Relationship Counseling

Have you noticed a pattern of frequent arguments with your significant other? Are these episodes predictable? Is there a core reason or theme? What have you tried to do about it? Did it work? Are things escalating in your relationship? If they are, that’s a sign that relationship counseling should be seriously considered.

Couples Counseling
Relationship Counseling

Through communication skills training, understanding the importance of slow-start up, being open to what your partner has to say, give each other the necessary time to get their point across and active listening you can minimize the friction in the relationship. At the very least, understand why certain themes trigger responses you do not understand, be it overreaction, anger, rage, tearfulness, and/or anxiety. Couples therapy is about gaining insight into how well you know your partner and by understanding, you can phrase issues in a less triggering way. It’s about being sensitive to each other’s needs, comforting. 

Conflict De-escalation Tips

De-escalation is sometimes required when an argument gets too heated. Research shows that a person needs at least 20 minutes of alone time to listen to music, go for a walk, watch a bit of television, meditate, whatever you find useful to bring your physiological arousal to a normal range. Once this has been accomplished, you can go back and speak to your partner to check-in and see if they are ready to continue discussing the issue that caused the escalation. It is imperative that if your partner asks for time alone, that you give it to them, or else you are escalating the matter making it harder to go back to baseline levels of arousal. As long as your physiological arousal is high, you are stuck in a negative emotion feedback loop that won’t allow you to think or see things clearly.  This includes raised heart rate, faster breathing rate, palpitations, and higher blood pressure.

If you partner asks you not to follow them into the other room, don’t follow them. Give them the respect and time that you both need to come down to baseline levels to be able to appropriately address the issue. If you fear for someone’s safety, please call 911. If you or your partner aren’t ready to have a rational conversation yet, talk about when you can. Ideally give each other undivided attention. This means cell phones in the other room, television off, music off and if you have children, wait until the children are asleep. The key is to minimize outside stimulation that derails you from your intended goal which is “I want to understand you better and I want to be understood by you. Nothing else is as important for me than to be here having this conversation with you”. Show each other that you both prioritize your relationship.

These are just a few techniques that we, psychologists at Miami Psychology Group, use to help our couples gain insight into their own and partner’s feelings and behaviors through relationship counseling. If you find yourself “stuck” in your relationship, please give us a call. We are here to help. 

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