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Reasons to Consider Family Therapy for Your Relationship

» Mental Health Library » Disorders & Conditions » Relational Problems » Featured Article

By: Sherry Katz, LCSW

Sherry Katz, LCSW

Family therapists study the interactional patterns among family members, for the purpose of encouraging the participants to say what they want and how they feel, in a manner which increases the chance of being understood by another family member. Because family members are attached by their emotions to one another, each person is sensitive to the emotion based condition, wishes, and expectations of other family members. Whether silently received, showing no outward response or interest, greatly animated, or some other clear emotion, family members are always affected by the feelings and views of others.

In couples therapy, in which only two people are meaningfully connected with each other, this effect is amplified. What either partner says or does directly to the other, or significant actions which either partner takes in the other areas of their respective lives, will influence both partners. Couples therapy, as with all therapies, is a confidential space. Couples therapy is for the partners to realize and examine the messages they're delivering, the way in which the delivery is expressed, their partner's often unexpressed reaction, and whether and how to reformulate any of this. Being able to witness your partner think out loud in response to the therapist's questions about what and how they would like you to know and understand them, often opens the most surprising and beneficial results from couples therapy. No longer are the two of you either arguing or even calmly sitting at the kitchen table talking in the same circles which lead to more circles and wear out each of you. Now, you hear your partner and your partner hears you as to what underlies and drives their words to you which, though you've already heard dozens of times, never were fully clear to you.

In addition to encouraging each partner to reflect deeply on the point they wish to say and revise the way they say their point, the therapist will disrupt interaction patterns of dialogue between the two of you which go in endless circles to nowhere. Disrupting unproductive dialgoue teaches you that better ways to talk to each other is possible. Developing clearer ways to know and say your point becomes possible.

Within the safety of a couples therapist's office you can practice, and the therapist can support and challenge you to talk to your partner clearlly from your heart. And then you both go home and practice together, based on the willingness to mutually know and say what you want from your partner, and the same willingness to accept your partner's point of view. From this baseline you're both ready to cooperate toward a position which is agreeable to each of you.

About the Author...

Sherry Katz, LCSW is a couples and family therapist who practices in Ridgewood, NJ. For details on her practice and if her therapy work fits with helping your relationship, reach out with questions!

Click here to contact or learn more about Sherry Katz

Last Update: 4/24/2023

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