Human beings are social animals and thus they seek to create meaningful relationships with others. One of the most significant relationships they can forge is with a partner. We tend to look for partners who may differ from us in many aspects for instance personality, interests, culture, career or goals. Taking into consideration all these differences it seems inevitable that conflicts may at times arise.
Adding to this complexity, individuals do not begin relationships as a blank slate. Each has pre-formed patterns of assumptions based on previous experiences of how relationships should work and how we expect others to respond to us. Therefore, before even having a disagreement with their partner, people already have a particular way of interpreting the behavior of their partner. With all of these dynamics at play, it is not difficult to understand why it may be necessary for many couples to consult with a psychologist in order to have a neutral third party that can help them make sense of this complexity.
How does relationship counseling work?
Initially there is a period of assessment in order for me to get to know each of you better, as well as the relationship between you as a couple. This assessment period involves getting to know what brings you to therapy, your couple’s history, identifying the strengths of the relationship, as well as the areas of conflict and getting information about your personal background. The goal of this assessment period is to identify the underlying patterns occurring between both of you, and to help you change maladaptive conflict cycles. Throughout this process each of you may increasingly empathize with your partner´s perspective, which will build the foundation for the next stages of counselling.
During the treatment phase, I will help you to understand the cycles where you get stuck, as well as helping to identify which behavioral changes are necessary in order to cultivate a more effective and positive connection. Additionally, we will work on enhancing pre-existing relationship strengths, learning to communicate effectively and learning to respond to your partner’s needs.
How many sessions of relationship counselling do we need?
The amount of sessions depends on the individuals in the relationship, the conflicts they are facing and the circumstances of the lives they are living. A typical treatment program may amount to between 8 and 16 sessions. Ultimately however, it is the couple that is entitled to decide when it is time to conclude therapy, as they are most aware of the results achieved.