The future depends onwhat you do in the present
Couple Riding Bikes

Couples Therapy

Are You Struggling With Tension In Your Relationship?

Do disagreements with your partner frequently escalate into heated arguments? Do you sometimes wonder whether your partner is really listening to you? Perhaps you don’t even know why certain arguments make you feel so upset. Has tension in your relationship caused one or both of you to emotionally shut down or to avoid facing important issues? If you have children, do you worry that they are suffering from the tension or disconnection in your family? Are you worried that you and your partner will never regain the trust, love, and understanding you once shared? Do you wish that you could reconnect with each other and move forward in a more secure, close, and fulfilling relationship?

When you are struggling to connect and communicate with your partner, you may feel like your whole day is off balance. In the morning, you may already start to feel tension and perhaps you both cautiously attempt to avoid an argument before leaving for the day. As you go about your daily responsibilities, you may feel distracted, mentally replaying a recent disagreement you two had. Later in the day, stress from work or household tasks may make both of you irritable, easily triggering another heated argument. In order to avoid painful interactions, you may find yourself disengaging by watching television, surfing the internet or checking Facebook when you are together. At the end of the day, you and your partner may both feel unheard, misunderstood, or unappreciated.

Every Relationship Faces Challenges

All relationships have ups and downs. It’s very common for couples to get into negative patterns of communication, especially when, beneath the surface issues, they also struggle with control imbalances, a lack of respect for each other, or a break in the foundation of trust. Instead of being able to sit down and talk about the real reasons why they are upset, couples often resort to negative communication tactics, such as blaming and criticism. Once they are stuck in this negative cycle of interaction, it’s normal to start to feel hurt, hopeless, and worried that they may never regain the love they once shared.

One possible reason so many marriages and partnerships struggle is that couples often lack quality time together, perhaps due to modern stresses, such as demanding work, parenting schedules, or other pressures. To add to these struggles, when couples do have free time to spend together, they may opt to instead immerse themselves in social media, television, or other forms of technology. While the advancement of technology has provided new ways to communicate throughout the day, it has also provided us with an easy distraction from meaningful face-to-face interactions. As a result, it is easy to lose touch with each other.

The good news is that with the professional guidance of an experienced couples therapist, you and your partner can interrupt those negative patterns of interacting, learn new ways to communicate for greater understanding, and rebuild a secure and loving bond. Couples therapy offers you a positive space to work through your issues and move forward toward a happier, more secure relationship.

Strengthen Your Relationship With Couples Therapy

During supportive, safe, and comfortable couples counseling sessions, you and your partner can learn practical and easy-to-use tools to strengthen your connection. The three of us will work together to develop a tailored approach to resolve your unique conflicts and build new patterns of positive communication.

Using a foundation of Gottman Method Couples Therapy (a scientifically-based, proven approach for strengthening and saving relationships), integrated with Imago Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy, I can help you learn how to resolve deep conflicts, generate understanding and respect, keep disagreements calm, rebuild trust, and increase your closeness.

During sessions, you and your partner will have the opportunity to participate in individualized practices to address your specific needs. For example, if the two of you have struggled with repeated arguments, we may decide to work through communication activities, during which you can voice your feelings, truly listen to your partner, rephrase your complaints, and display your appreciation for each other.

It is possible that a recent betrayal, such as an infidelity, has sparked a major conflict between you two. If so, you, your partner, and I will work on specific steps toward rebuilding trust in your relationship. Throughout this process, you will learn the best ways to take accountability, reestablish trust, and reconnect. While it may take some time, with the help of an experienced therapist, the two of you can effectively overcome your current obstacles and learn strategies to nurture your bond in the future.

For more than 25 years as a licensed psychotherapist, I have specialized in couples therapy. Throughout my career, I have acquired advanced training in the Gottman Method, Imago Relationship Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy. In addition, I now teach couples counseling skills to graduate psychology students and offer workshops and couples retreats.

In my years of experience helping couples rebuild their connection, I’ve learned that no matter the extent of your relationship issues, it is possible to find healing and hope within each other. Often, just doing small things differently can have a tremendous positive impact. Therapy can help you learn exactly what those small things are and how to implement practical changes that can enrich your relationship.

Perhaps you're interested in therapy, but have a few questions or concerns…

    We’ve done couples therapy before, and it didn’t work. How will this be any different?

Just because your past relationship therapy experience was ineffective does not mean that all other therapy options will be the same. It’s possible that either you or your partner wasn’t ready before, or perhaps your previous therapist was not the right fit for the two of you.

My approach to therapy is to work collaboratively with the couples who come to me for help. I will structure our work to best fit you and your partner’s concerns and needs. Commit to just one session and see if you leave with a greater sense of hope and a clearer roadmap to discovering mutual connection, respect, and caring.

    What if my partner refuses to come with me?

It is possible to improve your relationship by working one-on-one with me. Often, there is a strong chance that a partner will join in when he or she observes the changes you are making to your routine. Or the individual work can help you understand the ‘dance’ between you and your partner and provide you with the tools to shift the dance toward a more positive direction.

    I’m concerned about the amount of time and money seeing a therapist would involve.

Therapy does involve financial and time commitments. However, it can be one of the best investments you can make for a better life. Where do you imagine your relationship will be in six months, a year, two years if you continue as you are? Taking the time now to repair and strengthen your partnership can save you years of pain. Most couples report waiting for an average of six years before seeking help. Research from The Gottman Institute indicates that the sooner a couple in trouble seeks help, the easier and quicker it is for them get their relationship back on track.

Rediscover Your Love For Each Other

If you're ready to work together toward a more rewarding and healthy relationship, please contact me at (619) 708-3314 or therapy@annegoshen.com to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss your specific needs and to learn more about how couples therapy can help you.