- Shanna Donhauser
Is Couples Counseling for You?
If you’re wondering, "Should we try couples counseling?" the answer is yes. WAIT! Don’t run away just yet.
Many people associate couples counseling with relationship failure. After all your thoughtfulness and hard work, things still don't feel right. Before giving up on the relationship, many couples turn to counseling. But couples counseling doesn't only address infidelity, looming divorce, or emotional abuse. Couples counseling provides a dedicated space for setting the intention of growing your attachment and relationship with your partner.
Some people expect the therapist to be a referee, keeping track of points, penalties, and fouls, and finally announcing the winner. That’s not couples counseling.
NOT a couples counselor!
Yes, many couples seek out counseling after YEARS of stress, hurt feelings, and negative patterns. Often, for these couples, the focus counseling is trying to repair what can be repaired and figuring out how to de-couple in less painful ways. In those cases, couples counseling is about uncoupling.
Many couples who seek out counseling are struggling with perpetual problems; problems that just keep coming up over and over again without any real movement or change (i.e. messy vs neat, differences in values, differences in parenting styles, etc.). Often couples find a stuck place or problem acts as the catalyst for counseling.
But couples counseling can also be a place where your relationship deepens, grows, and strengthens. In couples counseling, you and your partner are learning about your attachment styles, the ways you seek out connection, and the ways you reject vulnerability and your partner. These patterns emerge from deeply rooted history, from childhood and romantic partnerships.
In couples counseling, you learn how to communicate your deepest hurts, with honesty and kindness. Your partner then learns more about you and can see your needs and respond with compassion and warmth.
In couples counseling, you learn how to listen to your partner so that you can accept and hold their fears, their stress, and help them process and get the support they need.
And in couples counseling, you learn how to take ownership, without shame, of the ways you may have missed your partner, their needs, their dreams, their very being. You learn how to take responsibility, own up to mistakes, and take steps to reconnect and make things better again.
Throughout this process, you deepen your relationship, making it stronger.
If you’re looking for some help for your relationship, if you’re struggling with stress now that you’ve started a family, reach out for help. You can actively make your relationship better and stronger. And you don’t have to do it alone.
In my practice, I see couples struggling with issues related to parenting, or with stress related to starting a family. I also see couples who come see me to just work on their relationship. Together we can work toward deeper and stronger connection.
Contact me to set up a phone consultation today.