3 Skills Taught in Couples Counseling That Can Benefit All Couples
Carlos Durana Ph.D., M.Ac. offers counseling and therapy in Reston, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland.
For many, when they think of couples counseling Reston VA, they think only of couples with critical issues. Often, this assumption is made because we assume that only couples whose relationships are in jeopardy can benefit from attending counseling. The truth is, all couples can benefit and enhance their relationship by learning and utilizing the skills taught in couples counseling. Here are three skills taught in counseling that all couples can benefit from.
Know Your Partner’s World
Every person has an inner world, where they house their private wishes, worries, dreams, and goals. Research has found that when couples know the private thoughts and wishes of their partner, they are far better prepared to cope with stressful events and conflicts that arise in their relationship. One way to discover your partner’s love map is to ask open-ended questions. These questions can include naming your partner’s two closest friends or what makes your partner feel most competent. It is recommended that you review and ask these and similar questions every six months or so, as love maps can change over time.
Know Your Partner’s Love Language
Every person has their own unique love language – the way in which they feel loved. These five love languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. A common mistake that couples make is they assume their partners love language or confuse it with their own love language. When this occurs, they try to meet their needs and show them love in the way they feel loved or in ways that would meet their own needs. When this happens, partners will often feel distressed or disappointed, and often miscommunicate with each other.
To avoid this, learn what your partner’s love language is and discuss yours with them as well. Talk about different ways you want to be loved and how you can speak their love language so they feel loved by you.
Another vital skill that couples can learn includes mastering the art of making repairs. This skill is going to be critical when navigating conflict between partners. The idea of repairing focuses more on getting the situation back on track than it does fixing things. One way to accomplish this is to establish “repair phrases” that tell your partner you are working to repair the situation without triggering a negative response. Examples of “repair phrases” can include:
- I feel defensive. Can you rephrase that?
- Can we take a break?
- Let me start again in a softer way?
- We are getting off track.
- I agree with part of what you are saying.
- I know this isn’t your fault.
Decide on a couple of phrases with your partner in advance so when these situations arise, you can say a phrase that alerts your partner to the fact that you are trying to repair the conflict.
If you think you and your partner can benefit from learning more about these important skills and others from couples counseling Reston VA, call 703-716-0906 or 703-408-4965 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Durana with A Caring Approach today.