​​​Florida Psychological Associates LLC

Couples and Relationships

Most couples call with a specific concern about their relationship. They may beexperiencing repetitive arguments and poor communication, there may be conflicts regarding parenting, money, dealing with extended families, or intimacy, or they may be trying to cope with the aftermath of an affair.

Sometimes couples struggle with less specific problems or crises. These can include diminished feelings of closeness or love, or settling into a routinized, less personal relationship. It is easy to assume that these changes are the natural result of lengthier relationships, the inevitable cost of dealing with the responsibilities of family life. But disappointment over the loss of intimacy and specialness in a couple’s life can be the precursor to more significant rifts or crises down the road.

Most importantly, these changes are not inescapable and unavoidable. Couples begin with a desire for a shared emotional life, for an intimate partnership, and this desire does not disappear as time goes by. It can be difficult to sustain this closeness in the face of life’s demands and changes, and couples therapy can offer an opportunity to re-connect with your partner in a powerful way.

It’s obvious that the people closest to us can affect our level of happiness as well as our deepest sorrow and sadness. Understanding the troubles in your relationship and working through them can be the hardest and most rewarding experience a couple can go through together.

What is the problem that most people in relationships complain about? Generally it is the way they communicate with each other. Nothing said seems to resolve the problems, the problems sticks around, and the problems begin a pattern that repeat themselves with no conclusion. After some period of time, people get frustrated and upset, fighting starts and insults, blaming, the cold shoulder, and criticism take the place of consideration, caring, and calmness.

We work with you and your partner in developing an individualized treatment plan to suit your needs. In general, you work on your communication skills. You learn to set boundaries, learn to be mindful of your own needs and desires while being aware of your partner’s needs, and learn to please the other without subtracting pleasure from yourself. You learn better ways to resolve conflict and decrease levels of anger.

If there has been an affair, counseling is again tailored for each couple. It is a complicated and special challenge because the healing includes creating a deeper level of trust. Figuring out the future of the couple is part of the therapy.

Q. How long does treatment last?

12-15 sessions is an average length of treatment, although some couples do well with fewer sessions and others need a greater number of visits. Sessions are usually held once weekly to start, transitioning to every other week after some initial progress has been made.

Q. Is it worth coming in to see you if my partner refuses to come?

Yes, individual sessions can be useful to assess the situation and provide guidelines for dealing with the relationship, including ways of encouraging participation by the reluctant partner.

Q. What can I expect from the therapist in a couple’s session?

Couples counseling requires a therapist to create an atmosphere that is respectful of both parties and of their life and history as a couple. The therapist needs to both listen carefully and be an active presence in the sessions. The session should not be a place where you have your familiar arguments in front of a passive and quiet professional.

Q. Is pre-marital counseling useful?

A number of secular and religiously based pre-marital workshops and courses are available, and these may adequately address the needs of many couples. If there are some specific trouble spots you are struggling with, sessions with a professional couples therapist can be extremely valuable and can help prevent future difficulties.

Q. Can couples in long-term relationships change patterns that have existed for decades?

Yes. Relationships exist in the realm of patterns, cycles, and interpersonal habits. By taking a fresh look at each other’s feelings and needs, these cycles can often be broken and a more satisfying connection created.

Q. Can couples recover from an affair?

Yes. Couples counseling can help couples repair the damage done by an affair, helping them recover from the betrayal of trust and move toward forgiveness and partnership.