Individual therapy can be beneficial in examining our own relational behavior. By taking a closer look at our individual histories and patterns, we are better able to take responsibly for how we show up in our relationships.
Avoidance of Closeness
Do you find that in your relationships your partners are always asking for more than you feel capable of giving? Does coupling with another person bring up fears about losing your autonomy or being trapped? There may be a part of you that learned at an early age to distance yourself in relationships in order to create safety. Getting to know your fears around emotional intimacy can change the ways you protect yourself and help you feel more comfortable with tolerating closeness.
You may find that you don't feel complete without a partner in your life. You're constantly searching for that one person who will save or complete you. In relationships, you may have a tendency to want more closeness than your partners or feel that you are constantly chasing. There may be a part of you who didn't fully get its needs met as a child and is looking for a sense of validation or fulfillment in significant others. Individual therapy can help you develop a more compassionate and caring relationship with yourself so that you no longer feel compelled to seek affirmation from the outside.
Picking Toxic Partners
Your family and friends say you have terrible taste in men/women. Each relationship seems like it's going to be different, but inevitably leaves you feeling emotionally beaten down and stuck. You've realized that the least common denominator is you, but how do you break the pattern? You may be replicating a dynamic from your family such as seeking out partners who are similar to an abusive parent or caregiver. It's not your fault that this relational model was given to you, but it is your responsibility to break the cycle.
Should I stay or should I go? You may not be ready to commit to couples therapy or you're unsure whether or not your relationship is capable of change. Exploring this ambivalence with a therapist can be a helpful starting point. Not every relationship is meant to be saved, and you may need some support in creating an exit strategy or building up the courage to leave.
Every fight with your partner leads to yelling, storming off, or throwing things. In hindsight, you're not even sure how you went from 0 to 60 so fast. Anger is a protective mechanism that we learn to utilize in order to survive. Individual therapy can help you slow down, examine this protective strategy, and develop some curiosity about the vulnerability behind it.
If you are working with Melissa as a couple, she may refer you to a separate individual therapist in order to maintain an equal therapeutic alliance with both you and your partner. Similarly, if you begin working with Melissa in the context of individual therapy, it may be challenging to shift to couples work because the therapeutic relationship is biased in one direction. An outside referral can be provided at any time to supplement the work already taking place.
St. Louis Couples Counseling