Who Needs Communication Skills?
Building a strong foundation with your partner doesn’t require learning a bunch of new skills or communication tools. It means to slow down and first understand where you both are in your relationship and what has been happening between the two of you to bring you to where you are. Slowing down actually allows you to finally move forward in the direction you want – create closeness and a deeper connection to each other.
As the owner of Individual and Relationship Therapy Center, I have the privilege of talking to a lot of people every day who are looking to improve their relationship through couples counseling, individual therapy or marital therapy. One statement I hear repeatedly is: ‘We just need to improve our communication skills’.
Since I have been doing this a while, I easily hear the meaning behind those statements. What I hear is: ‘When we argue, I don’t feel heard’, or ‘When something hard happens, we don’t know how to turn to each other in a way that is supportive and helpful, so instead we end up fighting’, or ‘We have the same fight over and over again and we need help changing that pattern’.
Most couples are surprised when I tell them I believe they already possess the tools they need to communicate in a way that allows them to be heard by their partner and reach them more effectively. They actually don’t need me to teach them anything. What they need instead, is my help to slow things down so they can discover the obstacles that prevent them from using those ‘tools’ when they really need them. I can provide them the guidance they both need - often in different ways - to identify other less helpful, communication ‘strategies’ formed over time as a result of trying to avoid pain or conflict. They need help understanding what the patterns are, why they are there and how to change them into something positive and helpful.
In the end, we all want to know our partner is emotionally supportive, and we question ‘Do I matter to you?’ ‘Can I reach you?’ ‘Will you respond to me when I reach out to you?’
These aren’t practical questions, so practical tools don’t work. These are questions of the heart. Our marriage and family therapists are trained to help you slow down, understand your relationship’s patterns and create new ways of interacting with each other. We help you connect in a way that you are there for each other, you know you matter, you can reach and be reached and respond with love and acceptance.
If you are curious if Couples Counseling is for you, give me a call and let's talk about it. I am happy to answer any questions you have and help you take the first step towards creating the relationship you desire!