If I was asked “what is the most common issue among couples that results in their seeking therapy” it would have to be the one that I see pretty much all the time. Someone’s or both partners needs are not being met. This results in most problems within a relationship. Add to that we are never shown how to recognize when a need not met is evident, identify what that need is and then communicate it lovingly to our partner is a skill that requires us to be honest, self aware and most of all compassionate.
While I offer couples therapy sessions, these, in my opinion, should be quick and not many provided the couple does the work behind the scenes when they get home. My preference is actually to have a few sessions and then coach a little on maintaining skills learned.
We live in a society that suggests when we experience conflict and argue, the relationship is unhealthy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Having arguments are typical for many couples. How we manage these conflicts is key and includes getting our needs met. Relationships are meant to be worked on and when we learn how to connect as well as reconnect and repair, we see that couples can manage their arguments in loving and connected ways.
Another area I see regularly is partners who believe that seeking counselling means they are failing. Often they wait until things have gone awry before seeking help. The truth is we are never really shown how to be in a loving, connected and supportive relationship. Once we are shown how to become more connected, loving, compassionate and empathetic, we see an increase in the quality of that relationship. It is true that many couples attend counselling at the initial signs of trouble, which is usually ends up with them learning to work in different ways in order to make it work.