An important part of being a therapist is constantly learning and fine tuning your craft. As part of my own professional development, I recently attended a workshop on couples therapy at The Ackerman Institute.
In this blog, I wanted to share some of the information that I learned at this workshop and provide readers with more insight into the inner workings of relationships.
Consider what makes yourself a difficult person to live with or be around. When most couples are having challenges, they are likely to point the finger at the other person and not think of what role they are playing in the issues. Asking yourself this question will enable each person to view the situation and gain further insight in what they can do to resolve the problems.
Underneath blaming is often longing. When one person blames another it is often because they are not getting something out of the relationship that they want or need. When you find yourself blaming your partner for something, try to unpack that emotion and consider the more vulnerable feelings that it is masking. The ultimate goal of couples therapy is to help each person get more of what they are longing for, instead of putting out the latest fire.
People fall in love with people who make them feel good about themselves. If you are having an issue in a relationship, perhaps it is because you have stopped feeling good about yourself. Look back to the beginning of the relationship and think of how things were different. Think of if you made any changes in your life that would alter the way you feel about yourself and therefore make the relationship suffer.
You have to give the other person what feels like love to them not what feels like love to you. People show love in all different ways. Some people buy the people they love expensive gifts; meanwhile, others prefer to express love through acts of kindness. It is important to identify what makes your partner feel loved and show love in a way that resonates with them.
It is easier to start doing something positive than stop doing something negative. For example, it is easier to set a goal to start giving your partner compliments than stop arguing. When you make goals ensure that they are about creating constructive patterns rather than just abandoning destructive ones.
Whenever you are having issues in a relationship, it is important to tap into positive memories and consider why you fell in love with the person in the first place. What positive characteristics did they bring forth to the table? How can you help cultivate those characteristics?