Local experts share the latest information and resources on all things mental health.
Posted: July 17, 2014 by Nathaniel Bryant
People are complex and relationships are bound to be doubly so. In an individual there are layers of thoughts, emotions, memories, experiences, physical urges, and beliefs that combine to create a single personality. In a relationship, both partners go through this same process individually, and together create something new.
All of the needs of the individual are now connected to their partner. Additionally, you have new social rules, cultural and familial expectations, different financial needs, gender and gender role differences, long-term goals, spiritual beliefs, and countless other influencing factors.
Couple's counseling has to operate in response to this dynamic. It needs to involve creating a safe space for the couple to talk about what they are wrestling with, how they each see and interpret their struggles, and what they would like to accomplish through the counseling experience. As a couple's counselor, I attempt to help the couple see their strengths and understand their concerns while validating the process that brought them here. When needed, I help them understand destructive patterns which may undermine their goals or create new problems. Above all, I work with couples to encourage them to see and appreciate their relationship's foundation. It is my perspective that with all of the stress and challenges quietly weighing on relationships, a couple has to make an intentional effort to remind themselves of their strengths and why they stay together. I believe this is the whole purpose of couple's counseling. Because if the relationship isn't worth fighting for...why are you fighting?
Thanks for reading the post! For more of my thoughts on mental health and counseling topics, check out Heart Strings.
Tags: relationship and family