ouple’s and marriage counseling is available for people in a relationship who may be looking to improve their intimacy, clarify their understanding of one another, or perhaps navigate the delicate debate about separation. In this type of counseling, the relationship is the primary focus, but both partners should be ready to discuss personal issues that may be deemed necessary for the betterment of the relationship.
Is it time for Couple’s Counseling?
People in relationships look to enter therapy for a number of reasons, ranging from communication problems and power struggles to infidelity and sexual dissatisfaction. It is recommended that couples enter into some form of counseling as soon as any relational discontent arises, and is often suggested that occasional therapeutic stints could help couples avoid the troubles that force others into therapy.
A good therapeutic process should address many aspects of the relationship, although the way a couple communicates tends to be the primary focus of most couple’s counseling sessions. In cases where partners avoid conflict or engage in constant battles, healthy communication suffers, problems build, and repairs become more difficult. Famed relationship psychotherapist John Gottman noted that the lack of adequate repair following an argument is the biggest contributor to marital unhappiness and even divorce. Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers a place where couples can take the first step to improve their relationship – healthy communication.
Of course, simply telling people to talk more or better is rarely going to smooth over the underlying issues that are bringing stress to the relationship. As with individual psychotherapy, change happens in couple’s counseling through insight and understanding. Each member of the relationship should be prepared to look into their own past, notice their repetitions, focus on their personal history, and bring to light the ways those may be affecting the couple.
Types of Couple’s Counseling
If you are planning a wedding, it is also important to plan on an in-depth look at the way you and your partner foresee your relational future. It is so common for couples who are in love to overlook some of the more challenging conversations that ultimately lead to relational strain and even divorce. According to a Journal of Family Psychology survey, couples who participated in premarital counseling were reported to have higher levels of marital bliss, and actually experienced a 30% decline in divorce.
Couples in premarital counseling discuss issues related to:
• The Meaning of Marriage
• Money (Splurge or Save)
• Children (Yes or No, and How Many?)
• In-Laws (Boundaries)
• Religion and Traditions (Which ones are important?)
• Sex (Enough Said)
• Expectations (What are the roles you expect of yourself and your partner?)
• Living Wills (Do you create one and what to put in it)
The inability to conceive a child, or infertility, can be extremely emotional and often quite difficult. In some cases, challenges with pregnancies can lead to intense grief that mimics what people feel after having lost a living child. When experiencing difficulties conceiving children, it is encouraged that you and anyone else that is affected attend therapy. Fertility challenges can lead to emotional trauma and put a strain on a partnership. While fertility treatments in the medical field may be able to help improve the likelihood of conception, entering therapy while undergoing these treatments can be a helpful way to work through grief, anxiety, worry, and other emotions that may be experienced as a result of fertility issues, especially in the event that treatments fail.
Beverly Hills Therapy Group is aware of the challenges that accompany fertility issues, and he creates a space in therapy to process emotions around fertility issues. In therapy, those faced with infertility will be able to discuss options and make decisions about how to proceed, whether through adoption, fertility treatments, artificial insemination, or surrogate parenting. Therapy can also help couples deal with the feelings of guilt or anger that may arise between two partners when only one person is infertile.
A recent diagnosis of infertility can potentially cause stress and anxiety, and both the wait for a diagnosis and attempts to find a fertility treatment that works can cause anxiety and conflict in a partnership. Those affected by infertility may also experience depression, feel hopeless or defeated, and experience low self-esteem or self-loathing.
When a couple is affected by fertility issues, couple’s therapy can help improve communication and may make it easier for the couple to make decisions that work for both partners. Sometimes partners may disagree about the best course of treatment or one partner may feel hesitant to seek medical help, and Ron can help a couple navigate these concerns. Therapy may also be a useful place to discuss how long infertility treatments should be pursued or the amount of money that should be spent on attempting treatment.
In some cases, infertility may affect other members of a family, such as children and grandparents. A couple might also have a hard time sharing news of infertility with other members of the family, or they may feel pressured to have children even when they cannot or pursue treatment options for infertility that they do not wish to pursue.
Religious & Cultural Topics
Culture and religion are often engrained systems of beliefs that relate to a person’s faith in a higher power or the connection to the traditions and beliefs of a socio-cultural group. The connections that people make to religious and cultural beliefs can be defining characteristics of the way they want to live their lives and even raise their children. A multitude of life choices is often based on religious and cultural connections that seem innate, as they have often been practiced over the entirety of that person’s life.
With religion and culture embedded so deeply, people often have difficulty veering from the belief system to which they have associated over their lives. Problems occur when individuals face conflicts between their life choices and their spiritual and cultural beliefs. This can become extremely notable when couples have varying religious, spiritual, and cultural associations. A common disagreement between couples is often related to cultural and religious differences. People may have spent their entire life believing one way and thinking that they will celebrate certain holidays in their home, raise their children the same way they were raised, and practice the same traditions to which they have become accustomed, only to realize that their new partner has his or her own spiritual, religious, and cultural beliefs and traditions.
Phase of Life Difficulties
Coping with Change – Because change can cause stress, it can have an effect on one’s daily life. A person facing a big change might, for example, experience depression, anxiety, or fatigue; have headaches; develop trouble sleeping or eating well; or abuse drugs and alcohol. Persistent symptoms of stress might improve with treatment in therapy, but an individual may also be able to prevent some of these symptoms by:
• Researching an upcoming change. Often, stress can develop out of fear of what is unknown. When one is well-informed about a change, it may be easier to face.
• Attending to one’s physical and mental health. Being healthy in mind and body may make it easier to cope with changes in life. Sleeping well, exercising, and eating nutritional foods regularly may all be beneficial in improving both physical and mental health.
• Taking time to relax. Remaining calm in spite of stress may be easier when one’s life is well-adjusted and includes time for leisure as well as work.
• Limiting change. It may be helpful to avoid making a large change immediately after another change. Generally, adjusting to a change takes some time, and making multiple changes at once, even smaller ones, may not allow enough time for an adequate adjustment period, which can cause stress.
• Discussing any difficulties adapting with another person. Family members may be able to help one adjust to change, but professional help may also benefit those experiencing difficulty or stress as a result of life changes.