Learn to let go of the judging and critical mind and relax into awareness and acceptance of what is. You can cultivate the ability to experience basic trust in yourselves and others.``

Couples Counseling — Are You And Your Partner Struggling To Communicate And Connect?

Are you and your partner engaging in a series of ongoing cycles of conflict, unable to come to any sustainable or meaningful compromise or resolution? Do you often feel lonely, unheard or undervalued in your relationship? Perhaps attempts to express needs or connect meaningfully end up in arguments with you both feeling triggered and angry. Or maybe you’ve given up trying to communicate and connect for fear of a fight and now avoid any heated issue and even each other. Do busy schedules, kids and careers consume the time and energy you once reserved for each other? Has an infidelity, emotional affair or another breech of trust shaken the foundation of your relationship? Or, are you beginning to wonder if you and your partner ever really built a solid framework for your relationship to expand upon? Do you wish you knew how to connect with your partner in meaningful, thoughtful ways and feel confident in your collective ability to weather the ups and downs of navigating a life together?

Feeling disconnected in an intimate relationship can be a lonely, confusing and stressful experience. Relationship problems can consume a lot of mental and emotional energy and affect all areas of your life. You may struggle to stay focused on important tasks or to be present with the other people in your life that you love. And, your self-worth and self-esteem may be impacted as well, especially if you are trying, without success, to connect with your partner and reignite the spark that once drew you together. You might wonder if you really know your partner anymore, if he or she really knows, understands and values you and if healing and reconnection are even possible.

All Couples Bump Up Against Challenges

If you’re struggling to communicate and connect with your partner, you are not alone. Once the honeymoon ends and couples have spent real time together, the darker, more unregulated sides of each person’s personality inevitably come to the surface. The relationship and engagement becomes less fresh and more anticipatory, especially if and when fears or aggression have been expressed. It’s normal and natural for these darker sides to play out in intimate relationships. And, the “shadow side” that our partners often trigger is not bad. Rather, it is the piece of ourselves that needs attention and healing so we can feel whole. In a sense, we hire our partners to help us expose and tend to the darker sides of ourselves. And, when we understand and begin to process our triggers, real healing and growth can occur—both for us as individuals and for our relationship.

We also live in a culture that is busy and demanding. Trying to raise children, excel in a career, co-mingle and manage finances, maintain a healthy sex life and foster a healthy, connected relationship is no easy feat. Most of us end each day feeling depleted, leaving little time to connect emotionally or intimately with our partner. And, we often not only expect too much of ourselves, but also of our partners. After time, even though the desire to connect may still exist, it can be difficult to find our way back.

The good news is that there is help and hope. With the guidance and support of an experienced and compassionate couples therapist, you and your partner can get to the root of your issues, your relationship and yourselves. It is possible to come to compromise, resolution and create a thoughtful and connected path forward.

Couples Therapy Can Provide You With Support, Guidance And Insight

We live in a culture where stress and trauma are prevalent, and few of us leave this life unaffected by pain, anxiety or tension. And, whether we are aware of it or not, most of us carry behaviors learned in childhood, past traumas and unresolved pain into our romantic relationships. We are often attracted to the people who trigger our wounds and allow us to either keep old patterns in place or resolve past issues and heal.

In safe, warm and nonjudgmental relationship counseling sessions, I can help you and your partner identify, explore and address your own unique histories and how past hurts are being triggered and played out in your relationship. Rather than dive right into the uncomfortable issues that exist between you, I’ll spend initial sessions working with one of you while the other bears witness. In this process, not only can you each increase self-awareness, but you can also learn more about each others’ past traumas. As we ask questions, such as where current patterns in you relationship have shown up in other parts of your life, we can begin an open dialogue that can lead to a compassionate understanding of each others’ experience, history and triggers.

In sessions, we will slow things down, which can help you each let go of the stories you’ve created about each other, your relationship and specific issues. When you’re able to let go of stories and get out of your heads, you’re more able to get into your hearts and connect with each other. We can also work together to identify current patterns that are keeping you stuck as individuals and as a couple and create effective resolutions. We’ll explore what initially drew you together and your strengths as a couple. Throughout this process, you’ll each have the space to unmask and express your needs. You can uncover the underlying dynamic and energy that exists between you. By becoming vulnerable with each other and doing individual and couples work as a team, you can not only strengthen your connection, but you can also grow as individuals.

Regardless of what you and your partner are struggling with, you both have the incredible opportunity to transform yourselves through your relationship. And, with the guidance and support of an experienced and compassionate couples counselor and a willingness to explore yourselves and your relationship, remarkable growth, healing and connection is possible. By doing this introspective work, you can not only deepen your relationship, but your love and connection can inspire, strengthen and serve the world around you.

Although you’re looking for help, you still may have questions or concerns about couples therapy…

We tried couples counseling in the past and it didn’t work.

In order for any type of relationship therapy, whether it’s premarital counseling, marriage counseling or LGBT couples counseling, to be effective, it’s important that both you and your partner connect with and trust the therapist that you’re working with. If past therapy attempts were unsuccessful, it may be that the therapist was not a good fit. In sessions with me, all three of us set an intention and we check in regularly to ensure that you both feel that progress is being made. When we’re working together, I see myself as an important part of your relationship and healing. I’m truly invested in and care about your ability to dispel old and ineffective patterns and create a new, empowered and connected path forward.

My partner will not join me in counseling therapy.

In all honesty, couples counseling is most effective when both partners are present and willing. That said, if your partner is unwilling to join you, you and I can work together in individual therapy sessions. Together, we can explore your needs, desires and intentions, as well as how you show up (or don’t) for your partner. As you begin to self-explore and make changes in your life, your partner may take notice and become more open to the idea of joining you for sessions.

What if we discover through relationship counseling that we should separate?

It is possible that you and your partner may decide that you want to part ways. If that is the case, I can help you separate amicably and consciously. But, you may also discover that you really want to make your relationship work. In sessions, you truly can develop effective communication tools, deepen your understanding of and compassion for each other and find new ways of connecting.

You Can Fall In Love All Over Again

You don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. If you are in Boulder, CO or the surrounding ares, please call me at303-489-8432 for a free 30-minute initial phone consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and situation and answer any questions you have about couples counseling and my practice.

I customize a therapeutic approach that best supports and addresses each of my client’s specific history, personality, needs and therapy goals. With this support and guidance, the right approach for you and a willingness to engage with curiosity and a commitment to the therapy process, I can help you develop capacity to enjoy your life rather than endure it.

— Shanly Weber