Are Feelings Of Sadness, Fear, And Anger Impacting Your Ability To Connect With Others?

Woman sat looking out of window with head in handsDo you have difficulty maintaining long-term relationships—whether romantic, platonic, or familial?

Is it common for you to repeat certain patterns or behaviors in relationships despite knowing that they’re sure to result in conflict and tension?

Do you wish that the people in your life would just accept and love you unconditionally?

When it comes to connections with others, you might waver between perfection and disappointment. You constantly worry about how everyone else will perceive you and whether or not you’ll let them down; yet, at the same time, you are quick to identify flaws in others, keeping you from staying close and committed.

These setbacks present real challenges in your ability to build strong connections. If you’re in a relationship, you may feel like you are constantly negotiating your expectations for your partner or repeating the same pattern of conflict over and over. And if you’re single, you may be wondering if the cycle of perfection and disappointment is impeding your chance to find a lasting partnership.

Relationship Problems And Mental Health Symptoms Often Go Hand In Hand

Additionally, disconnection in relationships often leads to individual symptoms. You may battle feelings of worthlessness, despair, and loneliness. Perhaps you struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health hurdles that, on the surface, seem unrelated to interpersonal challenges. Yet when you dig deeper, you may find that low self-esteem and negative beliefs about yourself and the world around you stem from past experiences of rejection, abandonment, and disagreement.

Your pain and trauma are not fatal flaws, though. In counseling, you can explore how your relationships have impacted your outlook and self-perception so that you can experience healing, deeper connections, and an improved quality of life.

We Live In A Culture Of Quick Gratification And Unrealistic Expectations For What A “Perfect” Relationship Looks Like

Woman eating lunch alone while using mobile phoneThough relationship hurdles can be isolating, they are incredibly common. All of us encounter disappointments in our relationships—being able to stay connected amid conflict is hard! It takes work to form healthy, lasting attachments.  

Unfortunately, in a culture that perpetuates ideas about “having it all,” we often develop the idea that the “perfect” partner, friend, or family member exists—and that the people in our lives are not living up to this standard. Social media fuels comparison culture, causing us to constantly question the worthiness of our relationships, our jobs, and ourselves. And we are bound to feel like failures when, inevitably, we don’t meet unrealistic expectations. 

Furthermore, social media and internet culture have completely transformed the way that we relate to one another. Rather than feeling connected through constant exposure to the lives of others, we often end up feeling isolated by what we see and how we interact. Instead of devoting real, meaningful time to cultivating our relationships, we become easily disappointed and quick to move onto the next promising possibility. 

Through this perspective, it’s common to develop a “good vs. bad” binary. Instead of reflecting on our own behaviors and attachment styles, we might think that the other person in the equation is entirely to blame. In some cases, it might feel easier to abandon the relationship than to work toward repairing it. 

Luckily, a therapist can be instrumental in allowing you to see outside of your experience so that you can gain perspective on your relationships. Working together, I can help you understand your needs and how to get them met by those around you.

Counseling Can Enhance Your Relationships—And Your Life

Man in counseling sessionIt isn’t easy to express deep longings and hidden fears, but counseling is a safe space to explore. Under my guidance in therapy, you can reflect on the relationships you have with your loved ones and how to repair areas of injury, rupture, or disconnection. 

Unlike couples therapy, relationship counseling is done individually between one client and their therapist. In my experience, intimate relationships can improve tremendously when one partner is willing to work on creating a more loving, fulfilling connection. Think of it as “couples therapy for one,” in which I can be your individual ally and support system as you work through your most pressing relationship issues. 

What To Expect In Sessions

You get to lead the way in therapy. Depending on what you bring to the counseling space, we will work together to identify the underlying experiences and core emotions driving your behaviors. Oftentimes, such insights come from early attachment experiences and dynamics with parents/caregivers that have shaped your self-perception. 

While awareness of the past is essential to make progress in counseling, it will be extremely helpful to identify how past patterns play out now. As I learn more about your history, we will use current examples within your relationship(s) to determine how early experiences have influenced certain dynamics and behaviors.

This approach stems from psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theories. In other words, as a therapist, I believe that the relational templates internalized by my clients throughout childhood are key to understanding, not only how my clients have been impacted by their relationships, but also how they themselves contribute to the interpersonal dynamics at play in their lives. Attachment-based perspectives give clients an opportunity to be accountable for their role in relationships and develop empathy for others. 

As new neural pathways are created in the brain through meaningful reflection and relational pattern-change, unhealthy tendencies can be replaced by new, healthier behaviors. As a result, you’re more likely to feel deeply connected and able to maintain lasting relationships. Instead of feeling panicked, anxious, or uncomfortable as problems arise, you’ll learn to commit to the healthy relationship dynamic you’ve created in the counseling space. 

Perhaps You Have Concerns About Therapy…

I don’t understand how a therapist can help—after all, you won’t be there when I experience relationship conflict with others. 

While I cannot be physically present when conflict arises in your relationships, therapy offers lasting tools and perspectives that you can bring with you outside of our sessions. During our time together, you will likely learn more about how your reactivity or self-sabotaging behaviors are contributing to feelings of alienation. 

Eventually, you will be able to fully integrate the insights you gain in counseling so that you can apply a new understanding to every area of your life—including your relationships, work, and mental health in general. 

Therapy is an unnecessary expense; I can just talk to my friends for free. 

While it’s important to have strong relationships with your friends, talking to them is different than talking to a licensed counselor. Not only do therapists receive extensive training—it is their primary function to help you grow and work to your benefit. 

Unlike a friend, a therapist is more likely to challenge your patterns or observe aspects of your personality that might otherwise be hard to detect. The time and money invested in therapy is an investment in yourself and your relationships, and you’ll probably experience benefits long after your time in counseling is done. 

I’ve heard that psychodynamic therapy is a long-term approach that takes years. Why should I do that when I could participate in more short-term therapy?

Though psychodynamic and psychoanalytic therapies usually last over a long period of time, it’s because they go deeper in identifying the root cause instead of just looking at the symptoms. Taking time to extensively understand the past provides an invaluable opportunity to see how patterns have evolved throughout your life. 

Other modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be helpful for certain surface-level symptoms related to anxiety, depression, etc. However, if the issues you have are primarily relational—in other words, interpersonal obstacles in your relationships with partners, friends, family, and other loved ones—psychodynamic counseling is going to be the most effective approach.

Improve Your Relationships, Improve Your Life

You can learn new ways of connecting and interacting with others. Counseling will bring you closer to the people in your life so that your relationships feel more connected and fulfilling. To find out more about how I can help, contact me or call (949) 237-2372.

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