Relationship counseling is one of the more common psychological practices because humans thrive when their relationships are healthy and happy. These important relationships include: family, friendships, work colleagues and romantic partnerships.
As children, we learn how to behave in relationships by observing our parent(s). If our parents were healthy relationship role models, their children benefit from this positive history. If childhood was filled with instability, inconsistency, anger, violence and addiction, these children grow up to have conflicted relationships themselves. This is where counseling can make a positive and healthy difference in the lives of these grown children and their descendants.
Two people fall in love and decide to make a commitment to each other. Having different backgrounds and family experiences, they both bring to the table their own lessons learned–some positive and some negative. Couples counseling can help the individual partner see how these familial histories may be causing sadness, frustration and anger in their relationship, and how to see things more clearly from their partner’s perspective. Spending time with a trained, experienced couples therapist can save marriages and families from giving up on relationships that just need some understanding and compassion.
When I work with a couple or family, I use the research and experience of relationship experts in this field, like John Gottman, PhD (The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work), Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts) and Leo Buscaglia (Loving Each Other and Living, Loving & Learning).
In couples counseling, conflicts are bound to occur and, unless these conflicts are processed and cleared, they will continue to pop up and will most likely escalate. Common areas of conflict are:
- Raising children
- Financial disagreements over different spending/saving styles
- Religious differences
- Trust and fidelity problems
- Addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, spending)
It is imperative that the couple knows how to fight fairly when disagreements occur. Relationship counseling can help the individuals pick their battles and get their point across in a mature, considerate, respectful way. When voices are raised, your partner checks out and your thoughts and feelings go unheard.
Some key aspects to healthy relationships are:
- Good communication and mutual respect
- Encouraging and supporting your partner to follow their dreams
- Having common interests
- Making time for each other
Trained and experienced couples counselors, like the Whole Life Counseling staff, know how to assist partnerships with the above skills, making for more satisfying, healthy, long-term relationships.