“When we were dating, we would talk on the phone for hours. In retrospect, I thought we had gotten to know each other pretty well, but I realize now we just talked about our personal histories or our opinions about other people. We never really got into the nitty-gritty of our thoughts of how to handle finances or other big stressors for couples. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault, but I’m not convinced my husband actually knows that much about the real me. And I don’t know that much about him either.
I always thought I was, you know, this great communicator, but I’m actually pretty terrible at it. If something’s bothering me, I just internalize it and try to convince myself it’s not that big of a deal. That’s fine once or twice, but it’s led to quite a lot of resentment that I’m now finding I really need to deal with before it ruins things completely.”
Lucinda and her husband are not alone. There are so many couples in their exact situation—they love each other but are struggling with communicating deeply and effectively. There’s nothing quite as painful as realizing your life partner doesn’t know you as well as you thought they did, or finding you don’t know them well either. Luckily, help is available. Thriveworks Counseling in Worcester couples therapists and marriage counselors often work with couples experiencing communication problems and many other issues that can arise in a marriage.
When Is It Time to Work with a Couples Therapist or Marriage Counselor?
It might be time to call a therapist if you’re arguing frequently, not talking at all, experiencing a lack of intimacy, or feeling apathy toward the relationship. If you’ve even considered seeing a couples therapist or marriage counselor, it may be time to make that call. Or, if you simply want to set your relationship up for the best success, you might want to reach out to a couples therapist or marriage counselor. It doesn’t matter what phase of marriage you’re in—early, child-rearing years, or much later. If things aren’t quite the way you want them to be, you can improve them.
“Most couples pursue therapy when there are significant difficulties in the relationship. However, just as it is better to manage our healthcare consistently rather than waiting until we experience potentially devastating symptoms, couples counseling can be used as a preventative resource—a way to avoid significant complications before they happen,” explains Shawn Channell, a Licensed Psychologist at our Worcester office.
We see couples experiencing many types of strife, including:
- Infidelity: When one or both partners have stepped outside the marriage, a couples counselor can help the couple identify why the infidelity occurred, restore healthy communication, and eventually restore trust.
- Financial disagreements: Financial disagreements occur for many reasons, including disparate incomes, decisions about having or raising children, what large purchases to make (or not), and who will be “in charge” of bill paying. Finances cause a huge number of disagreements, even in otherwise relatively happy relationships. However, a few sessions with a Thriveworks Worcester couples counselor can help you and your partner learn healthy communication skills for productive conversations about finance. Couples therapy can also help you develop a mutually agreed-upon financial plan.
- Work/life balance: It’s not uncommon for a partner to work what the other partner considers an excessive amount. This conflict about work usually stems from one partner feeling neglected or overly saddled with household or child-rearing responsibilities. Couples counseling will focus on identifying where each partner’s feelings stem from and then coming to an agreement about how or if things should change. Once more, the bulk of this work will be on communication skills.
Whatever it is, “couples therapy isn’t meant as a mechanism for one partner to ‘unload’ on the other, nor as a way to force your partner to change, but as a method to find solutions to relationship problems based on the love and dedication the partners have for one another,” says Channell.
What Happens During Couples Therapy Sessions?
Couples therapy isn’t a refereed match, and your therapist won’t take sides. The therapist is a neutral, compassionate third party who will listen to each party and help them find where the communication breakdown is occurring. Once that breakdown is identified, your counselor will help you develop a plan to overcome it and help you learn communication skills to facilitate that plan. “Marriage counseling and couples therapy involve both partners participating in joint therapy sessions,” says Channell. “The goal is to help the couple gain insight into their relationship, improve their satisfaction in the relationship, and to resolve conflict using a variety of therapeutic interventions.”
This brings us to the personalized approach that our counselors take. While there are effective counseling techniques that might prove effective for many couples, the counselors and therapists will not design your treatment until they get to know you. Then, and only then, will they put together a plan that will best help you and your partner improve your relationship and address the problems at hand. Of course, though, sometimes couples aren’t meant to work these problems out and are better off apart. “While the goal of couples counseling is always to try and improve the relationship, sometimes couples realize that their disagreements and differences are irreparable and that separation may be the best solution. Even in these circumstances, couples counseling can aid couples in ending a relationship on the best terms,” Channell explains.
Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling at Thriveworks in Worcester, MA
Thriveworks in Worcester, MA counselors know how important marriage or a long-term partnership is—it’s the most significant relationship in your life. When that’s out of balance, it’s hard to feel hopeful about anything.
You can have a strong, healthy, happy relationship, and we can help. Thriveworks does not operate with a waiting list, and we can usually see you within 24 hours of your call, so don’t wait any longer. We also have flexible appointment options including evening and weekend sessions. In addition, we have online counseling opportunities as well. We want to make this experience as convenient as possible. Call us to schedule your appointment today.