Couples Counseling/Relationship Counseling

Couples Counseling Relationship Building

Couples Counseling
Relationship Building

Whether hetero or gay, couples evolve over time.  In coupled relationships, there exist ‘passages’ couples travel through, both together and individually.  To be sure, each individual is evaluating the satisfaction, challenges, changes, and meaning of their relationship. Each is considering their future goals and their value to and for each other throughout their partnered lives together.

In the beginning, the ‘honeymoon’ phase (which can last for a couple years), can overshadow the need for reflection.  Or, at least, reflection may not feel like quite the priority!  Too often couples may question the value or longevity of their potential at the end of the ‘honeymoon’ phase. Unarticulated emotions begin interfering with earnest communication.  This can lead to a host of problems, including arguments or prolonged silences, drug and alcohol overuse, as well as negative feelings of anger and contempt. It is unfortunate if this happens as the couple may have adopted a mistaken belief that it must be over now or, perhaps, have embraced an attitude that the future is bleak and will be boring for them. There is nothing further from the truth!

Couples individually bring with them their family of origin.  The new relationship will consist of their new identity as a couple and will also consist of their identities as a product of their upbringing.  It is a working phase where individual and partner dynamics play out – it requires patience, understanding, flexibility, problem-solving, compassion, trust, empathy, and respect.  Sometimes I visualize this phase as a subtle layer that begins to lay over the honeymoon phase as it transitions through.  Hopefully, during this phase, the couple retains the ability to play, to love, to explore, to celebrate their union and foster their partner’s growth to fullest potential.

But, couples get stuck.  Common issues are:  feeling taken for granted, poor communication (listening), deficient affection, boredom, lack of excitement, disrespect, mistrust, hurtful communication, verbal abuse, unmet or unrealistic expectations, stress with over-work or lack of life balance, loss of a job, physical/medical problems or traumatic life events.  By no means is this list complete.  When problems surface that become prevalent or chronic, questions arise:  “Are we headed for a break-up?” “How bad of shape are we in – can it be fixed?” “What is the impact on our kids?” “What can I do to turn it around?” “What happened to how we felt when we first met  – when we were excited to see each other, did things special for each other, felt excitement, chemistry, were respectful, were the best of friends?”

Don’t lose hope!  With work, commitment, willingness, negotiation, ability to change, desire to improve (not necessarily make things how they were in the beginning) and patience, you can rise above the challenges so that these issues are no longer the predominant focus of your relationship.  More often than not, communication and listening skills are the first and most important skills to develop. Communication and listening skills are prerequisite to change.

But relationship skills and dynamics aren’t limited to romantic partnerships.  Interpersonal communication skills are critical:  one must learn them, implement them properly and understand how to navigate with friends, co-workers, bosses, family members and all others with whom we interact.  Understanding relationship dynamics is what I’m good at!  I can help you understand workplace behaviors, personalities, agendas….I can help you deal with difficult personalities whether in the family or workplace….I can help you communicate better, communicate assertively but appropriately, and help you evaluate what fights are worth fighting.

Open Relationship Dynamics  (Hetero and Non):  (And I’m not suggesting this as an answer to the above!)  See my post “A thought About Open Relationships.”

Affair Recovery:  Affairs can be a devastating development in a relationship – some survive, some do not.  Counseling couples in crisis after an affair can facilitate healing. Couples counseling can assist in the identification of issues and dynamics in the relationship. Furthermore, couples counseling often facilitates the rebuilding of trust, restores the functionality of the couple, and shows them a new vision of a future together.  Bear in mind, the counseling can be arduous work but worthwhile for those who want to salvage their relationship

Divorce:   Where divorce has been the only option rendered by a couple, counseling can help in the separation process, the communication process, and the sometimes lengthy transition activities which follow.  If the couple is unanimous in the possibility of ending in good standing, then counseling can be an invaluable tool to further that outcome.


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2801 Buford Hwy NE Suite 470 Atlanta, Georgia 30329 678-427-0566

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