Intimate relationship is not an easy work. In my practice I see many couples that are frustrated and helpless when their individual concerns conflict, power struggles emerge, and when hurt turns to anger, jut to name a few. spiral2grow of NYC provides licensed, experienced and non-judgmental couples therapists, who can help you articulate your problems and goals, design solutions and establish the path toward achieving them. All is done in collaboration, meeting the clients where they are and gradually building the skills to address the issues constructively. spiral2grow, accessible location, in hear of Manhattan, offers couples solutions in a variety of formats: individual counseling, couples counseling, marriage therapy and relationship coaching.
Building a fulfilling relationship requires a commitment to a process of growth from an individual perspective as well as the couple perspective. You and your partner must have the willingness to learn and a determination to create the relationship of your dreams. Couples counseling helps identify areas where constructive change need to take place and empower the couples to improve their capacity to function better in their relationship. Couples therapy is not just “getting advice,” but learning how to find and implement new solutions and establish the freedom to make healthy choices to achieve your relationship goals.
Couples counseling is perhaps the most difficult type of counseling to practice and to be in. As a licensed family and marriage therapist in New York City, I witness anger, resentment, despair, vicious cycles, loneliness, contempt, aggressiveness, lack of intimacy and sexuality and other negative relationship habits. Many couples, unfortunately, wait too long before engage in counseling. They come to me way beyond due date. This is why I encourage couples to come as early as possible to engage in couples counseling to learn healthy relationship skills – which our society does not teach. I believe that prevention is better than cure. no one and learning the necessary skills to build intimacy can save couples the agony and suffering that may come later. My approach to couples counseling is interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and out of the box. With my unique talent to quickly and profoundly get to the heart of the issue, I understands the broad spectrum of relationships, couple dynamics, intimacy, and sexuality, while I able to provide effective intervention and long lasting change.
Relationship therapy helps solve complex relationship challenges, while developing new relationship skills to build greater chemistry and harmony. Couples coaching and counseling is designed to teach skills and help couples have a better relationship by facilitating communication, conflict resolution and problem solving in a safe, objective and constructive atmosphere. The goals of couples counseling are to help you communicate effectively, build and maintain trust, and develop a satisfying and fulfilling relationship.
spiral2grow, a counseling center in NYC, provides skills to overcome power struggle for individuals and couples. Our experts in power struggle include couples counselors and marriage therapists who help building successful relationships by teaching healthy relationship skills.
Not once a personal relationship tends to exist in a power struggle. A power-struggle exists when one partner insists on getting his/her own way without considering the other person needs. Unfortunately, in such case, all people involved in the relationship are in losing position. In marriage or intimate relationship, extending the desire for control to our other half can lead to unhappiness and even divorce as only few relationships can survive long in the control/rebellion position. The reality is that power struggle is pretty common, troublesome/taxing, and potentially destructive.
Power struggle is challenging for many couples. It is not easy to face a partner that you love “makes you crazy,” “controlling” and who pushes your buttons. That makes you disappointed, upset and even angry. Yet, the upside of the power struggle is that it can make you grow. In my practice, spiral2grow, I explain to couples that power struggle is a natural phase in a relationship and can be can be used as an opportunity to wake up, grow and stretch your skills to be more connected and in love.
Unfortunately, many couples are stuck in that phase and cannot let go of the desire to “win the argument.” This leads them to loss the relationship. Couples, who open and committed and that are willing to work hard and accept responsibility for their actions, can experience a total transformation and even a shift in their conscious to see the benefit that power struggle bring to their relationship.
Differences in relationship are always going to be present. What going to change is your reaction to the differences and the way you approach such differences. The goal is to reach a point of respecting the differences, feeling unthreatened and changing your reaction to the differences.
In relationship, when power struggles exist constantly (without resolution), either the marriage will fail, or one spouse will fall apart. If both spouses have the willingness and motivation to resolve the marriage problems, as well as the skills needed to make it work, it can often bring the marriage to another level of respect, happiness and fulfillment. Yet, in many cases, marriage counseling is necessary– because it is very difficult to shake destructive beliefs from a person when he has held them for much of his life.
The ability to resolve the power struggle rests in both spouses’ willingness and readiness to acknowledge two main points: first, that a healthy marriage “takes two”, and, as such, each person’s beliefs, needs, feelings, and input are equally essential; and second, that each is an individual person who cannot be taken advantage of, silenced, or dismissed.
Loving relationship is built on respect and mutuality. Mutuality and compromise as well as healthy communication skills are the antidote to power struggles. This is why it is in your own relationship’s best interests to build a win-win relationship and not to control others. When one of you loses, so does the relationship. Committing to resolving the power struggle opens a space for deep communication, empathy, safety, healing on the journey to loving relationship.
Below please find few steps to defuse a power struggle:
- Listen to understand your partner’s point of view with patience and respect. You might have heard it all before but try to understand why the situation has become so loaded.
- Realize the fear underneath the power struggle. Fear and the desire control is an indication of some kind of fear. So, try to understand the fear, accept it and work with it rather than dismissing it.
- Be assertive open and clear. Assertiveness is key to healthy relationship and naturally when practice will lead to a win-win outcome.
- Acknowledge the positive aspects of the relationship – Recognize the positive qualities your partner brings to the relationship. Each individual is unique with his/her own qualities, wishes, needs, preferences, and experiences.
- Understand that we all do the best we can – While to some it may sound strange, I believe that we are doing the best we can considering our history, resources, believe system, mindset and skills.
- Find the positive intentions – While at times the way about achieving things may be unhealthy, remember that your partner has good intention.
- Create and provide the space for each of you to voice their opinion in the decision-making process. This space is created when judgment is suspended and you and your partner take the time and effort to understand each other’s perspective – even when you disagree with him/her.
- Remember, as long as you keep the power-struggle shuffle alive, the gifts of love and intimacy will never be realized.
Define and Break Vicious Cycles
It’s happening again and again. It is like a dejavu. You’ve done this fight with your partner a thousand times and you know that is coming—blame, criticism, escalation, fight and self-defensive moves. It’s so familiar as if you’re having the same fight with your partner over and over again. Maybe you’ve made attempts to make peace in the past, but they don’t seem to work in the long-run and you’re feeling stuck, hopeless, and scared. You aren’t totally sure how you both got here, but you know you don’t want to stay here.
spiral2grow in NYC provides the necessary skills to break negative vicious cycles that is so detrimental to couples’ relationship. Our experts, couples therapists and marriage counselors, understand how to overcome vicious cycles and help building successful relationships by teaching healthy relationship skills.
Negative patterns in relationships are like negative thoughts – they tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Habits, in general and, negative behavioral patterns specifically, are hard to break because they are the product of ongoing repetition. It also has secondary gained and fulfill a psychological need. Many negative patterns in intimate relationships are the result of historical baggage that manifest itself in breakdowns in communication. Fortunately, most of these vicious cycles can be broken and changed to establish new healthy patterns.
In these conflicted downslide spiral, the competitive energy simply makes couples antagonistic. To recover and re-shift into a healthy, collaborative, and supportive relationship, you must shift shift your way of thinking about the cycle and learn healthy relationship skills. Breaking negative behavior patterns in relationships requires insight and self-awareness. It requires a commitment from each partner to stand by each other and work together to weather the storm in their relationship. Regardless of the level of commitment of your partner, if one person is working and changing, it change the whole dynamic of the relationship. So, don’t be discourage if your partner is not as committed as you are. In some instances, it may also require the assistance of a therapist (a psychotherapist, marriage or couples therapist) in order to help get to the root of the negative behavior and to facilitate the process of change.
Learn Communication Skills
Poor communication skills, disagreements and misunderstandings can be a source of anger and distance, or a springboard to a stronger relationship and happier future. Communication is one of the most important areas of a relationship. Unhappy couples are often unable to communicate, and when communication breaks down, so does marriage and intimacy. Couples with high level of communication skills are more satisfied with their marriages and are more likely to solve their challenges in a better way.
Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When people are not communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out disconnect. Without communication, there’s nothing to hold the relationship together and help it function smoothly. As long as you are communicating well, you can work through whatever problem you’re facing.
It is always better to address problems through communication then to bury them thinking that they will go away eventually – they won’t! Talk it out in a way that is supportive and loving whenever necessary. Learning to have effective communication in marriage is one of the most important aspects of marriage that a couple can work on.
When communicating, it is important to be clear on your goal and do the following:
- Think influencing your partner, not controlling them.
- Get the buy-in from your partner to do something or stop doing something
- Express yourself and be heard – your needs and wants
- Express your feelings
- Feel connected
- Create a safe environment
Here are some communications skills that will help you in your save your relationship.
- Listen to understand and give your partner your full attention
- Be compassionate
- Don’t interrupt your partner
- Create a safe space for your partner
- Face to face communication is better than phone or text
- Don’t assume
- Ask questions to probe to clarify
- Use “I” statements
- Don’t be judgmental
- Be honest with your spouse
- Use time-out when things escalate
- Make physical contact as a way to connect and ease the conversation
- Make communication fun – don’t make it too serious
Jealousy is a normal emotions that has its own evolutionary reasons. Jealousy can be normal and may flare when you feel that a person you love may be “taken away” by someone else. It’s a response to what you feel could be a threat to your relationship. However, jealousy can be a dangerous response one with the potential to damage your relationship with your spouse, unless you understand why it exists and how to manage it. Sometimes the feeling is justified and at other times it isn’t. Yet, when people experience it strongly, frequently and act on it when it is unnecessary, it may lead to a destruction of trust and intimacy.
Many people describe jealousy as an extremely painful, “ugly” and “crazy” feeling. It manifests itself as illogical rage, suspicion, the inability to get beyond an infraction, the impulse to hurt the other, or the urge to simply hide. Simply said, jealousy can hijack our cognition and pushes us to act negatively. Jealousy is an emotion activating, and fed by a combination of love, fear and anger, resentment, inadequacy and helplessness. Jealousy is driven by deep seeded feelings of insecurity, fear, and anxiety over an anticipated loss of something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a human connection.
Here are some ideas on how to deal with jealousy in a relationship.
- Accept your feelings and don’t deny it
- Consider your own insecurities
- Understand where trust comes from
- Set more realistic expectations of your partner
- Know that you cannot control your partner
- Build a greater distress tolerance to uncomfortable feelings
- Express your feelings
- Talk it out with someone you trust
- Practice gratitude and appreciation
- Realize the negative impact of jealousy
- Journal and write it out
- Focus on the positives rather than negatives
Intimacy is an important part in providing the reassurance and trust that underpins all successful relationships. Where there is a lack of intimacy and romance one or both partners may feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied with the relationship. Intimacy isn’t just about good sex, though sex is a big part of it in partnerships. Intimacy is achieved when the two of you can share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings with one another. Intimacy is when two people create an environment where there is a true heart to heart connection. They feel a sense of peace, harmony, balance and unconditional love for their partner and when they are in their partner’s presence. There is no battle of ego’s, no need to win, manipulate or control. Intimacy is deep (some say spiritual) connection.
When you’re truly intimate with your partner you can talk about who you really are, say what you need and want, and be heard by him/her. Intimate relationships have a sense of mutuality, which means you’re as concerned with your partner’s satisfaction and happiness as with your own. You want to see your partner emotionally, intellectually, socially, sexually and professionally fulfilled. Your marital intimacy is also strengthened when you two are spending time as a couple, having fun together, and surprising one another.
We will explore the varied meanings of intimacy and help partners articulate their expectations and fears, consider alternative modes of relating, and negotiate the best fit between them. Creating intimacy in a relationship takes time and isn’t always easy, but it’s possible to create intimacy with your special someone. Intimacy is the freedom to be yourself. Building intimacy is expressing yourself more and more in your relationship. Building intimacy doesn’t mean you’ll make all that happen, of course, but your partner’s satisfaction is equally important to you.
Here are tips to bring intimacy to your relationship
- Increate emotional and intellectual intimacy
- Find the time to talk for a while
- Find a way to connect each week
- Create and build your love map
- Crate shared activities (classes, trips, hobbies, etc.)
- Increase spiritual intimacy
- Be experiential and have fun
- Have active date nights
Build Sexual Connection
David Deida said “The purpose of your intimacy is the passionate transmission of love, the rejuvenative healing of sexual energy, and the cultivation of heart through your mutual commitment to spiritual awakening.”
Many couples in couples therapy may complain about sex issues: discrepancies in desire, lack of attraction or sexual compatibility, arousal or orgasm problems, going through infidelity or in the trigger of trauma or other sexual challenges. Such issues are most often part of an underlying lack of safety and connection in the relationship that is caused by the unhealthy cycle between the partners.
Sex is very important in a relationship because it is how we bond at a greater level. By having sex with your partner, you show them that you care about their needs and you trust them. It is important to note that sex is not just physical; it can also be an emotional and mental adventure that brings you closer to your partner. Remember that the most important sexual organ is the brain.
Even though many women and men think it’s the key to a great connection, the importance of sex in a relationship is completely subjective. What one person might consider a crucial factor, another may dismiss altogether. How much sex matters within your own relationship is something only you can decide. If you and your partner are content with the situation – no matter what that is – then you may have already found your answer.
Intimacy and sex are not the same thing. Sex without intimacy is just physical. Intimacy without sex can be pure and spiritual. But sex with someone you love can be gentle and tender, hot and wild, comfortable or simply sublime.
Here are tips to bring passion, excitement and sexuality to your relationship
- Change your pattern of initiating sex. …
- Hold hands more often. …
- Allow tension to build. …
- Separate sexual intimacy from routine. …
- Carve out time to spend with your partner. …
- Focus on affectionate touch. …
- Practice being more emotionally vulnerable during sex.
- Increase physical intimacy
- Share a 10 second kiss
- Be affectionate (hold hands, touch, hug etc.)
- Share meaningful touch
Problem Solving Skills
An integral part of healthy relationship, specifically problem solving skills, is effective communication that helps us better understand a person or situation and enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish. The pursuit of mutual understanding will make most problems go away and you can solve the rest when you take a team approach to solving them together in a positive way. Keep the problem to the problem and keep your relationship a priority.
Problems can be an opportunity to learn and grow together. By using an effective problem solving methods with a positive, productive approach to life’s challenges, you will be able to keep your loving relationship alive and happy with mutual honesty, kindness, and respect. Couples also need constructive problem-solving skills and this can be done by developing strong communication skills, which is one of the most important aspects to effectively handling issues that might arise in relationships. When problems do arise, seek understanding first. Research shows that about 80% of problems don’t even have to be solved when the couple talks through the issues and reaches mutual understanding. Only the most difficult problems will require the use of problem solving methods.
Here are some tips to solve problem effectively
- Set your agenda and the goal of the discussion
- Allow each side to share there needs and concerns
- brainstorm without judgment
- Evaluate ideas
- Be creative
- Aspire toward a solution that address most issues
- Allow time, space and patience as solution cannot be immediate
- reach a win-win solution
- Implement the solution
- Reevaluate the solution and make adjustment if needed.
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