Relationship Help for Individuals
Using the same amazing Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy process, I work with individuals who seek to better understand themselves and improve the quality of their relationships.
Counseling may be helpful for you to:
- Discover why your past relationship choices haven't been healthy and satisfying
- Move on from a hurtful divorce or break-up
- Understand your insecurity in relationships that may cause conflict with your partner
- Reveal why you stay distant in relationships or break up with your partners when things get closer
- Help improve your relationship when your partner won't come to counseling
- Learn to speak up to your partner about your needs rather than becoming angry or withdrawn
- Address underlying issues of self-confidence
- Improve your relationship when your partner won't come to couples counseling
If you struggle in your romantic relationships, you certainly are not alone. The fact is, for many of us relationships present a variety of challenges. It's not unusual for us to feel stuck, lost and overwhelmed as we try to navigate dating or recovery from divorce or tough break-ups.
Too, you may have noticed certain "patterns" in your relationships, yet don't know how to make changes so you can find and maintain loving, healthy and lasting relationships.
Discovering What's Getting in Your Way
I often tell the people I work with that our brain is somewhat like an iceberg: We're aware of what's above the waterline but not below. Counseling lowers that line to produce greater and deeper understanding of ourselves. In therapy, we gently explore together the roots of your beliefs about how relationships should be, what you learned from your parents' relationship and how you can create positive change for yourself.
You'll learn about your own "attachment style," a critical element that contributes to your relationship choices and how you interact with your romantic partners. We may each have different attributes of each style, and this knowledge opens the door to a new level of self-awareness. There are three basic attachment styles:
- Secure. You feel confident that you are loveable and deserve a great relationship. You rarely worry about being abandoned or about getting too close to your romantic partner.
- Anxious. People with anxious attachment can be very sensitive to and fearful of any sign of rejection and need lots of reassurance from their partner. It can be difficult for you to calm your emotions when you feel the relationship is jeopardized in any way.
- Avoidant. You see yourself as independent and self-reliant. People with avoidant attachment style may struggle to express their emotions, trust others and depend on their partner. It can be challenging for them to be emotionally connected, and they may unknowingly sabotage things when the relationship becomes closer.
If your partner has a different attachment style, you may find a number of areas of friction. Learning how these different styles interact can provide valuable insight and open the doors to greater understanding.
Improving Control of Your Emotions
When we are faced with uncertainty in our romantic relationship, the part of our brain that controls our emotions has three fundamental choices: Fight. Flight. Or Freeze. Our emotions are the strongest in our romantic relationships because when we fell in love, we formed a powerful bond. When it feels as though that bond isn't solid, our emotional triggers can be powerful (and overwhelming to our partner!).
The challenge comes in being able to let our partner know our needs and fears. Yet, if our emotions are still elevated, he or she may want to Fight, Freeze or Flee in response.
Fortunately, you can learn a variety of ways to calm your emotions so you can then have a conversation with your partner that results in resolving issues and concerns.
Moving On: Letting Go of Past Hurts
If we were cheated on, we might fear our next partner will do the same. If a happy relationship ended suddenly, we may fear being abandoned again. If our partner drank, gambled or was often angry, we can fear these same troubles in our future relationships. Or, we may try to avoid past problems by selecting a new partner who is very opposite of our past lovers, but who is not the best fit for us.
Typically, we call this "baggage," right? And, in a way, we are dragging our previous hurts into our current relationships. Our brain can have a hard time letting go of the emotional pain of the past. Yet we can lower that water level -- as mentioned above -- and achieve a greater understanding of our past wounds and cope with them in new, positive ways.
In relationship counseling, you have the opportunity to grieve the past loss of a relationship or marriage. And, you can understand how you may have unknowingly and unintentionally contributed to problems with previous partners and be more aware of any residual feelings you could be carrying into current or future relationships.
"My Partner Won't Come to Counseling!"
One of the reasons couples delay getting help with their relationship is due to one partner not feeling comfortable with the idea of getting outside help. However, even with only one half of the relationship coming for counseling, progress is possible.
Even without your partner, you can learn:
- How your different attachment styles may contribute to challenges in your relationship
- How to express your needs in ways your partner can understand
- Ways to improve connection and closeness
- How to talk about intimacy
- To become a team with your partner to improve parenting
- To use a proven model for healthy conversations that leads to resolving important issues and differences
How we view ourselves can affect our relationship choices and how we interact in relationships. Do any of the following trouble you to some degree?
- I need to be perfect
- I never feel I'm good enough
- I'm fearful that I'm not doing the right thing
- No one will find me interesting or smart enough
- I'm not attractive enough or loveable
In counseling, we work to understand the source of those self-defeating beliefs. You can then learn to explore them with an appreciation of how you are unique -- and that you are just fine the way you are.
Linda Schwartz is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works exclusively with couples and individuals on relationship issues. She uses Emotionally Focused Couple therapy, the most effective approach to helping couples recapture their close connection, to learn to resolve issues through deepening their understanding of each other's needs and to heal infidelity and any past hurts in the relationship. Linda offers a free, 15-minute phone consultation to answer your questions about the counseling process. She can be reached at (602) 882-0533 or .
These new skills can become lasting tools to help you improve how you cope in a range of challenging situations."