Individual Relationship Counseling:
We all know that relationships and marriages work when we work hard on them.
But we aren’t just one half of a relationship–we are all a whole, messy, complex person all on our own!
So if you’re working on your relationship and solely focused on changing your partner, you probably won’t make the progress you want to. Instead, you also need to consider the support you need as an individual, in order to really show up as your best self in your relationships.
Couples counseling is often the best way to tackle relationship problems. The biggest reason is that a couples counselor can help you work live and real-time with the places you get stuck in with your partner. However, Individual Relationship Counseling is an excellent, sometimes essential addition to your efforts in a few different scenarios.
Couples Counseling for One
Sometimes, both partners aren’t ready for counseling. But that doesn’t mean that the relationship couldn’t benefit from therapy! If your communication and intimacy within your relationship need to be strengthened, but your partner isn’t in a place to commit to couples therapy, doing work on your own can still help make positive change. That’s where Individual Relationship Counseling comes in.
Individual Relationship Counseling to Support You and Your Healing Process
Your relationship affects your mental & emotional health, and your mental & emotional health can affect your relationship.
You might benefit from Individual Relationship Counseling when you wonder:
- Do I still feel uneasy or unsure in my relationship? Am I constantly feeling like “the other shoe is going to drop?”
- Am I taking assumptions and experiences from past relationships and applying them to the relationship I’m in right now?
- Do I struggle to trust my partner and our relationship because of unhealed wounds from my past relationships?
- What happens to my physical health when my relationship is struggling?
- What happens to my mental health when my relationship is struggling?
- Why do I feel so depressed and anxious when my relationship is not good?
- If I feel so awful, isn’t this a sign the relationship is doomed and I should leave?
- When my mental health suffers, do my relationships suffer?
Think back to the most secure and happy times in your relationship. Chances are, your body and your brain knew your relationship was secure, and you flourished. Research has shown that people in strong, committed relationships have better overall physical and mental health than those who are single or in relationships that struggle.
Now think back to a time when your relationship didn’t feel secure or happy. If your relationship is in trouble, you’ll likely experience an increase of mental health issues that can include things such as:
- Increased symptoms of anxiety
- Increased symptoms of depression
- Sleep disruption
- Poor appetite
Distressed relationships also have a negative impact on our physical health, including higher incidence of heart disease, stroke and increased levels of cortisol in the body, which impacts our immune system functioning. Individual relationship counseling can help you recognize when your relationship is affecting other areas of your life, and give you skills to address it!
Now think about those times of trouble. Did you feel more stressed by small things that don’t normally bother you? Was it hard to focus on your everyday tasks? Maybe your home didn’t even feel comforting or safe anymore–so you didn’t have any place to truly rest or relax. Already those few things show us how problems in our relationships can spiral out into different areas of our lives.
If my partner isn’t ready for couples counseling, why bother with Individual Relationship Counseling?
The results of this study confirm those of many others, which indicates we are better off in healthy relationships than alone.
Happy and fulfilling relationships are important–not just because they make us happy but because they actually improve our quality of life. As mammals, we are hard-wired from cradle to grave to seek out and flourish when we are securely connected with others. We are social creatures, meant to be connected. We thrive when we honor those connections.
Also, tending to our own internal needs makes us a better partner! These internal needs can include:
- Noticing and understanding our own emotions (what triggers them + why, how they show up, soothing techniques that work, etc.)
- Strengthening our communication skills
- Expressing your needs
- Sitting with uncomfortable feelings to understand them instead of just reacting to them in the moment
- Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable without defensiveness
- Accepting that we will make mistakes and that that doesn’t diminish our worth or change the fact that we deserve love
- Handling conflict
- Recognizing the ways past experiences influence how we perceive ourselves and our current relationships/experiences
Brené Brown, an incredibly entertaining and captivating speaker, touches on the concept that in order for us to have the close, loving relationships we desire, we have to be willing to be vulnerable with each other.
This is the work we will commit to in Individual Relationship Counseling.
This is not a simple thing to do, and is often scary. When we are in distress, it can be incredibly frightening to open up and be vulnerable again, especially if the relationship experienced a betrayal or trauma.
So many of us are still carrying around untended wounds from past relationships, without even realizing it. Those wounds, left to fester, hinder not only our present and future relationships, but our own personal growth. We’re lugging around old stories that tell us we’re not good enough, or loved enough, and bringing them into our current relationships, even when they don’t apply! It’s time to unpack those bags, so we can move forward.
Successful relationships are partnerships where we feel safe being vulnerable and honest with our partners. But there are a lot of things within ourselves that can impact our ability to feel safe being honest and vulnerable with others. In individual relationship counseling, our counselors will work with you, and help guide you through strengthening your skills in communication, and your comfort with vulnerable conversations.
When you are angry or critical, you often have other feelings inside, underneath or part of the anger that your partner is not seeing.
In Individual Relationship Counseling, we’ll work on identifying those feelings that you need to address with your partner.
Maybe you are also feeling a fear that your partner does not care about you. Maybe you feel powerless to let your partner know that you care. If you typically shut down or withdraw, maybe you are feeling protective over the relationship because you fear the argument will damage or even end the relationship.
When you can give your partner a more complete understanding of all of your feelings, including those softer ones, you are much more likely to get the response you want from your partner. This requires you to know those things about yourself, so that you can communicate them with your partner! That will be our work together in individual relationship counseling.
In Individual relationship counseling, we’ll help you address, explore and answer the question “What am I feeling on the inside that I’m not talking about?” As we help you explore the answer to that question, we’ll be able to give you tools to move on your own and in your relationship to express + address those feelings going forward.