How Individual Therapy Helps with Relationship Issues
Couples therapy is a great way to work through relationship issues, but what if that is not an option right now? Perhaps you are not ready to ask your partner to attend couples therapy, or your partner may be unwilling or unable to attend. If you are unsatisfied with the status quo in your relationship, you may want to consider individual therapy to help you address relationship issues.
Individual therapy can help you with relationship issues in the following ways:
Processing Feelings and Clarifying Thoughts
Individual therapy offers a private space where you can work out thoughts and feelings associated with your relationship. You can express yourself, unfiltered, without worrying about the impact to your partner or the relationship. A therapist will offer a non-judgmental space as you vent, express concerns, and make sense of your thoughts and feelings. You may find relief from stress and anxiety just by talking it through with your therapist.
Even the most skilled communicators can struggle to communicate effectively amid interpersonal conflict. As you talk with your individual therapist, you are practicing communication as thoughts and feelings arise. Your therapist can help you develop strategies to remain calm so that you are able to think and communicate clearly, as well as develop communication skills to achieve open dialogue with your partner.
You can identify patterns of behavior in your relationship that are not working for you or for the relationship. For example, after conflict you may tend to try to smooth things over right away, while your partner may tend to shut down and withdraw (or vice versa). Alternatively, perhaps both you and your partner may tend to shut down and withdraw, or you both may be so eager to smooth things over that you sweep things under the rug.
If you notice that the way you address or react to conflict in your relationship is not working for you or your relationship, you can gain understanding about how and why you keep repeating those patterns. As you develop awareness about how you tend to react, you can learn to respond differently.
Identify the people, activities and environments that make you feel restored, as well as those that make you feel drained. In individual therapy, you can learn to set boundaries so you can spend your resources on the people (yourself included) and activities that refill your energetic tank. This may mean setting boundaries outside of your relationship or within your relationship. Either way, the better you feel, the more resources you will have to put back into your relationship.
Managing Stress and Anxiety
Talking with an individual therapist can help you gain insight into other factors that are impacting your relationship. For example, is work causing you anxiety that you cope with by scrolling on your phone rather than spending time with your partner? Developing coping strategies to reduce stress and anxiety will benefit you and your partner.
Individual therapy will help you understand the role that you play in your relationship and what you want. You and your therapist can work together to change patterns that aren’t working for you, and practice communication that promotes open dialogue with your partner. Best of all, throughout the process you will improve the relationship you have with yourself.
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Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Here at Catalyss Counseling, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide affordable counseling, depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, grief and loss therapy, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Becca Tarnowski is a Master’s level student counselor at Regis University and intern at Catalyss Counseling. She moved from Chicago to Boulder, Colorado in 2003 where she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from University of Colorado. Becca currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her husband, their 2 young children and their dog. Becca is an intern therapist provider for the affordable counseling program at Catalyss Counseling. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.