Therapy for relationships
A crisis in a marriage relationship is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy. You may feel angry, alone and afraid, worried about the breakdown of your relationship. All you want is to be loved, and yet you're stuck in a cycle of resentment, blame, fighting or distancing. You try to talk things through, and you end up fighting and feeling misunderstood and more disconnected than ever.
You may find yourself having emotional outbursts that you regret or keeping emotions bottled up. Counseling is a safe place to express your feelings, gain perspective, and learn new skills for dealing with challenges in a healthy way.
Our culture puts family at the center of everything. So it hurts even more when you realize your family is not the happy clan you see on social media. Sometimes a problem is situational, and is a matter of adjustment to a transition or finding a solution. Other times it can be devastating to realize that you have a dysfunctional family that isn’t invested in changing.
The good news is that you can still have happy and fulfilling relationships, even if your family of origin is disappointing or downright abusive. Work in therapy can help with grieving the loss of the ideal family you don’t have, learning to set boundaries, and communicating effectively. I often work with people using EMDR therapy to reprocess childhood trauma, as old wounds get in the way of self-esteem and ability to regulate emotions.
Some family issues I have special expertise in:
- Narcissistic parents
- Dealing with aging parents
- Adult children of alcoholics/addicts
- Family members of alcoholics/addicts
- Children of parents with mental illness
- Family members with mental illness
- Spouse/partner with acute or chronic illness
- Sexual abuse by relatives
- Intergenerational trauma
How individual therapy can help couples
Sometimes relationship problems bring you to therapy but individual therapy is the best approach. What are some reasons?
- Your relationship is in trouble but your spouse/partner won’t consider counseling.
- You feel dominated or unsafe with your spouse/partner, especially when you try to discuss sensitive issues.
- You are in relationship with an alcoholic, drug abuser or someone who is violent.
Therapy works best with the family member who is most willing to change – and that may be you. In relationship therapy you learn the following:
- Change your part in ingrained patterns of conflict;
- Practice better communication skills;
- Set healthy boundaries;
- Manage emotions without engaging in hurtful behavior;
- Address issues with trust;
- Begin to forgive your partner (and yourself) for old wounds.