Individual Therapy for Relationship Issues
Individual therapy for relationships is for anyone who is struggling with their current relationship and would like to explore how their own attachment patterns could be playing out in their current relationship dynamics. It’s for anyone who is experiencing a painful heartbreak.
Individual therapy for relationships is also for individuals who are struggling with the following:
Do you feel like you always end up with partners who need too much from you and you cannot lean on them for anything?
Do you feel like happy healthy relationships are for other people not for you?
Do you always find yourself in relationships with people who withhold affection and are not open to being emotionally attuned to you?
I have worked with a lot of people who feel frustrated about finding themselves in a relationship with the same type of people again and again.
They feel hopeless and don’t understand why they can’t find someone who is a consistent and reliable partner, who’s words match their actions, or someone who shows affection and nurture, who lets them in and relationships don’t feel like an uphill battle.
We develop different attachment patterns as kids to help us survive in the given environment. The attachment you have with your caretaker as a child plays a role in the attachment you will form with your partner.
Relationships have the potential of triggering a lot of distress in us. You might have encountered the following experiences at some point in your life.
When a date goes well but the person never texts.
When a person you are seeing gives you mixed messages.
When in a relationship you feel dismissed or taken for granted.
How you respond to these experiences will depend on your attachment patterns.
If growing up your experience has been that affection is contingent upon doing what your parents want you to do and you cannot follow your needs and wants. Then you might find yourself in relationships where you prioritize your partner’s needs above yours.
If as a child you experienced inconsistencies and unpredictability in receiving affection and care from your caretaker and that kept you on edge and anxious, then you might allow someone in your life who would keep you on edge and you will not be able to trust their level of commitment, their actions might not match their words.
The inconsistency that triggers the fear of abandonment is so familiar to you that you will find yourself anxiously attaching to your partner and try to hold on to them to avoid abandonment.
If you grew up with parents who were distant, inconsistent and withheld affection and you learnt at an early age that the only way you can be safe is by relying on yourself, then you might allow someone in your life who keeps you at an arm’s length as well.
If people you are dating are more avoidently attached than you are then you might find yourself getting anxious around them. If you allow someone in your life who wants to come into your life more than you are ready for, then you might find yourself withdrawing from them and pushing them away.
Attachment patterns are on a spectrum, you move from one to the other depending on your experiences. Developmental trauma causes attachment wounds and we continue those patterns as grown adults until we make a conscious effort to change them. These wounded patterns result in us experiencing relationship trauma.
You can have different attachment patterns with different people in your life. Even if you start off with secure attachment, traumatic experiences in romantic relationships and friendships can move you away from that.
Relationship trauma holds us back in relationships. If you have experienced repeated betrayal in some form or other, if your personal boundaries have been violated in relationships, then the protectors you develop after going through these experiences can hold you back from trusting people and letting them in.
Individual therapy for relationship issues
Forming a positive relationship with yourself is the first step toward showing compassion to yourself and allowing what makes you happy and content into your life.
When you are connected to yourself and are mindful of your feelings you gain an awareness and an insight. This might help you understand your patterns, where your emotions come from and what your body is trying to communicate to you.
Mindful awareness about the feeling of distress, like stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, depression helps you look at these emotions with curiosity and respect what they are trying to tell you as opposed to being scared of them or ignoring them.
This gives you an insight into your response to the situation which might help you feel a sense of calm and relief as opposed to guilt, shame and anxiety. A strong sense of self and inner connection might help you understand yourself and your needs better. It will also help you see the other individual through a more grounded lens as opposed to from an anxious or avoidant place.
The connection you have with yourself will help you choose a romantic partner by making you aware of how you want to feel in a relationship, what are your boundaries, what distance are you willing to walk in the relationship and how you want to be treated.
In a romantic relationship this inner connection might help you understand what you want and how you want to feel in a relationship. It will allow you to choose the person who is right for you.
We want to be in a relationship that makes us feel secure, not anxious.
If you are in a relationship with a person who has an attachment pattern that triggers anxiety for you, then self awareness might help you communicate your needs to them, making them aware of where your emotions are coming from.
And if you are someone who feels the need to maintain a distance from your partner. Then awareness, insight and connection with yourself might allow you to feel more grounded and you might not act on your impulse of pushing your partner away.
The more you are grounded within your adult self the more you might be open and understanding of your and your partners needs.
Along with connecting with yourself, the healing process for individual therapy for relationships entails repairing the wounded attachment and working through relationship trauma.
I have written an article on trauma that talks about different types of relationship trauma and my approach to it. Feel free to check it out to get a sneak peek into the treatment process.
In case you find yourself getting curious about different modalities used in the treatment, then read about EMDR and parts work in therapy.
If you want to read more about relationships, check out the articles below
Connecting with yourself will help you see what you want. take the first step