Couples Counseling in High Point, NC—Counseling for Strained Relationships
Each season, six celebrity couples work on their relationship as cameras follow their progress for VH1’s Couples Therapy. High-profile and highly skilled therapists help these partners work through challenges, and audiences tune in to see which couples will call off their relationship and which will reignite their love. As any reality TV show would, Couples Therapy highlights the drama within each partnership, but the truth is that relational drama is not just for celebrity couples and it is not just for reality TV. No couple is perfect, and even the strongest couples will face circumstances that could pull them apart. Couples therapy is not just for celebrities either. More and more, couples are reaching out for help when they experience strain within their relationship, and they are going to couples counseling.
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself.
You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
Healthy relationships do not just simply happen. They are nurtured, as John Lennon describes. Caring for and cultivating love within a partnership takes intentionality, but many people find themselves at a loss for how to develop their relationship. Many people want a healthy relationship, but they do not know how. Many people are also going to a couples therapist to help them learn how to improve their relationship.
The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks High Point offer couples therapy, and they have worked with many partners who want a better relationship. Their relationship may be at an impasse, their relationship may have tension, their relationship may have grown cold, but these clients know they are not ready to walk away yet. Our staff has guided many couples toward positive next steps for their relationship.
Four Behaviors that Threaten Relationships
The details of each couple’s struggle will always be unique and individual, but often, the problem that underlies those details is universal. In fact, the psychologist Dr. John Gottman famously studied couples, and he found that four toxic behaviors are almost always present when couples split up. He dubbed these behaviors “The Four Horsemen” because, without correction, they often indicate that a relationship will fail. These behaviors are criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt. This is what they can look like within a relationship…
- Criticism — No two partners are completely on the same page. Couples will disagree—this is normal. How they go about these disagreements, however, is critical to the health of their relationship. When one partner disagrees or disappoints, the couple needs to attack the issue without attack each other. Criticism attacks the person, and it may sound like, “You are reckless. How dare you withdraw that money without talking to me?” The issue may be serious, and it likely needs to be discussed. However, this is no excuse for personal attacks.
- Defensiveness — Blame is a red-flag for defensiveness. When partners are defensive, they do not take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, choices, and actions. Instead, they blame other people or their circumstances. When confronted with a shortcoming, defensiveness may sound like, “I could control my anger if you didn’t keep messing up.” A response that accepts responsibility sounds like, “I did not control my anger. I yelled at you and hurt your feelings. There is no excuse. I am sorry. I am going to take steps so that this does not happen again.”
- Stonewalling — When partners ice each other out during conflict, this is stonewalling. It can look like denying, ignoring, or minimizing a problem. When stonewalling occurs, problems get swept under the rug instead of solved. In the process, requests for action may be ignored, needs may be minimized, and feelings are often hurt.
- Contempt — Healthy couples stand on equal ground, but contempt means that one or both partners are always trying to get the upper hand by keeping their partner down. Shame is at the heart of contempt—it is inherently disrespectful behavior that makes partners feel less than instead of loved and cherished. In real life, contempt looks like eye-rolls, put-downs, sarcasm, and mocking. Dr. Gottman called contempt the most dangerous of the four horsemen.
Healthy Connections and Couples Counseling at Thriveworks High Point
These harmful behaviors do not mean that the relationship is inherently doomed. When couples acknowledge their hurtful patterns and when they are open to adjusting their behavior, couples counselors can often guide the process of change so that the couple experiences a healthier way of connecting. When partners go through couples therapy, they often learn…
- Personal Responsibility — A healthy couple consists of two healthy individuals who take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, actions, and choices.
- Self-Care — No relationship can erase an individual’s need to care for themself. When each individual learns what they need and how to ask for it, they can be their best selves within the relationship.
- Thankfulness — Gratitude is a bedrock of healthy relationships. When couples are thankful for who their partner is, instead of who their partner is not, their relationship is often on the right track.
If you are ready to work with a couples therapist, know that Thriveworks High Point is ready to work with you. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your counseling the following day. We accept many forms of insurance, and we offer weekend and evening sessions. Call Thriveworks High Point today for a couples therapy appointment.