Couples Therapy

Communication and Conflict Resolution

The Never-Ending Cycle

While most individuals are taught skills such as mathematics, reading, writing, and science during childhood, rarely are they taught how to communicate effectively with one another.  Is it any surprise then that couples often report communication as one of the biggest barriers in their relationships?  I often hear couples say things like, “they never listen to me” or “they just don’t get me” or “we can’t agree on anything”.  What may start out as a well-meaning statement may be interpreted as a hurtful statement that can fester for years.  Overtime, these perceived “attacks” and draining arguments form the foundation of resentment, anger, or indifference.  Couples often report feeling like they are in a never-ending cycle that they cannot escape.  They are unsure of how they got here and have no idea how to get out.  Is it any wonder then that they feel hopeless and want to give up?

Communication Skills Building and Relationship Enhancement 

Couples therapy can only be effective when both partners feel heard, understood, and supported.  In addition to building trust and rapport between the couple and the therapist, the beginning stages of therapy will focus on diving deeper into the problematic communication dynamics and cycle which has been established over time. This allows the therapist to not only gain a greater understanding of each partner’s perspective, but also to assess for other problematic areas of the relationship. Similar to how humans are comprised of differing aspects and parts, relationships are also multi-dimensional. Therefore, it is not uncommon for couples to seek therapy for communication issues but also have underlying issues which are affecting the relationship.

Once the assessment phase of therapy is complete, the therapist has a more complete picture of what the couple may be struggling with and what they can use the most assistance with. Although every relationship is different, the remainder of couples therapy typically focuses on the following:

  • providing the couple with communication tools and exercises
  • replacing the current problematic communication cycle with a healthier and more enjoyable way of communicating
  • establishing safety within the relationship so each partner can feel confident in voicing their wants and needs
  • facilitating corrective emotional experiences
  • increasing satisfaction and fulfillment within the couple’s sex life
  • overall relationship enhancement.

Betrayal Recovery

Broken Agreements

Relationships and agreements go hand in hand. “We split the finances down the middle.” “We turn off electronics after 9:00.” “We are monogamous.” “We have an open relationship.”  Whether stated explicitly or assumed internally, agreements form the basis of a relationship. While some agreements may not carry as much weight as others, a broken agreement can wreak havoc on a relationship. A relationship betrayal can be defined as a broken agreement between the couple. Being that different relationships have different agreements, types of betrayals vary from couple to couple. Regardless of the type of betrayal that occurred, one or both partners may be left feeling angry, shameful, resentful, or hopeless.

Couples Therapy for Betrayal Recovery

In a perfect world, a betrayal would never occur and if by chance it did, the couple would address it, reevaluate their relationship agreements, and move forward. However, this is easier said than done. As humans, we want to believe those closest to us (family of origin members, partners, close friends) would never do anything to hurt us and that we can trust them fully. When we are shown otherwise, we may be left feeling “crazy”, “damaged”, or “rageful.” For the partner who has committed the betrayal, they may be left feeling guilt, shame, or anger. These emotions and the immediate reactions couples experience after a betrayal occurs are extremely difficult to navigate.

A good therapist is the perfect person to assist in this navigation. The therapist will take the time to build the trust of each partner and not take sides. Instead, the therapist takes the time to assess for each person’s perspective and to assess the entire relationship, not simply just the details of the betrayal. After this assessment occurs, therapy focuses on slowly rebuilding trust within the relationship by providing a safe space for both partner’s to begin to have a dialogue and practice being vulnerable with one another. This vulnerability allows the couple to express their wants and needs while also fostering the deep emotional connection that is necessary for a relationship to heal and blossom. While a betrayal can be devastating and very hard to overcome, it is not uncommon for a relationship to be stronger and healthier after the deep work that the couple dives into during the therapy process is complete.

*I am an ally of the LGBTQIA community.*

 

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4291 Austin Bluffs Pkwy. Suite #202
Colorado Springs, CO 80915

alicia@springspsychotherapy.com
(719) 452-8620

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