CBT & Couples Counseling
Jan 21, 2021
Communication is key to healthy relationships, but putting it into practice may seem like a nearly impossible task. Let's explore why it can be so difficult to effectively and positively communicate with a partner, and how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) during Couples Counseling can help.
The Loop of Unhealthy Partner Communication
Partners know our triggers, and triggering them can become a habitual loop. When we feel accused, distrusted, or berated, it's natural for our defense mechanisms to in turn accuse, distrust, and berate. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy centers on uncovering unhealthy emotions that cause negative thought patterns and communication, which is an important step in Couples Counseling.
Couples often look back at the hurtful things they said to their partners and wonder why they said them, yet reflection after an argument doesn't seem to prevent the hurtful communication from happening again, and again.
Simple questions, such as who are you texting, often carry a load of past hurtful communications with a partner. Simple responses to the questions, such as what do you care, carry another load. The words used may vary, but the unhealthy loop is the same.
Using "I" Statements
Quite often, the loop of unhealthy partner communication stems from using statements that start with the word you, such as you're a liar, or you never even take out the trash, which removes personal responsibility and puts the other person in defense mode.
In Couples Counseling, you'll learn how to use "I" statements while communicating with your partner, so that the communication expresses what you're thinking and feeling, rather than defending yourself.
For example, instead of stating you're a liar, the healthier statement could be, I feel like I don't understand what's going on with you. Or, instead of saying you never even take out the trash, the more accurate statement might be, I would like to have more help around the house.
Saying What You Really Mean
In connection with using "I" statements, a related issue with unhealthy partner communication often involves berating the other person in some way.
For example, the statement I can't stand you might really mean: I'm frustrated with all the changes going on in our lives. The statement you're just like your father may really mean: I'm hurt that we don't spend our evenings together.
To get started on effective couples counseling in Fresno, call or email our office today.