From pointing out that compromise is the soul of good relationships to suggesting that you leave notes of praise about something the important person in your life has done, therapists can improve on your relationships. Remember when you placed your hands on the nape of your honey’s neck, or spent half an hour, or more, discussing their concerns with them when you dated? Relationship therapists can help you to understand that those life-enhancing behaviors matter, that they should continue all life-long.
Psychology professor John Gottman, co-founder of The Gottman Relationship Institute, developed an insight into why some couples are happy; The number of their positive communication efforts with each other outweighed their negative ones.
Gottman and other relationship therapists focus on the need to act in caring ways whether it’s spending listening time to and with each other or running errands that pay big dividends in shared happiness.
Conflict resolution is another feature of relationship therapy. Not every adult knows how to stop a bad situation from worsening. Some adults can’t even name the emotions that they’re experiencing. Competent relationship therapists can remedy that with information, role-playing and even charts with facial expressions paired with the name of the mood being expressed. Once everyone understands what they’re dealing with, a therapist can teach skills for ending problems. Feeling as if you’ve hit a wall will give way to smiles and relaxed shoulders, even lower blood pressures.
What if one of the relationship partners refuses to go for therapy? That will affect the results and the speed of progress when you seek therapy alone. But the good news is that a relationship therapist can help clients to improve their behaviors so that future interactions with your significant other(s) can improve both your lives. It’s a matter of sticking to prescribed rules and some good luck.
As time progresses, innovative forms of relationship therapy become available. You can seek help if one or both partners have ADD/ADHD, PTSD or some other mental health issue that interferes with the relationship.
IMAGO therapy is a system for identifying personal problems and for conflict resolution. It also teaches people that they connect to others based on specific needs. Stylized IMAGO dialogue is the tool for bringing unhappy people together again. There are other types of relationship therapy. It will take time to do the research to find the therapist and form of therapy good for you, but it’s a wise investment in a happier future.
When you first begin relationship therapy, you might have to do some triage work with the therapist, to identify the more pressing problems from those can be safely dealt with later. An uncomfortable situation, it’s not unlike going to the doctor for a sore body part. Attention paid to obvious pain can alleviate it and allow other healing to happen. Once the agony of relationship problems has been minimized or resolved, other aspects of the relationship can improve.
As always, working with a reputable and licensed therapist is a must. Fragile relationships can only be supported with the help of someone who knows how to use appropriate tools and skills.