Relationship Help

Couples counseling: Finding a Translator

Have you ever had the experience of saying something that seems totally innocent and finding out your partner has heard it in a completely different way? You are not alone. When it comes to couple communication, it sometimes seems as if you are each speaking a foreign language. Couples’ number one problem is a lack of positive communication.

Sometimes only one member of a couple is willing to start the process. The other may be too hurt, prideful or angry to agree to therapy. That’s ok. In fact you can make huge changes in your marriage just by changing your approach. Then your partner, having seen the benefits of therapy, will very likely join you.

For women, if you are looking for ways to get him to open up more, come home from work earlier, put down the remote control and help out, I have some great techniques to help get more cooperation and involvement from him, and he won’t even know what’s happening, except that he’s happier too.

And for you guys out there who are hopeless in her eyes when it comes to meeting her needs, I have some excellent tips that will help you make a lot of progress and get some credit too. It is possible to do it right, I can coach you with some very simple techniques that you can put into practice immediately.

What happens in couple’s counseling?

The couple

  • learns more effective communication strategies
  • understands the steps required to resolve conflict more quickly and easily
  • identifies negative patterns that have become bad habits
  • learns “fair fighting” or positive communication methods
  • practices paraphrasing, mirroring and active listening
  • resolves specific conflicts and learns skills to resolve any future ones,
  • identifies the complementary and positive aspects of their relationship and learns to build on those.

During the therapy session couples talk about real issues that are problematic right now. The therapist’s role is to help the couple resolve the issue in the session while at the same time learning and practicing better skills so they can resolve any future conflicts that arise. I won’t let you have the same arguments that you can have at home for free. The purpose of couple’s therapy is to teach you how to resolve those conflicts.

What will the therapist do during sessions?

The therapist will

  • Translate the emotional needs and wants of each into the other’s language
  • Teach each person how to understand the other’s language
  • Have a more active role in couple sessions than individual therapy
  • Stop the communication periodically with a couple in order to have them try a different technique, stop a negative pattern, show them how to get better results, and prevent the conflict from escalating
  • Create safety for couples in conflict by making sure each person is heard
  • Nip developing problems in the bud and show them how to do the same
  • Help them achieve a positive outcome that recovers their hope and gradually builds a belief in their ability to solve any problems that arise.

While it is common for couples to enter therapy with a lot of anxiety, most find couples sunlight through the pinescounseling to be an anxiety-free, pleasant experience where they leave each session feeling better about themselves and their relationships than they have in a long time. Whether your issues are related to blended families, financial problems, domestic duties, intimacy, communication problems or just too much conflict, you can make a change for the better.

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Does your relationship measure up? (pdf)


Jeanne M. Strauss, LCSW, NBCCH • 210-787-6384 • Email

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