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Acute Couples Counselling Couples Counselling

10 signs that your relationship needs couples therapy

In one survey, 93% of couples reported that couples therapy gave them effective tools for dealing with relationship problems. Which relationship problems are best dealt with in a therapy setting?  

Your relationship is unique, and has its own presence, like a third entity, between you both.

This entity has its own set of rules, strengths, challenges and expectations. Therefore, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to having a successful, happy union.

What is common amongst all relationships is that, sometimes, conflicts can arise. Some of these are minor and can be dealt with quickly. Other conflicts can be extremely complicated, emotionally difficult and can put enormous pressure on the relationship. 

Couples therapy helps people, whether dealing with minor or major conflicts, to overcome them positively and proactively. But how do you know that your relationship needs therapy? Here are 10 signs…

Reasons to attend couples therapy

Conversations turn into arguments

Arguments are normal and healthy. In fact, studies have shown that frequent arguments are a sign of a functioning relationship. However, when everyday conversations frequently turn into conflicts, and you find your relationship in a persistent state of tension, something much deeper could be going on, and couples therapy should be sought. 

A cultural, racial or religious disagreement has occurred 

Conflicts involving race, culture or religion can be particularly sensitive and complicated. Your heritage, values and faith play a huge role in how you think and behave within your relationship. When fundamental parts of your identity are challenged by your spouse, it can cause immense friction and discomfort. Couples therapy provides a safe space to unpack and explore these issues. 

Sex has stopped or stagnated

I find that changes in the bedroom are often one of the first signs that something is wrong in the relationship. The frequency, intimacy levels or more practical components of sex might have altered, leaving couples struggling to communicate or pinpoint the causitive issue. Couples therapy allows you to discuss and explore your sex life in an honest way, free from judgement. 

You’re considering infidelity / Someone has been unfaithful

Without a doubt, infidelity is one of the hardest challenges a couple can endure. Studies have shown that almost half of the population of Denmark has been unfaithful at some point in their lives – it is extremely common and always distressing. Affairs don’t happen from nowhere. There is always a build up. Couples therapy helps to heal a partnership struggling with infidelity, and reduce the likelihood of a future affair occurring. 

There are money worries

Money is one of the leading causes of divorce. There are all sorts of ways that money can negatively impact your relationship. These include debt, secret spending, an imbalance of earnings (and therefore power), or never agreeing on how much should be spent, saved or invested. For some, talking about money can be very difficult, and so couples therapy allows a safe space for this topic to be explored with transparency. 

Lacking interest in one another

When you are co-existing instead of collaborating, you might benefit from seeing a couples therapist. Healthy relationships require interaction, quality time, and a genuine interest in one another. Without this, you are two housemates coexisting in the same space. And that’s not fulfilling for anyone. Couples therapy can help you to re-energise the relationship and re-discover each other. 

There are issues involving children

Raising children is undoubtedly a privilege. But it is also a heavy responsibility, often burdened with immense challenges that can strain even the best of relationships. Whether you are having trouble conceiving, have recently had a baby, are raising teenagers, adopting, fostering or forming a blended family, children present us with highly complex and often very emotional relationship hurdles. Couples therapy helps you to navigate the trials of parenting, freeing you up to enjoy the triumphs.  

You / they crave more space

Hearing ‘I need space’ is never easy. If your partner has said this, it’s likely they’re feeling overwhelmed, suffocated or distracted by something else. Taking time apart is difficult but often necessary to avoid the escalation of problems. What’s crucial though, is that when you come back together again, you seek therapy to help understand what caused the need for space in the first place. 

You / they crave more intimacy 

I often see one partner in a relationship craving more intimacy and connection from the other. This can manifest as wanting more quality time, more date nights, more sex, more conversation, more affection… If you recognise this as forming part of your relationship, you might want to consider couples therapy to help understand why the balance is off. It will also help you to see your partner’s point of view, hear what their needs are, and allow them to know more about you and your needs. 

There has been a sudden life change

If you have recently experienced a significant event, such as a bereavement, relocation, a new baby, a job loss or a trauma, couples therapy can help. Couples therapy gives you both the time and space to acknowledge the event, explore the feelings within it, work through any challenges and face the future in a more positive way together. 

There is no right or wrong time to go to therapy. I would recommend, however, that if you have noticed any of these 10 signs, that you explore the option of therapy as soon as possible. This way, you can take a proactive approach in maintaining a healthy, solid union, rather than waiting for a crisis to hit. 

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.

Categories
Couples Counselling

What is couples therapy?

Research shows that couples who participate in therapy generally report higher relationship satisfaction levels. So, what is couples therapy and how does it work?

Is there an issue in your relationship that you don’t know how to solve? Or perhaps your union is lacking in intimacy and you aren’t sure how to rekindle the spark you once had? Couples therapy can help. 

Couples therapy (sometimes called relationship counselling) is the process of enhancing communication between two partners with the support of a fully trained and qualified professional.

Couples therapy gives you and your partner an equal opportunity to discuss your issues with a neutral, trained and qualified psychotherapist present. Whether you decide to stay lovingly together or to part ways with dignity, I can help. 

Partnership can be one of the most stressful and challenging areas of life. Many couples also feel as if they should be able to cope alone. However, couple therapy and relationship counselling can provide a much-needed opportunity to take some ‘time out’ together with facilitation and support.

Some couples may seek out marriage and relationship counselling because they have reached a crisis point and require acute couples counselling. Other couples simply need space to talk, to have room to talk about the things that daily life and busyness does not allow for.

Many couples face complex challenges, such as a general breakdown in communication, chronic arguing and conflict that may lead to a loss of control, shame and guilt, loss of emotional and physical intimacy, financial tensions, feelings of betrayal, an inability to make mutual decisions, cross-cultural issues, connections and tensions with family overseas, step-families, multi cultural as well as relocated families.

Such challenging issues often arise in the complex everyday that couples and families face, so therapy can be an invaluable space in which to gain perspective, to relate to each other clearly once again, and to create constructive paths forward.

Who and what is couples therapy for?

There are a multitude of reasons you might access couples therapy, and there is no ‘correct’ time to seek help. 

Reasons you might attend couples therapy include:

Cultural challenges

  • Financial struggles that impact the relationship
  • Disagreement over parenting
  • Addiction within the relationship
  • Parenting disagreements
  • Sexual disalignment 
  • Potential divorce
  • Moving countries
The Big 4

Having worked as a couple’s therapist since 2004, I have come to notice four major components that cause a relationship to dismantle.

The big 4 in a coupledom are usually;
Sex, power, money and culture. 

Sex 

Someone once said “Everything is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” I have seen how sexual questions in the relationship can pull the dynamics totally off track. Infidelity is one dynamic, a leakage of physical, emotional intimacy and trust. A “simple” sexual act can blow up the entire household, bringing the house of cards tumbling down. 

As a relationship grows, so can sexual identity and needs. Perhaps a partner goes from heterosexual orientation, to bravely wanting to step into bisexuality or same-sex interests. 

At other times, partnerships may open the closed doors of a monogamous way of living, and which to safely let other sexual partners and games begin. 

Illness, stress, work and diffuse displeasure with life can bring about sexual frustrations and a lull in imtimacy. Once I heard a woman shout at her partner “I get too little from you, your dick included.” His retorted reponse “I get way too much of your consistent nagging, and have given up on fucking you.” Such tensions require immediate counselling and support, helping the rupture heal and the couple to grow. 

Power

Is one partner considered ‘The Boss’ in your relationship? Is there an obvious power imbalance that is causing resentment? Does power shift from one partner to another after indiscretions, then get earned back over time? Perhaps one of you feels they can’t speak up, or isn’t able to contribute to important household decisions. It’s important that each partner feels valued and important within their relationship, creating a balanced equality. By exploring power dynamics, I can help to create a more fulfilling equilibrium. 

Money

There are several ways that money might affect your relationship. It could be that you are financially struggling, and have debt (or hidden debt) causing challenges. Another issue is that you might fundamentally disagree on how money should be spent, or spend money in a way that your partner doesn’t like or agree with. Money can also cause a power imbalance. If one person earns more than the other, or if one person is staying home to raise children and therefore is dependent on the earner for money, resentments can sneak up on both of you. 

Communicating about money issues and coming to a clearer understanding of each other’s values is a positive step towards a more equal and respectful relationship. 

Culture

Cultural disagreements can be incredibly challenging because our culture is part of our individual identity. Your identity and your lived experiences make you who you are. The same can be said of your partner. But if your backgrounds are different you might find that this influences your current relationship dynamic. You may also have added cultural pressures such as connections and tensions with family overseas, the challenges that come with step-parenting / blended families, or family relocation. These issues are not impossible to overcome, and are most likely to be resolved with the help of couples counseling. 

Will couples counseling save my relationship? 

It can and I am here to do just that.  I have helped many couples come together again after serious betrayals. 

Going a bit deeper to answering this very common question though, is that you get back what you give out. Whatever is happening within your relationship, I can help you to unpack the problems and find a more thoughtful way forward. But, I can only take you as far as you want to go. There needs to be an opening from you to let me in and then, working together, we can go far.

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”

What can be guaranteed, with just a few couples therapy sessions, is that you will both have a more intimate understanding of one another, and a much clearer view on where the relationship is going. 

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.

Categories
Acute Couples Counselling Couples Counselling

Can my relationship recover from an affair?

With an estimated 23% of partners admitting to cheating, is it time for us to positively address infidelity in relationships? 

There is no doubt about it – relationships can be tough.

The thrill and excitement you felt in the early stages of dating might have diminished with time, while life pressures and over-familiarity with your spouse can create tensions or resentments.

Does this sound familiar? 

You or your partner might react to home and relationship stressors by having an affair. And this isn’t as uncommon as you might think. A survey conducted between 2017 and 2018 spanning almost 50,000 Danes, an average of 9,000 respondents admitting to cheating. 

For some, the discovery of infidelity is enough to end the relationship. But for many others, a way forward is possible. 

I offer hope to you and your partner if you wish to repair the rupture in your relationship after the discovery of infidelity.

What is ‘infidelity’?

Definitions matter when describing infidelity. A 2-year affair does not manifest, nor have the same impact, as a one-night-stand does. Did you know that an emotional affair can damage more than a  physical one? 

Universally, an infidelity (in any form) is a fundamental betrayal of the other partner in the relationship.

When discovered, it causes immense pain, guilt, anger, shame, distrust and confusion.  Research has also shown a causative link between infidelity and poor mental health, domestic violence and divorce. 

If you have discovered infidelity in your relationship or you yourself are being unfaithful, you might ask yourself;

  • Why would my partner do this to me?
  • Why have I done this to my partner?
  • How am I ever going to trust him/her again?
  • What is wrong with me that they would feel they need to do this?
  • What does that third person have that I don’t?
  • How do we repair this? 
  • What about our children / apartment / future together? 
  • Can therapy help with this problem?

What’s important to understand is that you do not have to suffer alone. There is a safe and constructive way to explore these questions and find a way forward – couples therapy

Your relationship needs an impartial professional who can help you unpack the relevant aspects of the relationship and identify a) what brought you to this point, b) where you’d like to go from here and c) how you’re going to get there. 

I will help guide the conversation through exploring the rupture, sharing the pain and finally mapping out how to take positive action and bring responsibility and shared care to the relationship, and to the individuals involved. Finally, we may look at the role the “other” person has had in the rupture, and how to bring meaning back into the relationship, this time without betrayal and shame. 

Why do we cheat?

When you discover an affair, your first question is often – why? 

I can see why you might want an instant answer to that question – but infidelity is complicated. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ reason why it occurs. The reasons for unfaithfulness are multifaceted and unique to your relationship. That’s the whole point of couples therapy – together, we look at your particular circumstances and identify what happened within your relationship. 

Research conducted by Barta, W. D., & Kiene, S. M. (2005) identified the following possible motivations for unfaithfulness, some of which you may be able to identify with:

  • A need for variety:  74% of research respondents identified a desire for variety after feeling that the relationship has stagnated. 
  • Neglect: 70%of respondents said that feeling neglected was a partial driver in causing the infidelity. 
  • Low self esteem: 57% of respondents said that cheating on their partner helped boost their self esteem. 
  • Lack of commitment: 41% said low levels of commitment towards their partner caused them to cheat. 
  • Lack of sex: 32% said that lack of sex, sexual issues or sexual disalignment caused them to look elsewhere for sexual fulfilment. 

Furthermore, it’s important to know that certain contributing factors will increase the likelihood of infidelity, such as having an insecure attachment style, having a material or immaterial addiction, perhaps displacing a challenge from work. The hardest reason to spot can be the accumulation of the “blah-di-blahs”; a slow and steady pile-up of small occurrences that cause the intimacy in the relationship, initially strong, to slow down, fragment and break. Think of a river that flows freely and strongly to the ocean, full of well oxygenated water, plants and a varied animal life. Slow, the source of the river silts up, and the flow slows. Further downriver, new bends and curvatures add to the silting process, bringing the once roaring mouth of the river to a mere trickle. The river is slowly suffocated by other intruding natural forces. 

So, where is the water that once flowed freely in the relationship? 

Water always finds the path of least resistance, and “comes out” or “shows up” in the strangest of places.

A spark, such as a caring gesture from a colleague, or a flirt with an old friend at that get-together party can suddenly bring an eruption of water springing forward – the affair is ignited, and with it can come fiery feelings of passion, release, recognition and support in the infidelic partner, plus the thrill / guilt pattern of breaking a taboo. 

In my experience, there are four major influences that can bring a relationship to its knees. These are money, sex, power and culture. Read more about the big 4.

Since 2004 couples have found healing to their relationships and rediscovered their intimate partners by overcoming infidelity with my help. Oftentime, infidelity is a symptom of far deeper relationship issues and this does not need to define your relationship. By bringing these issues to consciousness in a safe and positive way I can help your relationship develop great depths of intimacy. 

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.