Couples Psychotherapy

How Can Couples Therapy Help?

All couples struggle at times. Most people embrace the cultural wisdom that marriage is a challenge, and you have to make your relationship a priority in order for it to last. Nonetheless, couples still find themselves stuck in ways they never anticipated when they tied the knot. As a sex therapist, every day I hear people saying “I never thought I’d have an affair,” or “Our sex life was so fabulous, I thought we’d never have problems in the bedroom,” or “I used to love her efficiency and productivity, now she just feels controlling,” or “He used to be so romantic, now he spends more time with his computer in the evenings than with me.” You can probably relate to at least one of these comments. So what do you do about it?

Sometimes couples try and wait it out, hoping the problem will go away with time. But that strategy usually backfires, in that marital issues often intensify if left unaddressed. Plus, particularly with sensitive topics like sex or family, people easily misinterpret their spouse’s behavior. Sometimes women talk with their close friends, which can anger a husband who wants to keep personal issues private. Men may avoid talking to anyone, which leaves them feeling alone and misunderstood. Couples can easily become entrenched in unhealthy or at least unproductive patterns. Even though there are often two very valid sides to every story, the validity of an opposing viewpoint quickly vanishes in the emotional turmoil of the moment.

These cycles are some of the reasons why couples therapy can be helpful. An unbiased mediator can help calm nerves and improve communication about difficult issues. Therapists can help partners construct more realistic expectations of marriage and sex. And perhaps most importantly, a therapist can help people identify personal patters that get in the way of giving and receiving love better. Time and life experience can cause our hearts to close – even without our realizing it. It can be much easier to see how our partner damages intimacy than to see our own bad relationship habits. Couples therapy can offer a safe environment to explore these types of issues. Knowledge is power – the more you understand about yourself and your partner, the better equipped you will be to create and maintain the intimate relationship you seek.


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