One of the most common reasons that people seek therapy is to address difficulties in having satisfying relationships. Many people either have a history of unsuccessful past relationships or are currently in a relationship that isn’t working well. Often, people realize that there is some sort of baggage that is preventing them from having a satisfying relationship but they don’t really understand the problem. Even if they do understand it, they can’t seem to get out of their own way!
This article is going to address some common problems that can get in the way of an individual developing a satisfying relationship.
(It is important to preface this conversation by saying that some relationships should not be successful. If you are in a relationship with someone who is treating you in a physically or emotionally abusive way, the relationship may not be fixable unless the individual who is acting abusively is serious about getting help.)
One of the main functions of an intimate relationship is having a place in your life to express vulnerability. The world is often a cold and competitive place and most people yearn for a relationship where they can take off their armor and be seen for who they really are. Most of us deeply desire a relationship with a partner in which we can be loved in our deepest and realest self. This need to be seen and understood goes all the way back to our earliest attachments with our parents.
When someone discovers they have a pattern of not feeling happy in their relationships, this is often a great reason to explore therapy. Therapy can help you get the root of why this pattern exists in your life. You’re not alone here, lots of people tell me that therapy helps them overcome this challenge and they’re able to create healthier and more satisfying relationships moving forward.
Here are some common reasons why people seek therapy for relationship-related issues.
- Inability to trust that your partner will be faithful to you, usually because of past betrayals.
- The pattern of finding yourself in relationships with controlling people or people who are addicted to something (drugs, work, sex, etc.).
- You take care of other people, but not yourself, or you don’t know how to ask for help.
- You have an addiction and take advantage of your partner.
- You struggle to be assertive and stand your ground in your relationships, “you feel like a doormat.”
- You tend to avoid connecting with your partner, you’re not available for intimacy.
If you struggle with any of these issues, the good news is that you can change.
Even though you may have been dealing with these issues for many years, that does not mean that you will continue to struggle forever. I can tell you from personal experience from addressing my own issues in therapy as well as helping hundreds of other people over the last 10+ years that people can learn to develop more satisfying relationships.
If you experienced a traumatic childhood or trust issues between yourself and your parents, it is likely that you may benefit from the security and consistency of therapy to help you compensate for the lack of secure attachment with your family of origin.
In cases like this, you may want to find a therapist who specializes in treating trauma. There are many effective ways to treat trauma, I specialize in Somatic Psychotherapy.
People often tell me that Somatic Psychotherapy is a “game changer” in their recovery process. Learning to connect with your breathing and emotional body sensations can help you tell your story in a more complete way. Even after going through therapy you may find that your body is still in a state of fight or flight. Your mind may be clear, but your body is still holding on to the trauma.
This kind of therapy can help you let go of the past and step fully into the present. Being more fully healed will allow you to engage in stronger and healthier relationships.
If you are a survivor of childhood trauma and would like to experience a more holistic psychotherapy and you’re in the state of Maryland, please reach out. I’m happy to speak with you about how we can work together to resolve some of these challenges for you.
Some people find that reading self help books or joining a 12-step group are tremendously helpful in their journeys. Other people find that they may also need the safety and stability that a one to one relationship with a trained therapist provides. Especially if you had a t
If you have experienced trauma or childhood attachment wounds,
including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and
Clients often say that although they have addressed past traumas in therapy, the feelings of bodily distress when they get triggered are still overwhelming. You may still suffer from chronic headaches or back pain because your body is used to being in a state of fight or flight. You may still experience intense body based flashbacks and shame feelings even though you have intellectually worked through trauma. These kinds of experiences may make you feel like you are not fully recovered and ready to develop satisfying relationships.