Lorraine Kerr-Atkinson M.S. NCC, LPC

9090 S. Ridgeline Blvd, Suite 220 Littleton, CO 80129

Serving Highlands Ranch

720-437-0776

Couples Therapy


couples-therapy


Does it Feel Like Your Relationship is in a Constant Battle Zone?

Do you and your partner argue all the time—attacking and retreating? Do you feel lonely and worried about your relationship? Is the spark and romance gone from your relationship? Do you wish you could feel connected, heard, and loved by your spouse?

Despite your attempts to improve communication, you may find your relationship or marriage  falling into bad patterns; resentment, irritability, complaining, dissatisfaction, and overreacting to petty issues may have replaced love, support, and connection in your relationship. Maybe your partner is distant, uncommunicative, and withdrawn. You might find that the more you reach out and try to talk things over, the more your partner withdraws or attacks.

You may feel stuck in your relationship or in your marriage — like you are just going through the motions. The differences between you and your significant other that, in the beginning, were so refreshing, may now feel frustrating and insurmountable. You might feel unappreciated and taken for granted in your relationship. Perhaps you wish your spouse or partner would change. Maybe it feels like your significant other always complains and never seems to be satisfied with you or your relationship.

You might find yourself feeling lonely and longing for romance and sexual intimacy. It might feel like your partner has turned into a business partner and your sex life is a joke or the source of arguments in your relationship. Perhaps infidelity has played havoc with your trust.

 

If Your Relationship is No Longer a Safe and Supportive Refuge, There is Hope!

First of all, you are not the only couple to have problems. No relationship, romantic or otherwise, is immune to problems. Serious, committed relationships experience highs and lows — good times and bad. Furthermore, relationships go through life stages that are often inherently stressful, even if they are good changes! Weddings, financial difficulties, new or young children, teenagers, empty-nest issues, job changes, job moves, death, and retirement are all common life experiences that bring their own unique sets of stress, difficulties, and challenges to a partnership. Often navigating these transitions requires partners to reassess and renegotiate.

As long as you take care of your foundation, some conflict and renegotiation can be an important part of keeping a relationship healthy. However, if your arguments become rigid and counterproductive, difficulties can arise. For example, if you begin to see your partner or spouse as the problem or you don’t take the time to nurture your relationship, it might begin to show signs of fraying and disconnection.

Too much bickering, arguing, sniping, or withdrawal can be a warning sign for couples. John Gottman, a pioneer in couples research and counseling, noted that there are four critical danger signals for a marriage ­— “defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling, and contempt.” Nevertheless, even if your relationship shows some or all of these danger signals, it does not have to be doomed.

 

 In Order to Reconnect, You Need to Lay Down Your Weapons and Armor…

Mountain Light Psychotherapy, LLC, helps couples that have become entrenched in battle to lay down their arms. We help couples get a bigger perspective by bringing a fresh eye to the same old patterns in your relationship. A compassionate, unbiased therapist can provide structure and emotional safety to conflicts between couples.

We help couples learn or improve their ability to communicate. Good communication skills allow couples to slow down, process, and connect when their relationship is under stress. Good communication means more than just saying you understand and then arguing your side. Good communication involves deep listening both to your spouse and yourself. Good communication allows couples the space to be independent and different from each other as well as connected. At Mountain Light Psychotherapy, LLC, we help couples strive for interdependence.

Taking care of your relationship is not just about fixing problems, it’s also about having fun and connecting. At Mountain Light Psychotherapy, LLC, we help couples build upon their strengths as well as work on their weaknesses. We help you find ways to nurture your relationship and each other.

 

 “We argue over money. How can we spend money on couples counseling?”

Money is one of the hottest points of contention between couples. Couples argue about “who, when, where, how much, and why” on all kinds of money issues. While money issues often point to a conflict in values, most money issues boil down to one predominant issue—love; fairly or unfairly, money often becomes symbolic of your love and care for each other. If you loved me, you would (or would not) spend money. Sound familiar? What if instead of arguing about money, you agreed to spend money on building the core foundation of your marriage?

If you’re married, how much money did you spend on your wedding and honeymoon?

For many people, the cost of couples therapy is significantly less than the initial cost of the wedding and honeymoon. Does it make sense to invest more money on the relatively superficial aspects of your marriage, than in the substance of your relationship?

How much money will you spend on a divorce?

Divorce is expensive. Besides split assets, lawyer fees, court costs, and lowered total income, divorce can cause emotional pain that takes time and energy to heal.

 

I would like to go to couples therapy, but my significant other is not interested.”

Significant others can be reluctant to come to couples therapy for a variety reasons. Maybe you and your partner have become stuck in a toxic communication pattern. Your significant other may be afraid that the negative pattern will only be repeated in couples therapy. Maybe your partner is afraid that he or she will be blamed.

You can assure your spouse or partner that couples therapy is not about rehashing old wounds or finding a target to blame. Sometimes couples begin to replay arguments during therapy, but couples therapy approaches these arguments differently. We help you slow down, become aware of, process, look, and listen deeply to yourselves and each other’s deepest hopes and fears. Couples usually find that this experience is often different and helpful in creating meaningful change.

 

“I am not sure I want to be in this relationship. Is couples counseling appropriate?”

Often one or both partners come to couples counseling with the thought or even the intention to break up. The purpose of  counseling is to help you and your partner look deeply and honestly at yourselves and your relationship. While our bias is to help your relationship work, sometimes couples come to the painful realization that they do not want to be in the relationship anymore. If that is the case, we will try to help you work toward a respectful closure. Legally, of course, married couples will then need to seek a divorce lawyer or mediator.

 

“We are not married. Is couples therapy only for married couples?”

Mountain Light Psychotherapy, LLC, offers couples therapy for all kinds of couples from all walks of life. You do not have to be in a marriage to benefit from couples therapy. In fact, studies show that couples who receive premarital counseling benefit down the road.

 

With Help, You Can Loosen Your Armor and Begin to Reconnect.

Mountain Light Psychotherapy, LLC, can help bring a fresh eye to the same old pattern in your relationship. When you first fall in love, you willingly open yourself to the freshness of your partner. Over time, however, armor can creep around your heart and you can find yourself hiding your vulnerability. We help couples loosen their armor and begin to reconnect with their partner and their own vulnerability. We strive to create a safe and warm environment where you and your partner can begin to learn how to address your issues at a deeper and more effective level than habitual patterns of combat and retreat.

We help couples begin to: improve their listening skills, explore the meaning and values behind areas of reoccurring conflict, increase their empathy, examine their relational patterns, and improve their communication skills. We strive to help couples work on letting go of judgment and blame and begin to appreciate the deep longings and fears that can impede deeper connection. In addition, we also help couples reexamine the joys of their relationship and begin to appreciate the strengths that are already present.

If you are tired of the most important relationship in your life being the biggest drain, and if you are ready to connect with greater awareness, acceptance, and joy, then I invite you to call 720-437-0776. You may set up a free phone consultation to learn more about couples therapy and my practice. I look forward to sharing your journey.