Are you unable to communicate with your partner?
Have there been frequent fights lately?
Feel like something is missing?
Confused whether to hold on or move on?
A lot of couples tend to seek therapy as a final resort or a last ditch attempt when nothing else seems to be working for them. According to a research by Gottman Institute, couples tend to wait a minimum of 6 years of being dissatisfied before they decide to seek help.
It is a commonly held belief that love is enough to conquer all adversities in a relationship. Love is a core requirement for a healthy relationship but it cannot solely hold the relationship up.
We can love a person and still draw apart due to time, different priorities, loss of job, loved one, financial crisis, distance, emotional maturity, changing needs etc.
Sometimes we can love a person and still be toxic for them due to our past experiences, unresolved insecurities, distorted patterns of thinking, ideas of relationship, anger issues, controlling behavior.
For healthy relationships we need to learn skills of open communication & conflict resolution which we are not taught about and mostly learn through hit and trial while in relationships which can be an uphill task alone and one may face multiple challenges traversing the journey of a relationship.
Couples can feel apprehensive about initiating therapy as it would mean acknowledging the challenges that their relationship is undergoing., some are not able to identify where things might be going south for them and end up shoving the problems under the carpet till a significant event- breakdown in communication, decision to separate, cheating or violence doesn’t occur.
CAUSES OF RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGES
Majority of couple concerns fall under the following categories:
Personality Clashes - Be it introvert vs. extrovert, spendthrift vs. saver, differences in religious beliefs, core values etc, fundamental individual differences can often turn into recurring conflicts.
Communication Patterns - Criticism, verbal abuse, harsh, demeaning words or breakdown in communication can be corrosive to a romantic bond
Love language - Each individual expresses and experiences love in their own unique ways. A mismatch in love language can leave either or both partners feeling uncared for and neglected.
Cheating - A betrayal and breach of trust can damage the relationship extensively, however instead of letting it be the end of the relationship, therapy can help using this experience to give the bond a new leash on life
Behavioural Issues - Anger outbursts, emotional volatility, smoking, porn, gambling, mastubation tend to snowball into bigger concerns if left unresolved and begin to strain the relationship.
Past Baggage - When personal experiences have not been unpacked and worked on, it seeps into the couple dynamics which therapy can help unravel and explore
Sexual Incompatibility - Differences in libido, frequency of sexual activity, lack of sexual urges, low interest, varying sexual needs can lead to unmet needs leaving partners feeling undesired and disconnected
Conflict Resolution - Inability to convey concerns, shutting down or aggressively attacking partner while bringing up a conflict leads to more emotional damage to a bond leading to build up of resentment and bitterness towards partner
Trauma - External events like loss of a loved one - parent or child, accidents, major injury, financial ruin or internal events like physical, sexual abuse within relationship can suck the life out of a relationship leaving two estranged people in its wake
Social Media - Believe it or not most couples prefer cradling their phones rather than spending quality time with each other which is bound to bring emotional distance and loneliness within a relationship
Counselor might take individual sessions with both partners to understand their perspective and then proceed with a joint couple session to integrate that information to help the couple understand how it shapes their couple dynamics and resolve their challenges.
Individual sessions are conducted to understand the partners separately and their take on the relationship, their partners, concerns, origin, triggers, maintaining factors, past relationship history, patterns in relationships are identified and discussed in detail.
Couple therapy is conducted via telephone or video call sessions only at BetterLYF. Certain ground rules are laid out. The primary objective is to explore the relationship in a collaborative manner and to understand how the couple views the challenges of interpersonal intimacy they are facing and the factors involved, barriers for a positive change to get to the root of the issue. Their interactions with each other and the couple dynamics are highlighted and goal setting is carried out.
Follow up sessions are conducted to understand how therapy sessions are progressing and to keep a track of the individual and couple goals, developments and impediments faced. Therapist checks whether couple is able to implement what is discussed in therapy into their relationship.