Couples Counseling (also known as relationship counseling) is a type of therapy involving two people who are in a committed intimate relationship. Couples counseling is done between two individuals wishing to improve upon the relationship they have with each other. There are many reasons that people may seek out counseling for themselves and their partner, but the goal is always the same: we seek to strengthen and assist in the growth of the already existing bond between two people. At Chicago Counseling Collaborative we are happy to work with both opposite and same sex romantic partners.
Conflict within a relationship can be intense and may bring up feelings of confusion, fear, anger, and pain. Oftentimes current relationship conflict has its base in past relationships or our family of origin. Together we will work with you to dissect you patterns of conflict to uncover the root causes and address the problem there. Frequent fighting about surface issues like laundry or washing the dishes is often symptomatic of a deeper seeded issue within one or both of the partners. Things that one partner may not think anything of or believe them to be “no big deal” may be the very things that rock the other partner to the core.
At 3C we will help both partners reach a greater understanding of the other. Relationships are about respect and equal compromise and it is our hope to help you and your loved one reach that middle ground where you are both feeling respected and cared for on a daily basis. We also hope to make couples more comfortable with the lower intensity day-to-day conflict within a relationship. Conflict and disagreement are normal, healthy parts of any relationship. You may not always agree, but you can use those disagreements are opportunities to learn more about the person you love. Conflict is a doorway to growth within the relationship. The important part is how you handle and respond to the conflict when it does arise.
In our experience communication is the most important aspect of any relationship, especially a romantic one. The therapists of Chicago Counseling Collaborative will help you achieve a greater understanding of your partner’s communication style so that you can communicate with each other on a higher level. When a couple is able to understand the differences in their communication styles it can greatly reduce the amount of miscommunication and conflict that occurs. With less conflict and better communication between partners there will be greater relationship satisfaction and more time for you to enjoy each other.
Common Reasons To Seek Relationship / Couples Therapy:
- Lost the Spark – Many couples feel a loss of intimacy or desire as time goes on. Work together to find the spark and rekindle the passion.
- Preparing for marriage or civil union – This process can be fun but also scary. Taking the next step in your relationship requires planning and careful consideration.
- Conflict Resolution – Learn to resolve issues, listen and communicate effectively, and move past anger and resentment.
- Repeated Negative Cycles – many couples encounter daily stumbling blocks that can be very difficult to recognize and move beyond.
- Financial Constraint / Disagreement – Finances are one of the most common reasons for stress in a relationship. Whether you are in a bad financial spot or perhaps don’t share the same views on maintaining finances, therapy can help relieve some of that stress.
Benefits & Takeaways from Couples Therapy:
- Deeper Connection – Discover new things about each other that will increase your respect, appreciation, and love for your partner.
- Better Communication – Learn the skills to directly communicate your needs and also truly hear the meaning behind what your partner is communicating to you.
- Letting Go of the Past – Move beyond issues from your past as individuals and as a couple.
- Fall in Love Again – Take time to reflect on the reasons you got together in the first place. Feel that love reconnecting you to each other and reinvigorating your relationship.
- Greater Physical and Emotional Intimacy – Allow your increase in positive communication to rekindle the romance in your relationship.
- Work as a Team – Allow your relationship to truly function as a partnership in life.
- Move to the Next Step – Work together toward moving your relationship forward. Therapists can help you plan for marriage or civil union.
Types of Therapy Used:
- Psychodynamic – Uncovers and assists in fully experiencing painful and/or traumatic events that have been pushed out of our conscious awareness
- Internal Family Systems – As we move through life our positive and negative experiences contribute to our different “parts” within our psyche that all play a role in self-preservation.
- Narrative Therapy – Our identities are formed by our experiences and it is important to separate our negative experiences (problems) from ourselves in order to resolve them. We have problems, but we are not defined by our problems.
- Object Relations – Our relationships as adults are shaped by our relationships starting as infants. As an infant we identify “objects” as representations of people in our lives. A “good” caring hand that rubs our back when we are sick or a “bad” mouth that yells at us are examples of objects that can eventually grow to represent people that cared for us as infants and young children.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy – Focuses on emotions and their healing power in the here and now while looking at how problems happen rather than why.
- Self Psychology – The therapists relationship with the client is one of empathy and understanding unmet developmental needs are explored and processed.
- Systems Theory / Therapy – Helps a couple, family, group, or community to understand the role each member plays and how they relate back to the functionality of the system as a whole.