You two have been stuck for a while. You and your partner are having the same arguments, the same frustrations, the same headaches. It seems like your choice is between a screaming match or hours of silence.  Finally, you gain the courage to chat with your partner about the potential for couples therapy. You have friends who did it and it was immensely helpful for them. Yet, somehow, this has also ended in a screaming match.  We hear you, and we know you don’t want to live like this anymore. Check out the below main questions we get from clients/prospective clients to help your partner understand where you’re coming from a little better.  How do I get my partner to hear me when I say I want to go to couples therapy? Start by being crystal clear on what you believe will be helpful about couples therapy. Make a list of what could change if you were going to couples therapy: How would you communicate differently? What would feel different during your day to day? Let your partner know how invested you are, and that you are confident you both can feel better in your relationship. This is a great start to a team focused approach that your couples therapist will definitely highlight!  Another idea for broaching the topic of couples therapy is to think about how to position it so your partner does not feel attacked. While it is super frustrating for your partner to not listen when you say you want to go to therapy, pointing this out will probably not motivate them enough to get them in the counseling room.  It is really common to use “you” when people are frustrated. Saying something like “you need therapy” is a really effective way to get your partner on the defense mode. Try focusing on your needs instead. “Hey babe, it would mean a lot to me if we could go to couples therapy to work on our relationship together” might not feel as powerful in the moment, but it is much more likely to elicit the response you want than the “You...” approach.   What do I do if my partner doesn't want to go to couples therapy?Trust us when we say that both parties are rarely thrilled about being in couples therapy. But listen. Remember that you cannot force your partner to be in couples therapy. All you can do is grow in the ways you can, and hope your partner evolves with you.  While it is true you cannot make them go, you can reiterate why it is important to you, and how your life could look different. Use a softened startup to help your partner know what you appreciate about them, and what you feel you both can work on to make your lives better.  Another great way to get your feet wet is to take a class or go to a couples workshop! Stay curious about what exactly your partner is hesitant about in attending couples therapy. If they are uncomfortable airing dirty laundry, or talking to a stranger, a couples class/workshop could be an excellent way for you two to just learn about what tools couples therapy can offer you. Check out these other suggestions on what to do if your partner does not want to go to couples therapy.   What does the first session look like? The first session is really just designated as a “getting to know you” appointment. The therapist wants to learn about you two and what your relationship trajectory has looked like. With this, it is equally as important that you get to know your therapist, how they work, and how they view couples therapy.  Keep in mind that your therapist does not want to solve anything in your first session. Your therapist wants to understand where you two got stuck, and what goals you have for yourselves as a couple and individually. The therapist will need this information for guidance on how to maneuver thoughtful treatment. To get a better understanding of what exactly those first few sessions look like, check out our post. A huge part of any therapeutic process is trust-- in each other, and in your therapist. All parties must work together to assume the best intention from each other. Building trust in your therapist is a crucial part of taking the work seriously, and achieving the goals you are driven towards. So ask questions, and figure out if your therapist is someone you can be comfortable with!   What happens if I disagree with my couples therapist? Amazing! If you’re disagreeing with us, that means you’re thinking critically and thoughtfully about couples therapy. The therapist will absolutely say things you disagree with, there is no avoiding this. Your therapist knows about theory, but knows nothing about your relationship until you tell them.  Your disagreements are how your couples therapist learns about you. Please let them know when you disagree! Sometimes they may give you push back, and sometimes they may shift. But without the information, they cannot do their job effectively. Check out this post on how to give your therapist feedback. Don’t worry about hurting your therapist’s feelings. They are trained to make it NOT be about them. They want your treatment to be the best it can possibly be-- that is why they went into this field in the first place. Their job is to help you, and in order to best do this, they need all the information possible!  *One caveat. Remember- you cannot change their mind, and you cannot force them to attend couples therapy. All you can do is provide your partner with the information they need in order to make an informed decision. Patience, patience, (communication) and patience.  ​

For years we have dedicated ourselves to our clients and our community under the name Mollie Eliasof LCSW Therapy. Our hearts have always been in helping people believe in and build the relationships that mean the most to them and, through this, feeling more connected with their authentic selves and relationships. Through trial and error, commitment, and successes, we have discovered that the feeling of connection is the difference between effective therapy and therapy that just misses the mark. Connection is the word that comes up when our clients explain why they’re feeling lonely and unfulfilled at work or in their relationships. Building connection is the crucial point in which we feel fully relational and fully human. For this reason, we are launching our deeply intentional name, Syndesi Relationship Counseling. Syndesi, meaning “connection” in Greek, is our founder and CEO’s acknowledgement of her Greek heritage through the word that has the most meaning for our practice. It is a name we feel honored to have, and beyond excited to share! We assure you that our values have not changed. We remain committed to deepening our relationships and service to our clients and community through individual therapy, couples therapy, and online content. We really want you to feel confident in our ability to help you. So, with the launch of our rebrand, we’ve also put out a course on Bringing Fights Down to Zero within your relationship. And, to best help you understand what this course will look like, we are providing a free video from the course. Our hope is that this resource leaves you and the people you love feeling full with tools to increase connection and authenticity. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if you want to know more about our rebranding and how it will impact your therapy and/or content. You can contact us at info@syndesicounseling.com, or follow us on our Instagram handle, @nyccouplestherapyWith love,Syndesi Relationship Counseling​

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3 ways to ease the tension in your home​

Maybe things in your home have been a bit… tense recently. The kids are less busy without school, you and your partner have been spending a ton of increased time together, and you’ve described to your friends that you’re getting on each other’s “last nerve.”

 

Every relationship experiences some conflict and tension, so if this is happening to you, please don’t panic. Dealing with conflict in a relationship is not easy- this is the hard work everyone is referring to when they say relationships are not easy. The goal here is to reduce the air of stress in your home instead of letting it escalate, or even avoiding conflict all together. 

Below are a few tips to get you started on the path to a more comfortable home! 

 

 

1. Learn when you are ruminating

 

Let’s think of a common moment that happens in homes that sometimes feel tense. Your partner does something to frustrate you. This is something you feel more or less okay with, but then you go take a shower and find yourself stewing about something they said last week. All of a sudden you’re furious, and you’re either giving your partner the cold shoulder or yelling at them for the small thing they did to frustrate you right before your shower. What happened here? 

 

That stewing you were doing in the shower is called rumination, and can make each small thing that happens feel huge. Rumination is another word for when your “thoughts are spiraling.” It causes the hormones that make you angry to continue to pump through your body long after the event is over. Further, when you don’t recognize this is happening, your brain will fill in the blanks and assign the anger you’re feeling to something possibly benign.

 

Stepping out of the rumination cycle can be really tricky. Try addressing the below steps to redirect and focus on bringing your body back to a calm level. 

 

 

2. Learn to self soothe

 

By now, you probably have noticed that this is a suggestion for the majority of our blog posts. The reason for this is twofold- first, self soothing allows you to calm your body, which sends signals to the mind that everything is okay. Second, self soothing will allow you to not only express your own needs better, but will also allow you the head space to be able to listen to your partner’s.

 

As mentioned, when the home feels tense, ruminating is likely occurring. As tension rises through both conflict and rumination, the brain starts assigning huge feelings to otherwise small frustrations. This makes it difficult to understand your own emotions and where they are coming from, which in turn makes it impossible for your partner to understand what is going on for you. 

 

To bring yourself back down from the angry bubble, try replacing rumination with self soothing. Self soothing is applicable across the board- this means using it in the moments you feel angry and frustrated, but also in the moments you feel sad and tired, as well as in the moments of calm and serenity. 

 

There are a ton ways to bring your body back down from anger, so it is hugely important to find what outlet works for you. Yes, there is always deep breathing and meditation. But there are also other ways such as watching your favorite show, gardening, or listening to music. Find an arsenal of ways to calm your body! 

 

 

3. Validate your emotions

 

Try not to forget about this one! It is often overlooked, but critical to being able to calm down. Remember you are feeling the way you are feeling for a reason. Whether this reason is something that is happening in the present moment, or because you’ve felt consistently frustrated for a while, there is absolutely a reason. 

 

Validating your own emotions will also make it easier to understand them and where they’re coming from. Acknowledging that they are real can leave room to explore them deeper. Once you have a better idea of what is going on for you, your partner can, too. Check out this post to see why validating your partner is equally as important! 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Tension stinks, and a huge reason for this is because typically tension comes from a lot of piled up things rather than just one identified issue. This can make it feel impossible to sort through what is going on and address the issue. Sit with what is going on for you so your brain does not draw its own conclusions. This will only lead to attempts at problem solving that won’t work! Remember to take baby steps, and to address one thing at a time. 

 

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