Never feel alone in your relationship again
Wondering where all the romance went? Or feeling stuck in a relationship where “taking breaks” and the “silent treatment” just isn’t working? Maybe you’re feeling like your intimacy or sex life is stale? Maybe there’s been infidelity? Or maybe you just need a higher level of understanding and communication? There are many reasons to seek counseling. Whatever the reason, know that you are not alone.
At Estes Therapy, we can help you learn how to create a stronger relationship through couples counseling that uses research-based techniques that have been proven to work. Either in-person or virtually, our approach to couples therapy is using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is a research-based therapy approach that focuses on how to form and strengthen your attachments to your partner and others. You’ll learn about how to come together and connect at a deeper level during difficult moments and emotions, rather than those tough times creating distance between the two of you. You will learn the tools to keep your emotions balanced during tough conversations, and better discuss and uphold boundaries. Your couples therapist will help you get a roadmap of where you need to go to create long-term change. Your couples therapist can then show you how to express your softer feelings and needs in a way that helps bring your partner closer and respond to you – so you can build a secure, lasting bond.
Great communication is the key to a great relationship
Learning when to listen and when to speak in your relationship is an integral part of communication. Often, many couples get to a point where they are only hearing (or sharing) the surface of the message, not the underlying emotions and needs. Many couples reach out to each other seeking connection but have gotten stuck in a negative pattern where this is not done in an effective way. Sadly, the underlying need for connection gets lost. Our Marriage and Family Therapists are here to help you get unstuck and reconnect. One of our jobs with relationship counseling is to decrease old harbored resentments by resolving past injuries. By learning coping skills to deal with stressful issues, defining personal boundaries and boundaries in the relationship, and opening the lines of communication, you can begin to grow. These coping and communication tools will solidify and enhance that warm connection you need.
As experienced relationship and marriage therapists, we can tell you that every couples therapy session is different. Situations entwined with deeper, more complex wounds often require more commitment from both partners. But do not let this dissuade you. It won’t be easy, but the results are long-term and effective. Therapy will allow both of you to love deeper and harder than you ever imagined. Remember that this change takes time. We’re not putting a band-aid on the issues, only to have them resurface in a few months. Together we’ll be doing the hard work to rebuild a strong foundation for lasting change.
Therapy helps, even if everything is “perfect”
Couples Counseling can be the prevention rather than the intervention. Too often, couples use counseling as a last resort – research has shown that couples wait up until 7 years after the onset of an issue before seeking help for it. You don’t need to wait until the point of no return to improve your relationship. Just like you have regular doctor check-ins and car tune-ups, you should be checking in with your relationship. It’s too easy to let date nights, check-ins, and making time for a connection get pushed to the back burner when life gets busy. Working on your communication patterns early in the relationship may save you a substantial amount of heartache down the road! If you are contemplating if couples therapy is for you (spoiler: it is!), you can check out some of the top reasons people seek couples counseling.
Preparing for a Couples Therapy Session
Preparing for couples counseling in San Diego can help you feel calm, ready, and present when you are in the session. Going into a therapy session can be overwhelming. You know you will be facing some tense discussions. Remember that you are not alone and that you are facing this together as a team in order to have the best relationship possible. Here are some guidelines on how you can support yourself and your relationship before you even open the door.
Renew Your Purpose
Remind yourself why you are going to couples or marriage counseling. You want a stronger relationship and a sense of safety and connection. If you have had previous sessions, identify one or two breakthroughs where either you or your partner was able to see or say something you hadn’t noticed before. Even small signs of progress mean that your relationship is growing!
Don’t underestimate the calming and connecting power of a hug, kiss, holding hands, or a quick snuggle before walking into the waiting room.
Clear Your Mind
Areas of insecurity and anger often come up in these conversations and it can build a sense of dread before the counseling session. If you need to, try writing down the things that are running through your mind. Some of them may be relationship related, but you may find that work and other issues are adding to your stress. Try to let those go so they don’t hijack your emotional presence for your session. Take a few deep breaths. Imagine the tension leaving with each exhale. As you inhale, visualize a blanket of calm settling over your body.
Verbally acknowledge that you two are a team, that you are learning how to communicate better with one another, and that you are working on the marriage. Having each other’s back helps make it safe enough to talk about the hard stuff.
Get on the Same Page
If there was one thing you could discuss in this session, what would it be? Check-in to see if you are both to address the same thing in session. (You can also do this the night before). Agreeing on an agenda puts you on the same side even when addressing an area of conflict.
Ultimately, you will get the most out of your sessions when you agree on your purpose and keep showing up to do the work for your relationship. You’ve already taken the first step by researching marriage counseling and getting started. Remember, you’re in this together, and we’re here to help guide you and at times remind you of that.
Some people reading this page aren’t ready to take the plunge – and we get that. If you are still contemplating starting couples counseling, check out our blog or recommended readings. You can follow us on Instagram (@Estes_Therapy) to get to know the team and our work with couples.
Want more information or have questions? Feel free to reach out to our intake team via phone, text, or email.