Reconnect & Build Communication Skills: Couples Counseling in Austin, Texas
Providing Support For The Many Stages Of Your Relationship
At Relationships Matter Therapy- Austin, we understand the many changes and stages relationships go through. No matter what you are needing we are here to guide you and your partner with compassion and understanding. Many of the couples we work with can relate to one or more of the following-
- You are at the beginning stage of your relationship and would like to start it off in a positive and secure direction
- You feel like you and your partner are living together like roommates- distant and lonely
- You are interested in gaining more skills in communication & conflict resolution
- You would like support during a life transition (New job, child, city, marriage, loss)
- You or your partner experience anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues
- You are having repeated arguments that are getting more heated
- You find yourself questioning whether you want to end the relationship
The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.
As humans, the relationships we form with other people are vital to our mental and emotional well-being, and really, our survival. They have the power to both heal and injure. Supportive relationships can improve our confidence, create meaning, and improve our overall well-being. When relationships are in conflict it causes us distress and uncertainty. As therapists, we believe human connection has the power to transform all aspects of our lives. When we feel secure, seen, and heard it gives us strength, confidence, and hope to overcome the obstacles in our life.
Compassionate Couples Counseling Tailored to Your Needs
You and your relationship are important! We understand what it’s like to feel distant and alone in a relationship. No matter the cause, we are here to support you and help you get to the root of what you are struggling with in your relationship. We can help you get unstuck from patterns that are repeating over and over- driving you and your partner to become silent, roommates with each other or argue frequently. We tailor our couples counseling services to the issues you are facing and help you reconnect and feel more secure in your relationship. We are licensed counselors that specialize in couples counseling who are invested in you, your relationship, and your well being!
Our approach is to help you and your partner understand and identify the cycle that you get into with each other, help you understand what your needs are and communicate them to your partner, and heal the pain that has been caused by past hurts providing relief and rebuilding your connection and trust in the relationship.
Here are some of the issues we support our couples clients with:
- Premarital counseling
- Life Transitions (New job, child, city, marriage, loss)
- New Relationships
- Support with Communication & Conflict Resolution
- Intimacy/ Sexual Concerns
- Infidelity/ Affairs
- In Recovery from Addiction
- Discernment/ Pre-Divorce counseling
- Divorce & Co-Parenting
- Remarriage/ Blended Families
- Intensive Couples Counseling
Using Research-based and Proven Approaches in Couples Counseling
Our primary approaches to couples therapy include Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), and Gottman Method Couples Therapy. We also draw from other modalities including Internal Family Systems, Relational Life Therapy (RLT), Imago Relationship Therapy, and Narrative Therapy.
All of these approaches to couples therapy combine the following three areas of cutting-edge research:
- The first is neuroscience, the study of the human brain. Understanding how the brain works provides a physiological basis for understanding how people act and react within relationships. In a nutshell, some areas of your brain are wired to reduce threat and danger and seek security, while others are geared to establish mutuality and loving connection.
- The second is attachment theory, which explains the biological need to bond with others. Experiences in early relationships create a blueprint that informs the sense of safety and security you bring to adult relationships. Insecurities that have been carried through life can wreak havoc for a couple if these issues are not resolved. Attachment between people typically provides a safe haven: a retreat from the world and a way to obtain comfort, security and a buffer against stress. Attachment also offers a secure base, allowing you to feel safe while you explore the world and learn new information. Its formation begins in childhood with a primary caretaker, such as a parent. Those early, established patterns carry through to adulthood. An “unavailable caretaker” creates distress in a baby akin to an “unavailable partner” creating distress in an adult. Attachment theory provides the emotionally-focused therapist with a “road map” to the drama of distress, emotions, and needs between partners.
- The third area is the biology of human arousal—meaning the moment-to-moment ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage.
Benefits of Couples Counseling with Us
In our work together, you will learn and experience how to-
- Affirm strengths in your relationship
- Address negative interaction patterns
- Understand more clearly each other’s emotions
- Recognize underlying reasons for your conflicts
- Learn how to repair and forgive
- Enhance your emotional and physical closeness
- Improve your communication
- Be more accessible, responsive and emotionally engaged with each other (A.R.E.)
We are here to provide a nonjudgmental space where both you and your partner can feel safe talking about what has been going on in your relationship. The process is collaborative- you and your partner help your therapist understand what you are struggling with and what you would like instead. We look at the negative patterns that have developed between you all as the issue or “problem”. Your therapist is not here to take sides, but to have a fuller picture of what is happening for each of you internally. We believe each partner’s experience makes sense when we take the time to understand it. We help you understand why certain patterns or cycles have developed in your relationship based on your attachment patterns and life experiences. We get to know the cycle at a deeper level.
Most couples have arguments on a more superficial level. For example, say you have been arguing about who does the dishes. Many times the person who is tired of “always” having to do the dishes with complain to their partner about it in order to get their partner to do the dishes. Oftentimes, this causes their partner’s defenses to come up and resist what they are hearing. They may even say “You don’t always do the dishes. I help too when I can.” or “I try to help, but you always complain I don’t do it the right way”. In this they are arguing about the dishes themselves.
Usually, there is also a deeper or core level to the issue. In this case, it might be that the person is exhausted and needs a break. They feel like they are not important to their partner because they can’t see how tired they are and that they just need a little help. They feel alone in the relationship and like their needs don’t matter. These are the core needs that usually never get discussed.
When you work with us, we get to these issues so they can be understood and healed. Once, we fully understand what is going on and why then we can shift things in our relationship and make a change towards a more secure relationship. We want to help you make a change that lasts and give you tools so you can do this with your partner outside of the counseling room!
What is a Secure Relationship?
In a secure relationship, couples learn to express deep, underlying emotions from a place of vulnerability and ask for their needs to be met. Partners begin to view undesirable behaviors (i.e., shutting down or angry escalations) as “protests of disconnection.” Couples learn to be emotionally available, empathetic and engaged with each other, strengthening the attachment bond and safe haven between them.
With some work from you and your partner and support from one of our licensed counselors, you can have the relationship you need and want!
Let us help you create a secure relationship with your partner.
Couples Counseling- Frequently Asked Questions
Couples counseling: Is it really effective?
Statistics have shown that it is. And the majority of positive feedback we get from our clients prove it is. Because it is a relationship and character building exercise, many people report becoming better listeners and lovers. During therapy you’ll learn new skills that will help you communicate, resolve conflict, and better accommodate one another with the guidance of a professional therapist.
I don’t think anything can be done to save our relationship. How will couples counseling help us?
First of all, one of the most important principles of couples therapy is creating an atmosphere of trust and neutrality where you and your partner can bare it all. This is a necessary part in resolving any sort of conflict. It is at this point your therapist will provide a tailor-made framework that is aimed at counteracting the problems. Couples therapy requires that both partners be active in the process. That said, in some cases partners may have their minds made up that the relationship is over and divorce becomes inevitable. We can also help you get through that process without drama which is very important to you and all those involved- especially your loved ones.
Couples counseling will help you address a wide range of issues
Whether it is poor communication, a non-existent sex life, financial disagreement, problems due to other family members, issues with parenting, or boundary issues, our Couples therapy will help you learn how to live a respectful and loving way.
We’ll help you learn how to deal with these pressures without sacrificing your relationship. During sessions, we’ll help you understand that we are humans and inherently have flaws and the tendency to hurt each other can’t be avoided at times. And for this reason we help couples acknowledge hurtful behaviors, help them express remorse, and teach them how to effectively communicate their apologies.
Do you work with LGBTQ+ couples?
Yes, we do! While we understand that most same sex couples can also have similar challenges in the typical areas of communication, sex, money, in-laws, parenting, use of free time, and tidiness/chores, you may also need support in navigating the following issues as well-
- Lack of family support for the couple
- Lack of cultural and social support for the couple
- Difficulties of coming out as a couple
- Additional pressure about determining whether children fit into the relationship
What if my partner refuses to buy into the idea of couples counseling?
It is true that counseling is more effective when both parties involved attend sessions. However if your partner refuses to come along with you, don’t give up. We can work with you alone and help you identify and modify behaviors that may be unhelpful to the relationship from your end. Most often, we observe that after your partner observes these positive changes, they become interested.
Over the years we’ve discovered that failure in communication is one of the major reasons relationships fail. With better communication, chance is it is possible to mend bridges, but without it, the relationship is more likely to end in a downward spiral.
Our couples’ sessions provide the all needed avenue to communicate. It is at this point couples can air their deep rooted problems and concerns. It will help you put things into better perspective and with the help of an unbiased non-judgmental third party, it becomes easy to discover that issues that have been overwhelming and discouraging are manageable with more relationship tools.
We don’t have time. How long does couples therapy last?
Our sessions are designed to address specific issues. With a few sessions it is possible to identify the problems and the strategies you have developed to address it. Depending on the individuals involved, the issues identified, couples counseling is not a lengthy or lifelong process. However it is not uncommon for couples to want to continue sessions in order to reinforce the new skills they have acquired.
Affordable couples counseling in Austin, Texas
We offer a very flexible and affordably priced couples counseling service in Austin, Texas. At the end of the day, you’ll discover it is value worth paying for because it will save you the stress, time, and resources involved in dealing with a difficult relationship.
“Couples who make relationships work well adopt the motto “If you’re hurting baby, the world stops and I listen. I’m with you”. -Gottman Institute