Friday, January 19, 2018

Couples Therapy and Counseling

I work with couples to cultivate their authentic connection and bring about meaningful relationship.

Generally, couples seek help when they experience relationship discord and lack of connection. Many factors and stresses can contribute to the problems couples encounter. Just when spouses or partners need each other most and could benefit from the support and love each can provide, sometimes they turn against each other instead and assign blame to the other. Although it doesn't make sense or seem right, it happens.

When conflict seems more the norm than love, care, and compassion, it is time to take a look at the relationship dynamics and communication patterns. Identifying one's core beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, and feelings can help increase conscious awareness and empathy for the other. In turn, learning to listen and communicate non-defensively, can rekindle the love and compassion you once presumably knew.

If children are involved, getting the relationship back on a healthy course becomes all the more significant. What you model for children is what they take in and grow to know as the way to be, and the way to relate to others.

When couples attend therapy, I notice that:

  • At times of relationship discord, blaming is common while compassion for the other person is difficult to feel.
  • One or both individuals are often "triggered" or "feel their buttons have been pushed." Individuals experience these strong reactions most prominently in their primary relationship(s).
  • Through relationship crisis, opportunity to learn and grow can be around the corner!

In couples therapy:

  • We establish safety to speak. Couples often report they do not communicate as honestly outside the therapy container, which serves to hold both individuals with positive regard and respect. Ultimately our work together improves each person's ability to experience safety and intimacy with the other, beyond the therapy room.
  • We conduct a more in-depth review, including a look at families of origin, which often reveals patterns of reaction in the adult primary relationship, that are rooted in the experience of early family life.
  • We cultivate cooperation and "being on the same team" rather than working against each other as if in competition, or worse, as if the other is "the enemy."
  • We identify essential issues and primary patterns to learn how each person can be more aware of their own "triggers" and "buttons." Learning to be accountable for your own reactions, supports the development of healthy, adult ways of responding to your spouse or partner.
  • We increase awareness, listen to each other (deeply listen!) and learn to communicate non-defensively, authentically, and compassionately.

Feel free to call me at 831.419.9224 or send email to Celena Allison, MFT (click link).