So what does a healthy relationship look like? The best way I can describe this is that in the relationship, as individuals you and your partner are your best selves and as a couple you are even better. When things are not going right in your relationship, it is natural to ask yourself if couples therapy is right for you. Couples therapy involves both members of the couple in the room, sharing thoughts and feelings openly in front of their partner with a therapist. This is a highly useful approach.
Sometimes, the relationship you are in is not reaching its full potential and your partner is not interested in couples therapy or you want to work through some relationship dynamic issues on your own. Individual therapy, with a focus on your relationship dynamic can also bring you the clarity you need to understand how your relationship has come to be what it is and what needs to change in order to obtain what you desire in your relationship. Working things through with a psychologist helps you move forward as an individual and can help your relationship.
Some clients choose Individual Therapy with a focus on the relationship for the following reasons:
- To explore and understand how your own issues and behaviors impact the relationship and minimize it.
- To discover misconceptions, insecurities, and wounds from previous relationships that may have led to feeling disconnected from your partner.
- To learn more about who you are as an individual in the couple and how to keep your sense of self while in connection.
- To learn to understand yourself, your partner, and your relationship dynamic.
- To grow to understand and minimize your triggers and how you may trigger your partner.
- To explore your thoughts about intimacy and how you want to explore and convey it to your partner.
- If the relationship is not safe and you need to explore options for your future.
In a relationship dynamic, each person impacts the other and we can get stuck in unhealthy conflictual patterns, behaviors, and perceptions of one another. We often jump to conclusions that may not be correct or even healthy. With therapy, we can identify the underlying couple dynamics and move from reacting to thoughtfully choosing how we want to respond to one another. By gaining insight into yourself and your behaviors, you can choose to alter how you engage with your significant other to create meaningful change.
It helps to think of a relationship dynamic as a dance. If you consciously make an effort to change what you say and how you act, your partner will change too.
Strategies you can use today to support your relationship:
Pay attention to the language you use. Move away from “me vs. you” and shame/blame language. The more you talk about what works for both of you, the less strain there will be on the relationship.
Focus on the positive side of your relationship. Talk about common interests, aspects of your partner that you like and admire, and what brings the two of you together.
Be open to learning from your partner. Understanding does not always mean agreeing and that is ok.
Stick with one argument at a time. Do not bring past transgressions into a new conversation. Focus on what is bothering you in the moment and work towards mutual understanding.
Be gentle with your criticisms. Talk about the behavior you want to be changed, kindly avoid attacking the character of your spouse.
Not all relationships are healthy relationships. Some relationships cause emotional and/or physical harm. Therapy can also help you to uncouple.
Seek out a therapist if you need support in moving toward a more positive and healthy relationship with your significant other. If you think individual therapy with a focus on your relationship might be right for you, you are welcome to call (760) 930-0886 to set up an appointment with me, Rakefet Benderly PH.D, a Carlsbad psychologist. Together, we can heal in connection.
Dr. Benderly is a psychologist practicing in San Diego, CA. She provides psychotherapy services to residents of San Diego including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks, Oceanside, Vista, La Jolla, San Marcos, Escondido, and La jolla.
Therapy offered in Hebrew and English.