Couples therapy helps people overcome obstacles that may arise in their relationships. One common block is fault-finding and defensiveness during discussions.
While some couples hesitate to seek therapy, unhealthy and healthy couples can benefit from sessions. It can help you improve your connection and learn new relationship skills.
Focus on the Positives
Even the strongest and healthiest relationships can experience conflict. Learning specific conflict resolution strategies can help you and your partner communicate more effectively during these times, promoting a healthy bond that keeps the relationship safe.
For example, a skilled therapists Seattle will teach you to avoid going into an argument to “prove your partner wrong.” Doing so can quickly escalate emotions and lead to resentment. Instead, a therapist can help you focus on the present and find solutions that benefit both of you.
For example, arguing over the parking spot only makes sense if dozens of open spaces are nearby. Your therapist will also teach you to “pick your battles.” Validating your partner’s feelings is key, as focusing on correcting misperceptions and misunderstandings can only cause them to feel misheard or unheard. This can ultimately lead to a solution that benefits no one. They’ll also work with you to identify existing relationship disturbances that may affect how you respond to each other.
Communicate Your Needs
Every relationship experiences adversity from time to time. Financial difficulties, insecurity, and communication issues are normal and can lead to arguments. However, the key to navigating these challenges is having effective tools for conflict resolution. Working with a couples therapist can provide an outside perspective to help couples address their issues.
During couples counseling, you will learn how to communicate your needs healthily. For example, you will practice active listening where one person shares a condition, such as more alone time or physical intimacy, and the other partner listens intently. Then the second person will repeat what they heard to ensure they understand each other clearly.
Being open and honest about your feelings and concerns with your partner is essential in resolving conflicts. But it’s important to avoid accusatory language and focus on the underlying emotion behind your problem. For example, if you are concerned that your partner is not supporting you financially, the underlying surface may be that you feel unloved.
Listen to Your Partner
When you bring up the idea of couples counseling to your partner, you mustn’t make your partner feel pressured into attending sessions. Instead, allow them to marinate for a few days and then ask them again if they are still open.
Listening to your partner is an effective way to help them understand their needs and feelings. However, many couples fall into the trap of being too focused on problem-solving during conflicts and fail to empathize with their mate.
This can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication during arguments, escalating the conflict. It is, therefore, important to practice active listening skills, such as paraphrasing what your partner has said and asking them if you understood them correctly. This helps prevent the argument from becoming a blame game and can help you reach a compromise more quickly. Moreover, it can reduce an idea’s emotional intensity and improve communication.
Be Open to Alternative Solutions
Even the most loving, committed relationships experience a variety of challenges. Couples therapy can help couples build emotional connections, improve communication, and address underlying issues that lead to conflict.
It is important to remain open to alternative solutions during the conflict resolution. This will allow both parties to feel heard and valued, which can help to resolve the issue quickly. It is also important to remember that conflict resolution aims not to win the argument or prove your point but to find a solution that satisfies both parties.
Often, conflicts stem from pent-up frustrations or unresolved feelings that have been building over time. To move forward, consider a 48-hour rule where any new issues are only brought up for discussion within 48 hours; this will help to prevent old feelings from becoming a distraction in the current conflict. Humor is also a great tool during a difficult conversation, but only use it when appropriate.