Individual Therapy for Relationship Issues
In the last blog post, I wrote about the different types of relationships that can benefit from Relationship or Couples Therapy. Today, I am focusing on the individual in Relationship Therapy and what that might entail.
Harville Hendrix, founder of Imago Relationship Therapy has said, “Conflict is your relationship trying to grow.” I have said this to couples who are distressed by the level of conflict in their relationship and are afraid it means the relationship is unhealthy or doomed. It is a hopeful statement, which is part of why good therapy gives us hope for a new way of doing things or solving our problems.
Individual Counseling for Meaningful Relationships
What if you are not in a romantic relationship and want to be in one? What if your romantic partner is not interested in seeing a couples therapist? Or what if you are feeling unsatisfied or having negative interactions in various social areas?
This is a time when, as an individual, you can benefit greatly from individual therapy sessions to achieve the emotional connection you feel is missing in your life. The good news is that a lot can be done to grow your relationships and develop meaningful connections.
Individual relationship counseling focuses on one’s functioning in relationships. Your relationship dynamics may suffer because you’re having conflicts with other people or you’re struggling with an interior conflict that contributes to your relationship difficulties. Either way, conflict is a sign growth wants to happen.
It is empowering to look at ourselves, identify our habitual patterns in relationships, and explore our blind spots and how we might make different choices. Showing up differently will not control another’s behavior but it will change the relationship dynamics.
There is hope for change but the focus here needs to be on the self in a relationship. A very common mistake we can make in our relationships is to analyze and focus on the other person when our power is actually in looking at and knowing ourselves first.
What You Can Expect from Individual Relationship Therapy
As an individual relationship counselor, I will look at your history of relationships and their patterns. Often we find ourselves repeating familiar (sometimes painful) scenarios and end up wondering how it keeps happening.
We might look at your attachment style and your ineffective relationship patterns of pursuing or avoiding intimacy. We might look at whether you are unconsciously attracted to certain types of people who bring up old wounds that are a painful reminder of past hurts. We’ll also talk about potential trust issues and other relationship concerns you’re struggling with.
Our therapy sessions will be a safe space for you to explore your communication style and work on changes including boundaries and limits you should consider setting or unacceptable behavior you will no longer tolerate.
When you work with an individual therapist, you’ll learn to improve your communication skills and identify and communicate your emotions and needs in relationships. More importantly, you’ll learn to discern what needs you might meet yourself that you are expecting others to meet, as well as many other possible insights.
Individual Counseling for Relationship Issues – Simple Steps for Happy Relationships
As a licensed therapist specializing in individual and couples counseling, I can offer access to powerful tools and healthy coping strategies to help you overcome relationship challenges and build authentic connections.
Our individual sessions will become a therapeutic space where you’ll receive the tools to conduct an accurate self-appraisal that comes from a place of self-respect and honoring one’s self with honesty. We will also focus on you taking responsibility for your part in the relationships in your life.
Ultimately, I believe we must have a healthy relationship with ourselves to relate in a healthy way with others. We must avoid self-loathing and learn how to counter overly harsh perceptions of ourselves and we also need to avoid seeing ourselves as helpless victims without choices or agency.
There is a middle ground we can find with ourselves that includes honesty and self-compassion. When we are trying to improve our relationships or even just trying to improve our physical activity or any other goal, we need to learn to use gentle self-discipline to hold ourselves accountable.
Progress takes time, so be patient with yourself! Ask yourself if you are ready to work on yourself and if you are willing to take proactive steps for healthier relationships. If so, this can be a powerful way to increase your quality of life and sense of self-worth.
Here are some books I have recommended to clients looking to learn how to focus on the self in a Relationship:
“Keeping the Love You Find-A Guide For Singles” by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD
“Love Sense-The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships” by Dr. Sue Johnson
“The Relationship Cure”-A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John M. Gottman, PhD
Reach out to me at [email protected] or one of our other great therapists if you are interested in feeling empowered in your relationships.
Offering Services in Athens, East Cobb/Marietta, Smyrna/Vinings, & via telehealth throughout Georgia
[email protected] Please include the name of the staff person and location preference if applicable
Post Update: The article was updated on November 15th, 2023, originally published on August 12th, 2022. It has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.