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5 Reasons to Come to Couples Counseling

You have the same fights over and over
My clients often tell me that they are coming to couples therapy because they are at their wits end with having the same fights over and over. They report that these fights are usually over the same handful of topics and/or that all their arguments end in the same way. One partner feels as though it is time to “cool off and try again later” and one partner wants to “stay and solve the issue rather then having to rehash it again at a later time.” My clients find that after just a few sessions, they begin to have the skills they need to solve the issue and to stop this pattern.

You don’t feel understood or supported by you partner
Couples who are ready for couples counseling may know the feeling of being misunderstood or not supported by your partner. Do you feel as though you try to communicate how you are feeling and it seems to be misinterpreted over and over again? Do you go home and tell your person how you day was and get minimal responses or no acknowledgment? My clients learn that something is happening for each person during these interactions that is causing underlying hurt and disconnection.

It seems like your partner doesn’t see the good you do
Do you feel like you are burning the candle by both ends and making an effort to take care of everyone in your home, and yet it seems to go unnoticed or unappreciated? Have you tried to communicate this, and yet it hasn’t gotten any better? These feelings, mixed with the inability to get your partner to really understand the problem creates a snowball of issues in a marriage.

You or your partner feel angry or frustrated most of the time
My clients tell me that they start out trying to express how they feel to their partners, and it doesn’t seem to be understood or matter to their partners. This gap leads them to be frustrated, irritated, or angry a lot of the time. Couples tell me they start to have issues talking about anything because of this underlying tension. It feels as though they are “walking on egg shells.”

Trust is fading
Do you wonder things like, “If my partner isn’t talking to me, who are they talking to?” “I wonder who they are texting right now?” “We haven’t had fun or sex in far too long, I wonder if they are with someone else?” “Why can my partner be so friendly and chatty with other people and in the same moment, short and irritated with me?” Any of these questions start to erode a relationship and the foundation begins to fade.

If this seems to resonate with you or your partner at all, I would love to chat with you over the phone to see if there is a way to help you and your person get your relationship back on track. Communication problems are the number one issue that brings most of my clients to couples therapy.

How Deep is Too Deep?

A common question clients have for therapists is:

How deep is too deep for my therapist?

While this question comes from a heartfelt place of wanting to take care of another person by not disclosing information that feels traumatizing or painful to hear, it is not a client’s job to take care of their therapist.

We have been trained to sit with people in their most painful and scary places. It is our job to be with you in those moments because chances are, we may be the first person to really actually see and hear you in those dark corners. It is a privilege to be able to hold space for you in order for healing to truly begin.

If you feel as though you need to tell your therapist information that feels big, it may be helpful to let your therapist know how you are feeling about sharing this information.

“What I feel like telling you right now feels (scary, overwhelming, like a lot) and I am worried it may be too deep.”

 “I am worried that if I tell you this it will be too hard for you to hear.”

This transparency lets your therapist know where you are in that moment, which will help both of you go slow, and hopefully will make you as a client feel much more comfortable exploring the places that you need some love.

This can also happen in reverse. Sometimes a client may disclose something in therapy that makes them feel as though they went to a place that they were not ready to process. This can cause a ton of emotion to come up. Rather than pretending you are ok, or spiral into a place of worry, the transparency piece again is very helpful.

“I don’t know if I was ready to share that.”

“Saying that out loud has made me feel very (anxious, overwhelmed, all over the place.”

“I am worried that what I just shared wasn’t ok for this room. No one has ever heard that before.”

Again, the goal is to make you as the client feel same and heard. As you therapist, it is my job to help go where you want to go and to help heal the places that are affecting your ability to live the life you want to live.

 

How to Know When to Reach Out for Therapy

Have you ever found yourself in the position where you felt as though you may need help from someone outside your bubble, but you were unsure whether or not you should make the call? It is totally normal to feel nervous or unsure when deciding to make a therapy appointment. Below are a few things to consider when deciding to reach out.

Do you feel stuck deciding what you should do about a certain situation or relationship? Does this stuck feeling cause you to get frustrated, irritated, or angry?

Therapy is a wonderful place to sort through areas of your life that are not feeling as good as they should. Whether you are considering which direction your relationship should go, how to get out of the hurtful cycle of communication you are in with your partner, or if you are struggling with a specific thought or feeling you can’t seem to shake or resolve, therapy allows you the nonjudgmental and safe space to explore you options.

Do you feel alone?

Is there a particular issue that you are struggling with that you feel like you cannot share with your friends or loved ones? Do you feel embarrassed by the issue? Are you sick of hearing the same advice from those around you? These feelings often lead us to feel very alone in moments when we are needing some help. Feeling alone can feeling very worrisome and scary. Reaching out to a therapist who strives to make you feel safe can help you with those feelings and therefore get you back to feeling connected with those important to you.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

In the same way we may feel alone with certain issues or feelings, we might also feel very overwhelmed. Have you ever felt as though everything was spinning and you were just needing something to grab ahold to in order to steady yourself? With work, family, self-care, and our homes constantly demanding our time and attention, it is no wonder that we feel like our plates are too full. When our plates get too full we do things that may not reflect who we really are. Do you get snappy with those around you? Do you withdraw and turn away from loved ones? Do things that seem little seem to cause you to fall over the edge?

Are you exhausted?

One good way to know that you may need to ask for help is to identify that you are flat out exhausted. When the lonely and overwhelmed feelings take over, we are left feeling completely spent. Do you feel as though you have no energy to even do the things you like to do? Do you wake up feeling too tired to face the day? Something needs to look different in your life, and a caring therapist can help you explore what those things are and how to implement them into your everyday life.

Hopefully this

 

Self Care- When you are feeling overwhelmed

Self Care is such a buzz word right now, and it is easy to see why. With the amount of things we are trying to juggle on a day to day basis, mixed with the emotional information we are constantly being fed, it is no wonder we are burnt out, depressed, and anxious. Coupled with talk therapy, a good self care plan can go along way in helping you being to feel energized and like yourself again. This then translate into being able to be more present and content with the ones you love.

Exercise: Write down a “menu” for yourself of things you like to do. (It is important to have it written down. When we are stressed, our brains forget details of how to make us feel better because it is dealing with chemicals involved in feeling overwhelmed.) Below are some examples of things to add.

This menu should include three categories:

  • Daily Activities
    These are thinks that cost nothing or a small amount of money, and only take a couple minutes. (Cup of coffee, walk with your pet, partner or friend, 5 minute phone call with a loved one)
    o Challenge yourself to find 10 different activities for this category.

 

  • Weekly Activities
    o This requires a little more investment of time and money
    o 5-10 activities for this category would be ideal (Guilt free watching your favorite show, getting to an exercise class that you enjoy, painting your nails)

 

  • Monthly Activities
    o In this category, you want to make a list of things that take more energy and more time.
    o At least 5 activities for your monthly to do list. (Going on a fun date, driving to the mountains, plan a party with friends, go on an adventure with your kiddos)

Once your menu is created, try to incorporate 2 of your daily self care items a day into your routine, 2 of your weekly, and once a month add from your monthly list.

Your almost done! Now to make these activities benefit you it will involve slowing down in the moments when you are participating in them and becoming aware and grateful that you doing something yummy for yourself. For example, I LOVE coffee and as part of my routine, having a deliciously warm beverage is always a daily must. In order for me to be able to add this to my self care plan, I must slow down and appreciate that cup of coffee. I ask myself: How does the warm cup feel in my hand? How does the cozy chair I am sitting in feel on my back? Can I taste the hazelnut flavor in the coffee? What does it smell like in this moment? Take a few deep breathes, smile, and go on your way.

Quick and easy right? Doing this over and over throughout your day and week will help your body learn to slow down.

Couples Therapy bonus points. Can some of your self care plan items include your partner? Can you ask each other what you are enjoying or noticing in those moments together? Can you express gratitude with that person?

Self Care Plan Ideas:
• Take a bath with Epsom salts
• Make a happy music playlist
• Host a game night
• Volunteer
• Go for a hike
• Visit a lake
• Journal
• Read for pleasure
• Try essential oils
• Plan to do a Saturday adventure day with your kids
• Try a new recipe
• Light a candle in your home
• Get outside and wander
• Garden
• Host a tea party
• Try yoga
• Get friends together for touch football, soccer, volleyball
• Visit a petting zoo and pet the animals
• Stretch
• Try a new craft
• Ask for a hug
• Color in a coloring book

These activities (and I know I’m missing a ton of fun things!) help you slow down, connect to yourself, and help to connect with others.

What other ways to do you all take time to slow down and connect with yourself and feel grateful?

When you don’t want to get up…

How many of you have woken up on a weekday and felt this awful sinking feeling. You realize that you have a WHOLE day ahead of you and it feels overwhelming, uninspired, and routine. Are you and your partner in a rut, and you know that you will inevitably get into an argument? Are there other struggles like trying to get kiddos fed, dressed and to school on time? Does it come from work? Do you like your job or are you sick of navigating a coworker that you cannot stand?

In these moments, I have felt overwhelmingly compelled to roll over and go back to bed, but the world is moving outside and that is not an option. That feeling of sadness and anxiety that accompanies this moment is EXHAUSTING!

In addition to coaching and therapy, I have found that one thing in particular can usually start to shake the ick off…
Podcasts- I don’t know about you, but I love a good podcast. They are short and sweet and oftentimes leave me feeling inspired and motivated. Hearing the stories from other people who are struggling with similar issues and overcoming them with grace and power has been transformative for me.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Jen Riday Vibrant Happy Women Podcast 

Janet Lansbury Respectful Parenting- Unruffled

Good Life Project

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