Couples counselling and relationship therapy
The beginning of a relationship can be a happy and euphoric time.
You tend to put your best self forward. You're thoughtful, considerate, and highly attuned to your new love’s needs. You're kind, attentive, and truly care about making them happy. During those early days of the relationship, you're full of the feel-good chemical of dopamine, which is very similar to the feeling of being on a natural high.
In the early days of the relationship, there are very few disagreements, plenty of laughs, intimacy, and good times.
However, this feeling of being on a high often cannot and does not last.
Eventually, our nervous system begins to regulate, and the overwhelming feel-good chemicals become settled and more balanced. Once the honeymoon phase is over, the reality of everyday life and the external pressures that can follow can cause challenges within the relationship.
Modern-day relationships are put under a lot of strain, with busy lifestyles of work, family commitments, and social expectations, it is very often tending to the needs of the relationship and thinking positively about our partner that can begin to suffer.
The thing that we used to find the most attractive or appealing about our partner suddenly becomes irritating. You become frustrated and unheard, and resentment can build. There is also the addition that when we are under heightened stress or pressure in other areas of our life, it can begin to impact the quality of our relationships.
The impact of heightened stress can impact our ability to communicate as well as we might like, as we become tired, easily frustrated, and impatient. We find it difficult to effectively listen, compromise or problem-solve when difficulty arises. The stress and busyness of the day-to-day can get in the way of having some important conversations, communicating, or remaining sufficiently connected to our partners.
There is an expectation that relationships should come easy, but without making time or effort it can be difficult to maintain a strong relationship where you can feel like you are valued and your needs are being met. You can feel as though you are beginning to lose your identity or your sense of self, and might begin to feel as though your relationship is to blame.
There are many reasons why couples decide it is the right time for couples or relationship therapy. When frustration runs high, arguments remain unresolved, or there is a difficulty in communication is usually the time that couples look to seeking some outside professional support.
Everyday exchanges can become a heated argument without rational reason or thinking; even basic communication becomes difficult or strained.
There are some common causes that prompt couples to seek outside support for the relationship, such as disagreements on how to parent, how to spend finances, making lifestyle choices, or dealing with issues around mistrust.
Whatever the issues might be, couples counselling is a place to have non-judgemental support, without taking sides about who is wrong and who is right. While in individual therapy, a therapist might look at ways to encourage your own personal growth journey. In relationship therapy, it is the relationship that is the client.
The purpose is not to explore who is right or wrong or to lay blame, but learn how to offer mutual compassion and understanding, and to communicate effectively to improve your loving connection within the relationship.
To make the most out of couples therapy, you can attend with an open mind and a willingness to be accountable for your own behaviours. To make things different in your relationship, you have to do things differently and learn a new way of being in the relationship. With the support of your therapist, you can look at practical ways you can bring your best self to the relationship, get your needs met, and have the relationship that you want.
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