Being in an intimate relationship can be absolutely wonderful. It can also be a lot of work!
Many couples hit a rough patch, when neither of them is getting what they want and need from the relationship, and problems arise. Although they still love and care for one another deeply, something has gone wrong. In this situation, it is all too easily to fall into a vicious circle of blame and recrimination, while problems escalate. Relationship difficulties can also be triggered by external factors, such as financial problems or one or both parties struggling with issues at work. Changes to the couple, such as when a child is born or leaves home, or when elderly parents need help or pass away, can also lead to problems. While couples can sometimes resolve problems on their own, a lot of heartache can be prevented by seeking help before difficult issues get out of hand.
If you are in a relationship that is passing through a difficult phase, it might be a good idea to consider therapy or relationship counselling. It can be hard, even impossible, for anyone to judge their own relationship and its strengths and weaknesses effectively. With professional help, couples can work through their problems and figure out a healthier way to manage conflicts of interest and sources of stress and strain on the relationship.
If you and your partner/ spouse are having difficulties in your relationship, it might be a good idea to consider relationship therapy. With a suitably qualified psychologist or counselor, you can start to explore together how unhelpful responses to stress and to certain behaviors are contributing to the problem. In the safe context of therapy, you can openly discuss issues relating to painful feelings.
Just as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals to identify and manage behaviors and reactions that are not helpful in terms of their problem, it can help couples too.
Cognitive Behavioral Couples Therapy (CBCT) has been specially designed to help couples deal with the issues they face. Your therapist will help you to evaluate your relationship and to find a way to address potentially difficult topics without conflict. Other therapies, such as psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness or eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) can also help.
Sometimes, issues emerge during therapy that suggests that one or both parties in the relationship might also benefit from some individual therapy.
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