Couples counseling is offered for dating couples, married couples, same-sex couples, engaged couples, and couples living together.
Couples that maintain a sense of joy and harmony are couples that have found a unique dynamic referred to as emotional intelligence. Yes, it's vague and sounds strange! Emotional intelligence can be a natural quality in an individual, but it can also be learned. It is the ability to obscure one's shortcomings, emphasize one's abilities, and socially maneuver through the subtle nuances of life.
Imagine a football quarterback: quarterbacks are not the most talented football players on any given team, they are not the best looking nor are they the smartest. Yet, they have the uncanny power - something hard to identify - to pull a team together, create a sense of partnership, while also supporting and recognizing individual members who excel. They also take full responsibility for any team failures. These players have Emotional Intelligence - and people enjoy their company.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is having the "abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one's moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope." Daniel Goleman
Individuals with EI experience more satisfying relationships. Solid research exists on successful couples and unsuccessful couples - we can scientifically measure those couples that feel an overall sense of love, playfulness, and happiness that everyone is seeking.
Early childhood experiences influence our ability to maintain a union - expert therapy can address early experiences that were negative or harmful.
A predisposed or genetic history of depression will impact a relationship. Men and women who abuse alcohol or drugs will find it difficult to maintain intimacy. Pornography and cyber sex can temporarily act as a "fix" or a solution to overall dissatisfaction, but ultimately results in displeasure for both partners.
Pregnancy and Post-Partum hormones can result in a shift in family roles and moodiness. Couples that seek out proactive measures will respond beautifully to treatment.
Step-children, job loss, divorce, or a death in the family will result in immediate role changes. Family members will benefit from talking about the shifting roles in a neutral and safe environment.
Is there such a thing as healthy fighting?
Yes, however, many couples have developed patterns of chaotic and highly-conflicted fighting, which results in chronic unresolved matters, increased distance and anger, and, occasionally, physical aggression.
Couples can learn how to effectively disagree and argue. Issues can be resolved and new ways of communicating can be learned.
The divorce rate is falling - Yippee!
Don't buy the bad press: People still hope to get married and stay married. Most couples are very happy and almost all couples are highly motivated to stay together. If your relationship does not feel connected, counseling can be helpful to better define your needs. Are there ways to please your partner? Probably. Can you improve poor communication? Most definitely. Many partners avoid much-needed therapy because they fear that counseling will "drive a couple apart" or encourage divorce. In fact, effective counseling strives to improve and repair relationships; learning new ways of interacting, focusing on strengths as well as areas that can be fine-tuned, revisiting the positive factors that brought two people together. The harsh realities of divorce are frequently often enough to compel a couple towards reconciliation, the necessary hard work, and change. Key areas of marital counseling often include a review of unresolved resentment, steps to forgiveness, increased physical intimacy, and the development of trust (no, not in that order). In taking stock of a marriage or relationship, a healthy inventory is always complete with surplus and deficit...what has worked in the past? What about your partner initially drew you together?
"... Research on the effects of attachment security suggest that a secure partner will be able to communicate more openly, assert needs more easily, be more empathic and responsive to his or her partner, and explore physical and emotional closeness in and out of the
Counseling can assist you and your partner in discussing important issues. Areas that typically result in marital conflict include financial stress, differing parenting styles, and how to cope with job stress.
Counseling can assist you in:
Women want positive feelings prior to the sexual act. Men feel more connected to their partner during and after the sexual act, with the positive feelings and connection towards their partner lasting for some time...what a conundrum!
As one may expect, infidelity will create a severe physical rift between partners, as can years of resentment or psychic injury. Yet, there is always room for improvement and a skilled professional can guide a couple through a rough patch of physical disconnected-ness.
Initially, it may feel awkward to discuss these very personal and delicate matters with your partner and a third party. But, over time, the sexual topic becomes "normalized" and begins to feel safer and comfortable. It is a necessary conversation
*Even contented couples may experience a flatness of energy in their sexual relationship, either temporarily or for extended periods of time.
*Some couples have never enjoyed satisfying sex but are happily married.
*One partner may desire a stronger sexual component in the relationship (a natural higher libido than their partner).
*Life circumstance may be interfering in an otherwise healthy relationship - birth of a baby, caregiving responsibilities of others, death of a family member, job loss, physical injury or illness.
The most common sexual problems for men are
1) lax erections
2) premature ejaculation. Areas of focus here may be male partner's awareness of anticipatory disappointment, "my wife will be angry" or "it's going to happen again." These thoughts will further maintain the dysfunctional premature ejaculation cycle. Learning the "squeeze technique" may be helpful to this couple as well warm and gentle discussion of each partner's fears and deep desires to please one another. Medical conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, often interfere with a man's ability to achieve an erection. Other psychological disorders, such as depression, will hamper a man's libido due to increased cortisol (stress hormone) and decreased testosterone.
The most common sexual problem for women is no or low sexual desire. Three thoughtful questions will be a) does sex feel pleasurable to her once initiated b) is she able to achieve orgasm and c) is there physical discomfort or pain?
Many medications negatively impact libido.
It's no surprise that psychological stress, such as anxiety and depression, create less arousal and less satisfaction in physical pleasure. Arousal requires relaxation, the ability to let go and surrender to physical sensation.
Most common physical challenges to sexual intimacy: For men, prostate surgery and diabetes. For women, physical pain during intercourse, either due to medical condition (i.e. bladder surgery) or a psychogenic disorder related to past trauma (i.e., rape, incest.)
Aids available! There are helpful aids available to improve intimacy, such as, hormone creams, physical therapy, vaginal aids, and biofeedback. Learning to vocalize (breathing with sound) can also be a breakthrough for women desiring greater physical sensation.
read about Sensate Focus
Copyright of Christina Neumeyer, 2017