As two individuals join together each brings with them a history of rituals, rules and myths, which usually reside outside of awareness. A therapist who pays attention to a couples conflicting belief system can become a beacon of light as she helps to reveal the source of the conflict. As the couple becomes aware of their individual rituals, rules and myths they can modify old behavior and stop repeating unproductive patterns. They are now free to make conscious choices that they both agree on.
The couple in therapy can explore the validity of any ritual, rule, or myth as it pertains to who they are today and how they choose to be as a couple. It may be the first time that the individual has even thought of her life in these terms. Rather than acting in the same old familiar way one has the opportunity to change a behavior and make a conscious choice based on the facts at hand. The couple can now act together in a new way based on a mutual understanding and shared values.
The therapist can bring clarity to murky communications by helping to reveal the hidden meaning behind the angry words. When the individual feels heard and understood their defenses go down and they can take in new information. You are no longer reacting emotionally but rather have control over your own thoughts and feelings and can act individually to better your life as a couple.
People often consider going to couples therapy—but they’re often caught up in the skepticism of couples therapy working for them before they make it into a session.
Every relationship—romantic, friendly, or familial—has its highs and lows. Feelings of frustrations and hurt from the problems in the relationship can impact your life outside of the relationship. If you’re experiencing these troubles, you might find yourself spending a lot of time worrying about the relationship, wondering how things will get better, or if things will ever get better. It is in these moments of doubt that couples seek support outside of their relationship.
Couples therapy is only effective when both members of the couple are essentially motivated by love, and the desire to do better. Each member of the couple must become committed to being constructive in every session.
Meanwhile, the therapist is dedicated to helping each member of the couple understand their own contribution to the relationship’s problems. It takes two to tango, so why wouldn’t both of your actions have an impact on your relationship? Although the therapist is impartial, she will take the courageous step of pointing out the problematic behaviors of each person, so together they can change for the better. The counselor is on everybody’s side.
The couple’s main responsibility is to be reflective. It is common for each member to put the blame onto their partner. Although defensiveness is a natural response, each partner must be open to looking within to make changes in themselves. The key to success in couples therapy is the willingness to change for the better.
But how do you know when you need couples therapy? After all, no one ever expects to end up in relationship counseling. Many of us want to believe that we too will get that fairytale ending where you meet “the one” and live happily ever after. But fairytales often end before they tell you that relationships take work.
Many of us don’t have the right tools to address challenges when they come up, and that’s okay, that’s what the pros are for. The real issue is knowing when it’s time for you and your partner to consider relationship counseling.
If you and your partner have stopped talking, you are probably in need of help. Most relationship problems boil down to challenges in communication. A therapist can facilitate new ways to communicate with one another. If the two of you do talk, but you find that it’s negative communication, keep in mind that it can be just as harmful as no communication at all. Negative communication often leaves a partner feeling shamed, judged, and insecure. The tone of your conversations can also be classified as negative communication: Remember it’s not what you say but how you say it. If you’re scared to even bring the issues up, a therapist can help clear up the issues to a couple, and help them understand what they are talking about.
Sometimes, one partner will withhold affection after an argument as punishment (which includes the infamous silent treatment). While everyone has their way of reacting to a heated argument, when one person starts acting like a punisher, there is an imbalance in the relationship. If your partner begins to resemble an antagonist, it is important to remember that you two should be on the same team. When it begins to feel as if you aren’t on the same side, it’s time to get help.
It’s not uncommon for sex to become less frequent when you’ve been together for quite some time. But significant changes in your sex life can suggest that something is not right. (This also includes an increase in sex, which is usually a sign that one partner is trying to compensate for something they feel is wrong.) Fantasizing about having an affair suggests that your desires do not align with what you have. You’ll want to seek therapy before anything happens, even if counseling helps you and your partner conclude that it is best to move on.
If your relationship isn’t the fairytale you hoped it would be, there is no reason to believe that the end of it is near. Relationships are a process. Even the most loving relationships need work. But like most things in life, timing is everything. The longer you and your partner take to decide to seek help, the more problems there are to work through during counseling. Many problems couples face stem from life stresses that occur outside of the relationship—new jobs, long-term investments like buying a house—but you won’t know until you go to counseling. A relationship therapist Encino can help restore your relationship to the happy union it once was.
Credentails & Contacts
Alice’s goal is to help her client’s learn to make conscious choices rather than repeating the same old behavior and expecting a different outcome.
Years in Practice: 20+ Years
School: Philips Graduate Institute
Year Graduate: 1989
License and State: MFC30340 California
Cost Per Session: $120 – $130
Accepted Insurance Plans: All PPO’s