Monday, January 26, 2015

The Benefits of Relationship Counseling

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By Jenna Brown

If you're married or in a serious relationship, you know that being a couple isn't always easy. And while most of us know that healthy relationships are full of compromise, communication and good deeds, we often fall short of these goals in our daily lives.

Enter relationship counseling. Could this type of therapy be just the thing to save your relationship or take it to the next level? Keep reading to find out.

What is Relationship Counseling?

Relationship counseling, also known as marriage or couples counseling, is a type of psychotherapy designed to help couples recognize and resolve issues, while enhancing the health of their relationships. Often provided on a short-term basis (though some couples do receive long-term therapy), relationship counseling typically involves both partners and a licensed therapist; however, some therapists prefer working with one partner at a time.

Relationship counseling can be sought for a number of reasons, a few of which are listed below:

Infidelity on the part of one or both partners.
Issues that arise after the birth of a child, a move or other major lifestyle change.
Sexual problems.
Legal or financial problems.
Unresolved tension, anger or hostility.
Substance abuse.
Emotional distance.
Communication problems.

The Benefits of Relationship Counseling

Counseling can provide enormous advantages to couples experiencing relationship problems. For example, common benefits of couples counseling include the following:

Improved communication. Typically, enhanced communication is a primary goal of relationship counseling. Therapy provides a safe, neutral space, where couples can discuss their issues with openness and honesty. To promote healthy communication, a therapist may "coach" clients on effective ways to voice their opinions and concerns. For example, clients may be instructed to avoid aggressive, critical or otherwise negative language in favor of more constructive, positive discussion.

Enhanced objectivity. Through couples counseling, partners can learn to view themselves and their relationship in a more objective light. This can help in terms of identifying unhealthy behaviors, and can also promote effective conflict resolution.

Behavior modification. If relationship problems are the result of unhealthy or dysfunctional behaviors, couples counseling can help. Using behavior modification techniques, a therapist will help couples identify dysfunctional behavior patterns, and change them in the interest of a stronger, healthier relationship.

Enhanced emotional closeness. Emotional avoidance is a common problem in modern relationships. One goal of couples counseling is to promote the sharing of fears, hope and ideas, in an effort to enhance intimacy and emotional closeness.

Deeper understanding. Relationship counseling can help partners understand each other on a deeper, more intimate level. What's more, counseling can help partners understand themselves, which can enhance communication, as well as promote healthier, more productive problem-solving skills.

Conflict resolution. Whether it's infidelity, substance abuse or another serious problem, relationship counseling can help couples resolve their issues. In some cases, this may involve a referral to other psychological services, e.g., substance abuse counseling, sex addiction counseling, etc.

Relationships, even the most healthy ones, aren't always fun and games. If you're experiencing problems within your relationship, couples counseling can help you and your partner explore your issues, and work through them in a healthy, productive way.

Sites like TherapyTribe allow you to search locally for therapists and receive guidance from support communities. Look for different ways that you can start laying the foundation for a stronger, more intimate relationship. Good luck.

Thanks to our supporting contributor, Jenna, for this featured post

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