What is your relationship like?
How is your relation with your partner? Do you feel seen and heard? Do you feed understood and loved? Maybe you think, that once, at the beginning of your relationship everything was wonderful, but today things are different. Perhaps you have stopped talking to each other or maybe each exchange escalates into a quarrel? Also it is possible that you have a lot of anger and grudges and you wonder what to with this situation.
Things you (don’t) do
Maybe you have forgotten that after the stage of being fascinated with the other person, when the hormone levels finally subside, you will both come to see some differences between you. Because your partner – and you as well – is a separate person, with his/her own needs and feelings. It is possible that you have stopped expressing your needs yourself, contributing to the feeling of being isolated and misunderstood in your relationship. Maybe you do not know how to have a “healthy quarrel” and instead you withdraw, hide whatever bothers you or – on the contrary – you explode with frustration and let your emotions carry you away.
Name your problem and what you need
You still want to be together but you find it difficult to carry on together on everyday bases, which makes your life miserable. Maybe one of you is concerned that he/she is going to repeat some mistake from your previous relationship and you want to prevent it? Perhaps your partner suffers from something, e.g. depression or losing a job and this casts a shadow on your relationship? Or you have a specific problem, e.g. one of you have had an affair and you want to work through the hurt and remorse?
I am not going to “fix” one of you
The goal of therapy is not “fixing” one of you but rather examining and understanding how you two influence each other. We assume that you both are responsible for changes in your relationship because one impacts the other but also each of you is responsible for yourself. That means that instead of thinking: “If only she would appreciate me I could do so much more…” we can ask: “And how do you appreciate yourself?”
Working together to achieve your goal
At the beginning of your journey we have to establish what your problem is. Creating space for both your and your partner’s point of view we have to agree on what we are going to be working on and what needs to be changed. We will be working on communication skills, that is how to speak and listen and how to show understanding for your partner’s perspective. We will practice negotiating, where both of you will probably experience some disappointment because not everything is possible “the way I want it”. Also we will learn how to create and support new ways of being together which will bring positive experiences into your relationship. We will notice and express feelings and emotions as well as manage conflict situations. When we reach our established goal the therapy can be called complete.