SEXMATICS: COUPLES’ THERAPY AMIDST COVID-19 PANDEMIC (Cont.)
By Adesuwa Ewoigbokhan
Couples should seek therapy long before they think they ‘’need’’ to. Most experts believe that therapy can actually be a significant part of your relationship.
‘’Most issues within spouses often start small; gradually grow in size when they don’t get resolved. This is where therapy can help, by giving tools and techniques to improve conflict resolution’’ explained Kristie Overstreet, a licensed mental health counselor.
Quite a number of couples always wished they had sought professional help years or months earlier.
‘’There are always three sides to every story, his side, her side and the truth’’ A third party that is objective, may just be the ticket when couples feel that they can no longer communicate effectively.
Rather than viewing therapy as the solution to a problem, look at it as an integral aspect of a healthy life, suggested Ashley N. Grinonneau-Denton, Marriage and Family Therapist. ‘’Every couple should take preventive measures to maintain health in their relationship, just like going to the gym’’ she said. ‘’If couples don’t work their relational and emotional muscles, they become flaccid, weak and create more of a chance of damage being done to their relationship.”
No two therapists are the same though there may be some similarities. The first session of therapy usually involves the therapist getting to know the clients, discussing the areas of the relationship they hope to improve, and setting of goals. Some therapists will give home works to the couples to do before the next appointment.
Bear in mind that partners attend sessions for various reasons ranging from sex, money, communication, and other major life changes like getting married, starting family, depression, or feeling stuck and stagnant in your relationship. In all these, professional help can comfortably provide a safe space to talk about sensitive matters such as intercourse, ‘’just like folks can get caught in a negative relationship cycle, couples can also get stuck in a negative sexual cycle’’ says Michael Moran a Certified Sex Therapist.
Having conversations in a relationship is also a big issue for mates, simply chatting with each other is not the solution. ‘’There is communication and there is effective communication’’ explained Sara Nasserzadeh, a psychologist. Both parties need to feel heard, soothed, respected and cared for first. Old communication pattern is analyzed and replaced with feasible and more effective ones. These are jointly worked out within the context of the couple’s everyday life.
Partners getting married, starting a family, moving house, changing jobs, losing jobs, coping after extra-marital affairs, recovering from addiction, all of these transitions, can destabilize a couple’s equilibrium.
Therapy gives couples the chance to negotiate all these with as little disruption as possible, and to explore and honour what a particular transition means to each partner.
So never you discount the value of therapy in helping you and your lover dig yourselves out of a rut, as the process assists couples to talk through their feelings.
It’s fundamental you have a talk with your mate about seeing a therapist. Don’t spring it on them and insist they attend. If they don’t want, you can attend on your own which may have a beneficial effect as this can help to strengthen your self- improvement and personal growth. You can never tell, your spouse may become impressed by these positive changes and decides to give therapy a try.
As you know, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long the therapy should last, it all depends on the couple, and the stuff they are working on.
For some couples, a few sessions may just be what they need to jump-start their affairs while others may need it for years.
Above all, it is cool to see a therapist until you have achieved your goals and feel confident you have acquired the necessary skills to steer the ups and downs in your marriage.
Don’t allow Covid-19 take any credit; remember that lockdown is not lockout. Appreciate what you have now as it will come in handy after the pandemic. It never gets easier but you just get better.
Be safe and sanitized.