I work with relationships of all kinds: romantic partners (straight or gay), parents and children, siblings, friends, colleagues, etc. I have been specifically trained in couple/family and group therapy and therefore consider “relationship therapy” one of my specialties.
Some examples of what couples and families work on in therapy are:
Developing and improving communication skills facilitates mutual understanding and empathy for one another, which is the “glue” that keeps many relationships together and mutually satisfying. Good communication also decreases the likelihood of breeding resentment towards one another, helps couples navigate conflict resolution and increases emotional and sexual intimacy.
It is more and more common for couples to seek counseling before making the commitment to get married. Pre-Marital Counseling can help partners understand the predictors of a “good enough” marriage, identify potential pitfalls and gain tools to make the good stuff last. Sometimes couples are undecided about whether or not they should get married and coming to counseling to talk about these issues helps to resolve the ambivalence.
Many couples come to therapy after the discovery of an emotional or physical infidelity. The therapy process offers an effective way to talk through the experience in a safe environment and identify what needs to happen to heal from the experience, and either rebuild the relationship or call it quits.
Some couples come to therapy to figure out how to separate in the “best” possible way, i.e. with the least amount of collateral damage (to the partners themselves, family members and children). The therapy process enables partners to come to a place of acceptance and letting go– partners grieve their losses and identify the lessons learned from the relationship. This process provides a sense of closure and facilitates moving on.
A blended family can be a particularly difficult, albeit rewarding, journey to embark on, as the family unit broadens and becomes more complex. Often therapy can help with defining the new roles for those involved in the new family constellation.