You are struggling to communicate with your partner. It feels like you can’t even open your mouth without starting an argument. Or worse–the silent treatment. You are afraid that your relationship will continue to unravel and, eventually, fall apart. You may be having issues sleeping in the same bed. You can feel yourself growing more and more distant from your partner. Maybe there have been some issues with infidelity. You want to save your relationship, but are not sure how. If this sounds like you, going to couples therapy in Maryland may be your answer.
If you have landed on this article, there is good news and bad news.
The bad news: You and your partner are struggling with communication, distance, or intimacy issues, and it may be difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The good news: You are clearly trying to save the relationship. Otherwise, you would not be reading an article about couples therapy.
You are Likely Asking One Question:
Will couples therapy save my relationship?
If so, you have come to the right place!
Learning about couples therapy is a HUGE step in the right direction. But if you are motivated to save your relationship, AND are willing to take some action, your relationship has hope.
At Rockville Psychotherapy and Coaching, we understand what you are going through
We take into account the complex issues that can take place in relationships. And we have seen how couples therapy can improve any relationship.
In this article, we are going to break down what couples therapy is, the reasons couples go to therapy, approaches to counseling, and common questions, so that you can get a better picture of what going to couples therapy in Maryland can do for you.
What is Couples Therapy?
Couples therapy is exactly what it sounds like: Therapy for couples who want to save or improve their relationship. Couples therapy provides a safe space for both partners to discuss difficult things like communication issues, sex, and change. It provides the opportunity for both partners to be heard.
There is a common misconception that going to therapy means that your relationship is on its last leg. This is not the case. Your willingness to go to couples therapy when the problems first start and do the work to heal is the key to saving your relationship.
When is the right time to go?
There is no “right” time to go to couples therapy, AND–the sooner you go, the better the outcome for your partnership.
Sure, you can wait until you are sleeping in separate rooms, filled with resentment toward one another, and unable to have a conversation without getting into a fight.
But, if you’re not there yet, the question is–do you really want to get there before taking action to improve your relationship?
“What if my partner does not want to go?”
There are many reasons why one partner may not want to go to couples therapy. Perhaps they have never been to therapy before, have a negative perception of therapy, believe they will be blamed for everything, or are just downright afraid.
At the end of the day, you cannot force someone to go to therapy. What you can do is start going by yourself.
An experienced therapist will help you navigate communication with a partner that does not want to attend couples therapy. And perhaps once your partner starts to see you grow in therapy, they will start to see the value themselves.
What are the Goals of Going to Couples Therapy in Maryland?
The goals of couples counseling include:
- Improving communication between you and your partner
- Providing a space for both partners to speak honestly and be heard
- Building a healthier relationship, with a sturdier foundation
- Solving any major issues stopping a couple from excelling in their relationship
- Providing a greater level of relationship satisfaction
- Enhancing the connection between partners
- Working out major conflicts
Do You Need Relationship Therapy?
To gather whether or not your relationship can benefit from marriage counseling, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Do I often feel unheard in my relationship or feel like my emotions are minimized?
- Do I struggle to open my mouth without starting a fight?
- Do we often criticize one another?
- Do I feel distant from my partner?
- Do I feel as if we have no common interests?
- Do I often feel resentful, angry, or indifferent toward my partner?
- Are we having issues with infidelity?
- Are we having issues with porn, sex, or drug addiction?
If you answered yes to some of these questions, there is no doubt that your relationship can benefit from therapy.
What Problems Bring People to Relationship Therapy
The single largest why couples go to counseling is a lack of communication.
This can look like:
- Fighting and conflict
- Feeling unheard
- Blaming each other
- Avoiding each other
- Feeling invalidated
- Arguing about every little thing
One of the most important needs in any relationship is connection and emotional intimacy. Emotional connection is one of the fundamental needs of any human being. Having emotional distance in a relationship can feel like torture. For any marriage or relationship to succeed AND provide emotional security for both partners, there needs to be a certain level of emotional connection.
Significant life events
We all react to life’s stressful events differently. And the way we respond to things shapes our interactions with others.
Perhaps you or your partner are experiencing or reeling from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, an unexpected medical event–or even a happy event, such as having a baby.
How we react to things can create conflict. For instance, maybe your response is to shut down. Or maybe your partner’s response is to become neurotic and anxious.
Both of these examples can create friction if one or both partners are unsure how to react to the other’s emotions and behaviors.
Infidelity, cheating, and sex problems
Another common reason why couples go to seek counseling is infidelity in the relationship. Maybe one spouse is cheating, or maybe both are.
Regardless of what drives the cheating (physical or emotional), it can damage the trust and emotional security in a partnership.
If your partner has cheated on you, it can be very easy to wonder things like:
- Does my partner really love me?
- Why am I not good enough?
- Is our sex life not adequate for my partner?
- What am I doing wrong?
This lack of security and trust often sabotages a relationship–and it will take a long time to build back that trust. But, if both partners want to put the work into change, it is possible to recover from infidelity by working with an experienced Maryland couples therapist.
Similar to cheating, porn can create friction in a relationship or marriage–especially since there is often dishonesty involved. As a general rule, hiding things from your partner creates an unspoken level of emotional distance.
Perhaps someone in the relationship is struggling with sex or porn addiction. This puts a massive strain on any relationship and, unless help is sought, most relationships will be unlikely to survive sex or porn addiction.
Fear of sex
Being afraid of sex–also called erotophobia and genophobia–is more common than you might think. When one partner has a fear of sex, it may lead to a negative self-concept in a relationship.
Not a comprehensive list
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the reasons why people go to relationship therapy.
The bottom line is this: If you are struggling in your relationship for any reason, give couples therapy a try. It might be the only thing that will save your relationship.
“Can Going to Couples Therapy in Maryland Make Our Relationship Worse?”
Believe it or not, this is a question that many people want to ask, but are afraid to–
Can couples counseling make things worse?
The answer is–both yes and no.
Not many people want to talk about it, BUT–sometimes things will get worse before they get better.
However, once you put the work in, things will improve drastically. Most couples start to see things turn around after just a few sessions.
Will a Couple’s Therapist Ever Tell You to Break Up?
The short answer is N-O!
It is not the job of a therapist to tell a couple to break up.
However, if the therapist is certain that one partner is abusing another (either physically, emotionally, or sexually) they may provide abuse resources to the partner being victimized.
If you are experiencing abuse in any form, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (1) 800-799-7233.
“What if we decide to break up?”
While a couples therapist does not decide if a couple should break up, a couple may decide to break up on their own.
If this happens, an experienced Maryland couples therapist will aid you in your transition and ease as much tension as possible.
Approaches to Couples Therapy in Maryland
There are many approaches to couples therapy in Maryland. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
Gottman Relationship Therapy
Gottman therapy is based on the idea that a healthy relationship is like a house: it needs a strong foundation, weight-bearing walls, and several floors. In this case, those elements refer to:
Disarming verbal conflicts, increasing intimacy, removing barriers that cause stagnation, and increasing understanding.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
EFT is an approach to couples therapy that involves 3 phases:
- De-Escalation: Identifying and reframing negative emotions and attachment problems.
- Restructuring: Learning to share emotions, show acceptance, and nurture an emotional bond.
- Consolidation: Working on practicing new communication strategies.
The basic theory of Imago Therapy is that our experiences from childhood affect what we look for in a partner and how we interact with them.
Our experiences from childhood unconsciously affect the way we see our partners and their behaviors. Without intending to, our old wounds get entangled in our relationships.
The Imago Therapy technique involves making a partner aware of the unconscious expectations and perceptions of love. Childhood wounds are discussed and put into perspective. The question is posed—how are these childhood wounds affecting how you see your partner?
For example, someone who experienced a lot of criticism as a child will probably be sensitive to criticism from their partner. Feelings of abandonment in childhood are another common wound, which will frequently crop up in a relationship.
When these core issues continue, they can cloak the positive aspects of a relationship. This can lead someone to question whether or not they have chosen the right partner.
“Through Imago Relationship Therapy, couples can learn to understand each other’s feelings and ‘childhood wounds’ more empathically, allowing them to heal themselves and their relationships so they can move toward a more “Conscious Relationship” –harvilleandhelen.com
“Which approach is for me?”
By working with an experienced, empathetic, and understanding Maryland couples therapist, you can find the best approach for you.
“What will happen in our first session?”
In the first session, an experienced therapist will ask questions about the relationship. They will get a general idea about what a couple hopes to gain from therapy and what their family situation was like growing up. This gives the therapist a feel for how to best work with a couple.
Over time the sessions change
Over the course of the first several sessions, the couple will learn to communicate with one another. Now, the therapy begins to reach deep. More is uncovered about the relationship and more is out in the open.
At this point, they begin to feel hopeful about their relationship.
By the time the couple is at the 10th session and beyond, they have incorporated the work into their relationship. From here the couple begins to fine-tune their communication skills and are able to resolve many of their issues without a therapist present.
At this point, couples feel fulfilled in their newly functional relationship.
Couples therapy doesn’t last forever
When couples first start counseling, one or both partners are likely wondering, “How long is this going to last?”
Any good couples therapist will say that they won’t know until they dive into the work.
But once the couple sees the relationship start to improve, they stop asking when it will be over.
Once the couple starts to see the value of therapy and watch their relationship improve, they stop viewing couples therapy as laborious, and many want to continue and even look forward to therapy sessions.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Couples Therapist Today
If you can relate to what we have discussed, then relationship therapy is probably for you.
If you want to go from fighting to communication, from distance to intimacy, and from unhappy to fulfilled, couples therapy in Maryland will help.
But with all the different approaches and therapists out there, it can be hard to know where to look.
Rockville Psychotherapy and Coaching is an experienced Maryland couples therapy practice.
Rockville Psychotherapy and Coaching is both trauma and culture informed. We understand that people of different cultures hold different values, beliefs, and ideas about relationships. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to therapy.
We will meet you wherever you are and tailor our care to fit your needs.
We have experience in treating couples in the following communities and cultures:
- Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)
- Many other cultures and identities