We do couples counseling with Atlanta with couples in all stages and phases of life. Some are newly wed, some haven’t married yet, some have been married 30 years, some have been married 10. We love getting to hear your stories, support you, challenge you….
And in this work, we’ve learned a few things along the way. The learning comes several different ways. Training is one way we learn, and experience is another.
And boy have we learned some things through our experiences!
Since I’m feeling inspired to share some Atlanta couples counseling knowledge with you today, I’ve compiled a quick list of things that I often teach in my couples counseling sessions. It is not comprehensive, and I’m not sugar coating it very well. I’m just simply sharing some of the good stuff that our couples learn. Maybe it’ll help, or maybe it’ll inspire you to take a quick shift in your approach with your partner.
1. Communication needs your effort – Many couples struggle in this area. They struggle with sharing feelings in a genuine and respectful way. They struggle with even putting feelings out there. Instead, they revert to how feelings were dealt with in their family systems growing up. Some yell, some shut down, some become contemptuous, some become defensive. And let me tell you, there are easy tricks that you can use to improve your communication rather than spinning your wheels in these ineffective dances. Tricks like sandwiching (affirmation, complaint, affirmation), using ‘and’ instead of ‘but’, using I feel statements as a gentle startup….So, learn the tips! Implement them! It’s so effective!
2. Finding ways to connect is important – We get so caught up in the things we need to do in life. We take cre of the kids, we run the errands, we work, we play…and often connecting with one’s partner gets left by the wayside. In our Atlanta couples counseling office, we teach people to turn towards eachother. We teach them to plan connection. To find out what makes the other feel connected and alive in the relationship, and to purposefully pursue this. This takes work. It sometimes takes sacrifice and willingness, and succesful couoples are connected.
3. The unhealthy dances we do are NOT WORKING! – If we slow down long enough and really tune in, most of us can recognize the dances in our relationsips that don’t work. He says something, she gets upset, she yells, he shuts down…and round and round they go. In our Atlanta couples counseling sessions, we encourage you to work to be willing to recognize the dance, and then choose to step out of it. I think one of the biggest challenges in this effort is to release pride and be willing to try something different. We benefit from consciously thinking, ‘what is my goal in this conversation?’ and ‘how do I effetively turn towards my partner and reach my goal?’. (Hopefully your goal sounds something like ‘Get closer to my partner, have good communication, and improve my marriage.)
Okay so there’s just a few of my observations from my Atlanta marriage counseling and couples counseling experience. I’m sure we’ll post more so feel free to check back in this section. Or, if you feel real inspired, you could even consider scheduling a couples counseling session.