Relationships are difficult.
And as social creatures we struggle with finding balance between our own personal identities and the complex roles we occupy in our intimate relationships – partner, spouse, parent, loved one, separated, divorced, etc. From my own perspective, we are fortunate as individuals to have the opportunity to grow and gain insights and wisdom as we progress during our lifetimes. But this growth naturally shifts the dynamics in our most meaningful relationships, and the relationship as a whole is then forced to redefine itself – a daunting task, to say the least.
My role as a therapist in conjoint/couples therapy is to provide a safe and vulnerable opportunity for couples to explore the continually-shifting dynamics of their unique relationship. Through honest, open discussion, we explore each persons:
- Family of Origin influence
- Gender Roles/Expectations of Self and Partner
- Sense of Values/Character/Integrity
- Communication Style and Strategies
While emphasis on communication strategies usually comes after an in-depth assessment of the relationship, I want to make special note of the fact that communication interventions are intertwined into the therapy throughout the entire process, from the initial meeting forward, as this is often a huge piece of a person’s decision to seek out couples therapy. From a dialectical perspective, I have witnessed so many strong relationships suffer at the mercy of different emotional vs. rational perspectives; being able to facilitate a common language and a better understanding between both partners is fundamental to increased communication and success when pursuing treatment as a couple.
If you or your partner are enduring the difficulties of shifting dynamics and life circumstances, couples therapy can provide a tremendous benefit and opportunity for change. Willingness to engage in treatment is paramount, but the process allows for comfort and vulnerability to increase over time.