Helping you get that spark back in your relationship
At Austin Counseling and Nutrition, we are fortunate enough to have highly skilled clinicians who provide evidence-based counseling and coaching. We pull from PACT, Imago therapy, Gottman Couples Counseling, and more. We continue to invest in our growth and learning to stay at the forefront of practices and techniques to provide the best care for our clients in relationships.
Relationship therapy, like individual therapy, has the same purpose of helping a client achieve their goals, however, in the context of relationship therapy, the goal is to improve the relationship, not the individual. Some areas for focus in relationship therapy are communication, conflict management, intimacy, understanding one’s partner(s) better, trust and vulnerability, preparing for the next step in a relationship (moving in together, marriage, having children), or finding solutions to ongoing problems (or ways to work around them).
There are many different relationship therapy models out there. Some of the most popular ones are Imago Relationship Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), the Gottman model, Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), and others. While they each take slightly different approaches, the ultimate goal of all of them is to improve relationship satisfaction and well-being, seeing the relationship as the focus of improvement, not the individuals.
"The most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves" --Harville Hendrix
You may wonder why we’re using “relationship therapy” in our phrasing, rather than the more traditional, “couples’ therapy” or “marital therapy.” First, you don’t need to be married to consider relationship therapy; any relationships are welcome. Secondly, modern relationships are not all the same, and many people are not in “couples” relationships. We as a practice here at Austin Counseling and Nutrition strive to be open and supportive of all forms of relationships, including both monogamous and polyamorous relationships, as well as open relationships.
We have relationship therapists ready to work with you today!
Polyamorous: characterized by or involved in the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved
"Your partner(s) has the key to your healing. You were drawn together for a reason. If you don't try to figure this out now, it will just play out again with the next one."
Tips for improving your relationships:
1. Practice good communication skills – Communicating openly and honestly is key to success in any relationship. Pay attention to your nonverbal cues such as body language and tone of voice, and use active listening skills such as paraphrasing and asking open-ended questions.
2. Learn to manage conflict – Conflicts are inevitable in relationships. Gottman recommends using compromise, negotiation, and compromise to resolve conflict.
3. Make shared goals and dreams – Set shared goals and dreams for the future and work together to accomplish them.
4. Nurture each other – Recognize your partner’s emotional needs and provide support for them. Make time for date nights or quality alone time to deepen your connection.
1. Practice non-judgmental listening – Listen to each other without judgment and withhold criticism. Pay attention to your partner’s feelings and needs.
2. Identify and replace old patterns – Identify any destructive patterns in your relationship and replace them with new, healthier behaviors.
3. Focus on mutual understanding – Focus on understanding each other’s needs and expectations. Validate each other’s feelings and opinions.
4. Connect with each other emotionally – Take the time to emotionally connect to each other and share the deeper emotions and feelings that you may be afraid to express.
1. Foster openness and honesty – Foster an environment of openness and honesty with your partner and be willing to discuss difficult subjects.
2. Engage in active listening – Listen to your partner without judgement and provide reassurance.
3. Take time out for yourself – Take time out from the relationship to do something for yourself and practice self-care.
4. Build intimacy and connection – Build a deeper connection and an atmosphere of intimacy in your relationship by communicating with each other honestly and openly, expressing affection and appreciation, and practicing trust.
These tips are easier said than done, and here at ACN we can help you make these changes a reality. We provide individualized guidance and support for every relationship. Most people wait too long to begin relationship therapy, and it is important to start the work as soon as possible for best outcomes. We want to help you and your significant other(s) have the most fulfilling relationship in your life.
Imago Therapy for Relationships
Imago couples therapy is a therapeutic approach developed by Harville Hendrix and his wife Helen LaKelly Hunt to aid couples in improving communication and enhancing understanding between partners. This type of therapy is based on the idea that a successful partnership must strive for emotional safety, intimacy, and healing between partners. Imago couples therapy helps partners focus on the present, the future, and the past by exploring emotionally charged issues. The therapist assists in identifying patterns of interaction and sharing, promotes understanding and empathy between the partners, and works to facilitate positive change.
Imago couples therapy uses a variety of techniques to assist partners in understanding and strengthening their relationship. Couples are first taught the Imago dialogue, which is designed to help partners listen to each other without judgment, without blame, and without contempt. The dialogue helps to increase empathy and understanding of one another's emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. In addition, the therapist will help partners to identify patterns of reactive behavior and to create a plan for addressing these behaviors.
Imago couples therapy helps identify and address underlying issues that may be contributing to unresolved conflict. The therapist guides couples through steps to repair and overcome communication problems, recognize and appreciate each other's positive qualities, and identify feelings and needs that may have been neglected. Through the Imago dialogue and other techniques, the therapist encourages partners to become more conscious of their reactions and discover underlying needs that are being expressed.
Imago couples therapy can help partners learn to develop a more secure emotional bond with each other. By exploring core issues and developing insight about their relationship, couples can gain an understanding of one another's strengths, interests, and limitations. With these new insights, the couple can work together to move past communication blocks and create new, healthier relational dynamics.
Imago couples therapy is an evidence-based approach to addressing relationship issues. Through its tailored use of the Imago dialogue and other therapeutic techniques, the therapist helps partners to become aware of and communicate their needs, increase understanding and empathy, and establish and heal emotionally charged issues. The tools and strategies offered in Imago couples therapy can help a couple enhance communication and build a more secure relationship with each other.
If you and your partner(s) are experiencing relationship struggles, we're here to help. Reach out to one of our therapists today at 512-655-3878.
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Common Questions from Couples
1. Q: What can we do to improve our communication?
A: There are several strategies you can use to improve communication, such as active listening, using "I" statements, and practicing empathy. In therapy, we can work on these skills and develop a better understanding of each other's communication styles.
2. Q: How can we resolve conflicts in a healthier way?
A: Conflict is a normal part of any relationship, but it's important to resolve it effectively. In therapy, we can work on improving conflict resolution skills, such as staying calm, avoiding blame, and being willing to compromise.
3. Q: What can we do to strengthen our emotional connection?
A: Emotional intimacy is an important part of any relationship, and there are many ways to strengthen it, such as spending quality time together, sharing your thoughts and feelings, and practicing vulnerability.
4. Q: How can we improve our physical intimacy?
A: Physical intimacy can be impacted by a variety of factors, such as stress, fatigue, and relationship difficulties. In therapy, we can explore these factors and work on improving physical intimacy through techniques such as sensual communication, scheduling time for intimacy, and exploring new forms of physical affection.
5. Q: How can we rebuild trust after a breach of trust?
A: Rebuilding trust can be a long process, but it's possible with effort and commitment from both partners. In therapy, we can work on strategies to rebuild trust, such as being transparent, communicating openly, and making amends.
6. Q: How can we manage our finances better?
A: Money is a common source of conflict in relationships. In therapy, we can work on strategies to manage finances better, such as creating a budget, establishing financial goals, and communicating openly about spending habits.
7. Q: How can we deal with outside stressors that impact our relationship?
A: Outside stressors, such as work, family, or health issues can take a toll on a relationship. In therapy, we can work on strategies to manage external stressors, such as practicing self-care, setting boundaries, and communication.
8. Q: How can we navigate differences in our parenting styles?
A: Parenting is a common source of conflict in relationships, especially when partners have differing parenting styles or approaches. In therapy, we can work on developing a parenting plan that takes into account both partner's perspectives while prioritizing the needs of the children.
9. Q: How do we know if we need to work on rebuilding our relationship?
A: There are several signs that a relationship may need help, such as frequent conflict, lack of intimacy, or communication breakdowns. In therapy, we can work on identifying areas of the relationship that need improvement and developing strategies to make positive changes.
10. Q: How can we maintain a healthy relationship in the long-term?
A: Maintaining a healthy relationship takes ongoing effort and commitment from both partners. In therapy, we can work on developing healthy communication and conflict resolution skills, practicing empathy and understanding, and nurturing emotional and physical intimacy over time.