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Man and woman standing by the sea holding hands at sunset

Benefits of Couples Counseling 101 and What to Expect

Couples counseling is remarkably beneficial to a relationship not only as a last ditch effort to save the relationship but also as a way to prevent a potential complete dissolution. By having couples counseling at the first sign of any damaging patterns can help prevent things from progressing to the point of no return.

Many couples are afraid to go to counseling because they are unsure of what happens or they may feel uncomfortable having a third party involved in their intimate lives. However, the knowledge gained in couples counseling brings wisdom and insight, thus resulting in a more stable and loving relationship in the end!

Benefits of Couples Counseling

  1. Helps Couples Understand Their Feelings. Having a third set of eyes and ears can help couples get in contact with their personal feelings regarding their partner and the relationship itself.
  2. Helps Dissolve Roadblocks. Every couple has disagreements and having a safe and controlled environment to air grievances can help prevent things from escalating and spiraling out of control.
  3. Helps to Deepen Intimacy and Communication. At the beginning stages of a relationship things are new and fun making it exciting for both partners but as time progresses things get into a routine, and the spark they initially felt goes away. By making a set “date” to attend couples counseling will benefit both partners as attention will now be given to the “relationship” itself.
  4. Helps Promote Self Awareness and Personal Growth. Even though your relationship is the main focus during your counseling session, how you interact with your partner may correlate with how you interact with your friends, coworkers, your family, and even yourself. You may find individual counseling sessions equally helpful in this process.
  5. Learn How to Resolve Conflicts in a Healthy Way – In couples counseling, you will learn how to effectively listen to your spouse as well as learn how to communicate better with each other.
  6. Learn How to Process and Work Through Unresolved Issues. Having a safe environment allows the freedom of expressing any unhappy thoughts felt as well as finding out if your spouse or partner is even willing to do the work necessary to make your relationship stronger.
  7. Learn More About Yourself and Your Spouse or Partner. Couples counseling benefits both parties together and as individuals to find out who each of you is deep down and if you should be together or not.

What to Expect from Couples Counseling

Couples counseling helps couples recognize and resolve conflicts within their relationship. The counseling sessions are provided by licensed therapists who have graduate or postgraduate degrees and typically includes both partners, but sometimes one partner will choose to work individually with the therapist.

The only preparation required is to find a therapist that makes you feel at ease, and during your session, you can expect a few benefits of couples counseling to include:

  • Problem Solving Skills
  • How to Communicate Openly
  • How to Discuss Differences Rationally

A few things to keep in mind when choosing a therapist include:

  • You might have homework. There may be exercises your therapist gives to help improve communication at home and in your daily life together, using a combination of neuro-linguistic programming techniques learned in your sessions and other tools to help shift your habits and behaviors.
  • It may be difficult to discuss specific problems openly. Some issues can be more challenging than others to talk about so there may be times when there is complete silence. There may also be times when there is yelling but consider the therapist as your personal “referee” who is there to help you and your partner deal with any emotions that surface during your session.
  • You can attend therapy alone. It is more beneficial to have both parties attend couples counseling as the name implies but you can benefit from an individual session by learning more about your reactions and behaviors.
  • Couples counseling is often short-term. Some couples need more time than others, but for the most part, counseling for couples tends to be short-term in duration.

Signs it Might be Time for Couples Counseling

  • You keep having the same fight
  • You’re unhappy with your sex life
  • A significant life change has occurred
  • Your partner wants to go to couples counseling
  • You want to better your relationship

Relationships have ups and downs, and sometimes taking that first step and admitting you and your partner need counseling is the hardest thing to do, but thankfully there is a safety net you can feel secure in at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy.

Our principal practitioner is Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. who founded Miami Hypnosis & Therapy after attending graduate school at Columbia University, NY and worked in the mental health field in both New York City as well as Miami. Anna’s philosophy is to empower people to change and improve their lives.

The benefits of couples counseling start with you, so get started on transforming your relationship and book your appointment today!

Serious couple lying down considering relationship counseling

Unhappy Relationship Signs: 5 Reasons Why Relationships Break Down

Relationships can break down over time, but there is hope! Knowing what signs to look for allows you to be prepared and rectify situations before the complete dissolution occurs.

  1. Communication Breakdown. When communication starts breaking down, and what you say (or don’t say) to your partner is being misinterpreted, this is one of the red flags that there are deeper issues in the relationship. Two examples of this kind of communication disconnection include:

    • Misinterpreting Messages – Without a clear understanding of what is being said, misinterpreting can occur which will ultimately lead to arguments.

    • Refusing to Listen or Assuming – This usually happens when the person listening does not like what they are hearing and decides to tune their partner out or make assumptions as to what is being said.

    A breakdown of communication is a critical sign of an unhappy relationship and can be indicative of unresolved issues and suppressed emotions from childhood that manifest themselves through actions and behaviors toward their spouse or partner.

  2. Breakdown of Intimacy. Intimacy is not just physical, it is also emotional, and when one or both partners feel a lack of either, this can potentially cause conflict sooner than later.

    • Physical Intimacy – The physical aspect of intimacy is the driving force in a relationship and does not necessarily require emotional intimacy, but without it, it can feel like a betrayal.

    • Emotional Intimacy – The emotional component grows and deepens between two people in a relationship, and a healthy love relationship cannot exist without emotional intimacy.

    A healthy relationship requires both physical and emotional intimacy, which both contribute to creating a harmonious, balanced connection. Not having a balanced connection in this way is a big factor in contributing to the breakdown of a relationship or marriage.

  3. Breakdown of Trust. Another critical sign of an unhappy relationship is when a relationship loses the foundation on which all relationships are built: trust. It is because of trust in our relationships that we feel safe in them, comforted, and bonded. A breakdown of trust can occur due to many factors including:

    • Infidelity
      1. Physical/Sexual
      2. Emotional
    • Jealousy
    • Lack of Reliability or Dependability
    • Lack of Mutually Supportive Goals
    • Lack of Financial Compatibility

    Trust issues need to be addressed; if not, they will manifest and keep resurfacing causing the relationship or marriage to be at risk.

  4. Breakdown of Finances. When money issues develop it can trigger some of our deepest psychological needs and fears including:

    • Security
    • Power
    • Control
    • Survival
    • Trust

    The longer a couple has been in a relationship, the higher the chances are of having financial issues arise which is yet another pivotal sign of an unhappy relationship.

  5. Breakdown Due to Growing Apart. Relationships go through ups and downs with time and growing apart can happen due to many reasons such as:

    • Change in Life Obligations: Work, school, having children, empty nest syndrome
    • Lack of Commitment
    • Lack of Compatibility
    • Different Expectations: Expectations are resentments in disguise, after all!

Early Warning Signs

  • Not having sex as often or it isn’t what it used to be
  • Not participating in activities together as much as before
  • Having recurring arguments over the same issues without any resolution
  • One partner spends more time on activities or interests that are outside the relationship.
  • One or both feel dissatisfied and unhappy

When a relationship grows apart, solidifying it back together can be a challenge, especially if it has been brewing for a while. Thankfully, there is hope for this and all the other signs of an unhappy relationship at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy where relationship difficulties can be resolved in a safe and supportive environment. We can also help you and your partner identify potential issues individually that may be contributing to upsets in your shared, daily life.

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal practitioner who completed her undergraduate degree at NYU as well as holding dual Masters degrees from Columbia University. Anna is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist who also did Post-graduate work at the International Institute for Interpersonal Hypnotherapy.

Knowing when to consider relationship counseling starts with the desire to take that first step in rekindling your relationship by deepening emotional bonds, addressing recurring negative patterns of behavior, and revitalizing the passion you once had. Take the first step today, together, and make an appointment for that positive relationship transformation you seek.

Man and woman on swing above the sea kissing

How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Mindful Co-Living

Cohabitating can be a delightful arrangement but if we are not mindful we can end up creating a not so compatible situation. Arguments can arise due to daily stressors that we bring home with us, but there are ways to work around them.

Mindfulness starts with being present in this moment, not thinking about the past or worrying about the future and paying attention without judgment. Being mindful has health benefits and can help make us healthier, happier and less stressed which will bring a calmer atmosphere to your living situation.

How to Strengthen Your Relationship at Home Mindfully

  1. Communicate Mindfully. When sharing thoughts the communication process should be mindful which means the communication should show sensitivity as well as being open to multiple points of view and be more open-minded to new viewpoints on various issues.

  2. Listen Mindfully. When our partners feel as though we are not paying attention to what they are saying, it can create resentments that lead to arguments. Mindful listening is a key skill to learn when considering how to live together. If you find your mind wandering which can happen quickly, here are a few tips to get back on the listening track, see if you can notice your wandering thoughts and try to refocus on the words your partner is saying.

  3. Take a Breath. We need to take care of ourselves before confronting issues with our partner. In this way, how you strengthen your relationship can start as simply as watching how your breath shortens right before a potential argument.

    Everyone argues at some point in time, and instead of escalating the argument, sometimes if you stop and take a breath you can help calm down and clear your mind. Take a deep breath in through your nose and hold the breath for five seconds. Slowly release the breath out of your mouth. Consider other tools on mitigating anxiety, as well.

  4. Seek Couples Counseling. One of the best places to spend quality time together to help strengthen your relationship is couples counseling where both partners learn bonding techniques to help with better communication, learn how to resolve conflicts and challenges productively as well as resolving unwanted patterns of behavior.
  5. Change Negative Habits and Patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy and neuro-linguistic programming can help both partners work through what the mind may be blocking so that both partners can have the clear pathway needed to start feeling better together.

When people ask how to strengthen their relationship, creating a space where both people can thrive in should include being able to be productive, creative and relax with your partner in that space. Many relationship building activities utilize mindfulness which can help strengthen and unite one another, and the following is just one example.

  • Five Senses Exercise. Take your partner on a walk and explore nature together. While you are walking together, you will both utilize your five senses along the way.

    • See – Pick five things you see and challenge yourselves by picking out objects you wouldn’t usually pick such as a shadow or even a rock.

    • Feel – Pick four things you can touch and feel. Explore the texture and rigidity of the object.

    • Hear – Pick three things you can hear which could include birds chirping and leaves rustling.

    • Smell – Pick two things you can smell. Aromas of fresh cut grass or food cooking would be examples.

    • Taste – Pick one thing you can taste. Depending on where you are walking, it could include the air itself or a sip of water.

This exercise will bring you to a mindful state together and will also utilize communication and listening to help you further understand how to strengthen your relationship.

Learning how to live together can be a relationship strengthening process in and of itself, and at Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, Anna Marchenko (LMHC, M.A., Ed.M.) works with you to create tailor-made sessions to address all of your concerns.

In addition to Anna’s exceptional knowledge, her hypnosis certification is from the only program in Florida certified by the Department of Education, so take that first step and learn how to strengthen your relationship at home and discover transformation today!

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