Or you find yourself chronically resentful of them, but you're not sure why.


If there's one sticking point that every conversation, argument, or discussion seems to end with, it would be wise to book a session ASAP. When you find yourself rehashing the same initial hurt or wound no matter what the subject is, your negative interactions become a pattern, and it becomes hard to break through and do anything differently. Counselors refer to these reoccurring issues that keep coming up as gridlock issues. It can be helpful to have a counselor navigate you through gridlock issues to help shift the conflict patterns you are engaging in and provide resolution.


While constantly coming back to the same problem is a sign of trouble, not being able to agree on anything is another issue entirely. Perhaps you didn't realize how much tension had grown between the two of you until there was nowhere to run from it—either way, endless arguing is concerning.


These are often early signs that interactions are turning unhealthy or dysfunctional. It does not mean that one person is to blame, but rather that the relationship itself could use a tune-up and working with a counselor is often a very beneficial place to start that process.


Many people seek out relationship counseling when there is a break down in the relationship, but they still want to salvage a union. Often, the stressors of daily life, especially the things that were simpler at the start of relationship before the grind of the daily routine of life, are creating friction in the relationship with the person we most want to be on the same page as.


Are you finding disagreements about parenting, how to handle money, or daily schedules and responsibilities are coming between you and your partner?


Or perhaps, there is a deeper tougher issue- one of betrayal and lost trust after an affair? It seems too hard to communicate now with love and trust when you or your partner are plagued with jealousy, uncertainty and anger.


Difficult conflict can lead to things being said that hurt us in a way that feels beyond repair. We become distant and cold to each other. The growing emotional distance can leave us feeling like we are stranded on a ‘desert island’ instead of in a relationship. We become desperate for connection, safety, and security.


Sometimes the cruel double-whammy of a setback in life is that it's not just the setback itself that hurts, but also the effect it has on the relationship. Many couples go their separate ways after the heartbreaking loss of a child, for instance. Other times, its long-term unemployment, a health crisis, or turmoil within one of the partner's families of origin. You might not think of going to couples counseling in the wake of something so big happening; after all, you have enough to worry about as it is. But keeping your bond strong in your relationship can only serve to unite you and give you additional strength to weather the storm that's come.


It’s frustrating and saddening when the most important person to us, is becoming a distant stranger. It is very difficult to go through a workday or parent when you feel you have no partner to help, you feel alone, and misunderstood.


Making the choice to go to couples counseling can feel like a big step. It involves admitting that things are not perfect in your relationship, which is often tough to do and scary to admit. And if you are not particularly familiar with what counseling is all about, it can feel mysterious and confusing.


Going to in-person or online couples therapy might be the best thing you ever do for your romantic relationship. Especially given that the estimated divorce rate by the CDC in the US is 44.2%.


The reality is, if you do nothing to improve your relationship over time, even if you aren’t doing something destructive, your relationship will decline. Our relationships require maintenance; the same goes for your car, your house, and your teeth, your physical health.


Shining a light on difficult relationship problems is not easy, but it can lead to addressing deeper issues that impact you and your partner’s mental and physical wellbeing.


What are the benefits of couples counseling?


A well-trained couple’s counselor who seeks to deeply understand you and your partner can support you in implementing strategies and tools to change the way you communicate, as well as shift unhealthy dynamics in your

relationship. They can help you bring out difficult feelings in a new way, supporting any vulnerable feelings, and smoothing both partner’s reactions. Through this process, you and your partner can see each other better and learn to win each other’s hearts again, rekindling joy, communication, and passion.


After couple’s counseling you and your partner should…

· Experience more positive and open communication.

· Feel closer to one another.

· Seek out intimacy with one another.

· Become true partners again.

· Live in a more peaceful household.

· Work together when it comes to problem-solving or conflict resolution.

· Create more time for one another.

· Trust one another.

· Experience strengthened compassion, empathy, and understanding of each other’s feelings and experiences

· Create stability in your relationship that will last a lifetime

· Enjoy each other’s company again


What do we DO in couples counseling that’s so helpful?


While every couples counseling session will be unique there are a few things you can expect. Your counselor will provide and open, honest, and safe environment for you both to discuss thoughts, feelings, and the issues facing your relationship.


Your couple’s counselor will help you develop tools, techniques, and interventions that can be utilized outside the counselor’s office to help your relationship grow and heal.


Sometimes the beauty of counseling starts with the room itself: It can become a safe and supportive place for you to bring up things that are difficult to talk about in other settings. A trained professional with a warm presence can often help you overcome your fears of sharing something with your partner.


Couples counseling consists of listening to each other, listening to strategies used by your counselor, and allowing mediation to ease your frustration and conflict.


Couple’s counselors have proven techniques to decrease you or your partner’s avoidance, defensiveness, and anxiety, while increasing feelings of connection, communication and appreciation.


Couple’s counselors understand that happy couples did not end up stonewalling, bickering, or just ignoring each other all the time overnight. You, your partner and your counselor can work to unpack the issues weighing you both down, and come to agreements, compromises and bring back a joyful union.


· Listen with an open ear to EACH side of the issue

· Ask questions to understand the relationship and what’s gone off track

· Provide insight and a new perspective on problems and issues

· Never “pick a side” or “solve” a conflict – rather mediate with you both- neutral like Switzerland!

· They keep it real- reminding you of what is important to both of you RIGHT NOW

· Provide a focus on the positives and what is going well

· But not ignore the negative either- they won’t let you or your partner avoid (back to keeping it real!)

· Teach problem solving and communication skills, so you and your partner can do it together at home

· Address any setbacks that may come up and help you push through


Schedule your couples counseling appointment today.


Finding a couple’s counselor that checks all your requirements might seem like a large task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Often, the idea of seeing a couples counselor sits on the back burner, with one or both parties thinking that it may be a good idea, but also feeling unsure of how to proceed — and of whether their specific problems can really be helped.

Statistics show that many couples may wait years before seeking couples counseling. Some believe that if they ignore the problem, it will go away on its own, while others worry that suggesting counseling means admitting that the relationship is in trouble. The best advice is to seek counseling as soon as you recognize you have relationship issues, or before, so you can prevent them or learn to work through them healthily.

Couples counseling is covered by insurance including Medicaid. We can help you navigate all aspects of insurance coverage, payment etc. Don’t let common obstacles overwhelm you. We have multiple counselors available, and we can ease the burden of figuring out insurance and other financial aspects of the commitment. We have flexible schedules to help with coming up with a time to fit into everyone's schedule. The counselors at A Helping Hand of Wilmington are available for help in person or via telehealth. In person counseling may be right for you if you want to have some time out of the house or feel a different environment will help you open up. Telehealth counseling can impart all the same benefits as a counselor in an office but from the comfort of your own home.


Deepen your intimacy and connection with your partner once again. Reach out and get the help your relationship deserves.

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