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Relationship Concerns

Relationships can bring some of our highest highs and lowest lows. The need to nurture a feeling of connection with others represents the human condition. Feeling loved, understood, and a part of a community gives us positive emotional health, stability, resiliency, and balance. When our relationships are rocky, destructive, unfulfilling, and/or ridden with frequent conflict, we’re then subject to increasing feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation, contempt, and rejection. When our relationships are going well, our lives feel more fulfilled, free, whole, and joyful.

Relationships can be difficult to navigate. Whether the relationship in question is connected to a child, parent, sibling, friend, co-worker, or romantic partner, there can be many challenges to experiencing relationships as easy, supportive, loving, and fulfilling. We all have a story and a unique history that leads to certain values, perspectives, and ways of being that can sometimes clash with others. The task of understanding the balance between knowing who you are, being true to your individual identity, and simultaneously knowing how to meet the needs of others can be confusing and overwhelming at times. 

Old hurts, betrayals, poor communications habits, and the weight of daily life (e.g., children, school, finances, work stress, relationship difficulties) can greatly impact the health and vitality of your relationships. When working with, and on relationships, I use an Emotionally-Focused & Solution-Based approach, which highlights the importance of intimacy, sexuality, independence/interdependence, and connection.

Relationship counseling can take the form of individual therapy, and/or couples therapy. Individual therapy uses a one-on-one approach to explore concerns and difficulties, whereas couples therapy, incorporates a dynamic approach. Couples therapy allows partners to be see a therapist together, allowing the couple to feel safe to address concerns, and explore ways to foster a more meaningful and connected relationship.

My practical approach focuses on developing an intimate understanding of personality traits, key life experiences, communication patterns, values, and life goals that unite and divide you. Once we understand what unites and separates you, what fosters safety and trust, and what allows you to feel heard, valued, and appreciated, we will then work together to establish compromises and identify effective communication patterns. This collaborative process is intended to help couples learn to understand themselves in relation to their partner/partners, and to provide the tools to enliven your relationship. In addition, couples counseling offers an opportunity to increase relationship satisfaction, and the frequency in which each person experiences love and connection. With couples, I am interactive, collaborative, emotion, and solution focused. I create a safe space that allows each person to feel open to sharing their thoughts and feelings in an honest way without fear of judgment.

Couples counseling can additionally offer an opportunity that allows couples to address ongoing issues and difficulties within their relationship in a productive and effective way. I believe that couples often find themselves stuck in cycles of conflict, which can result in feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, rejection, jealousy, contempt, and disconnection. Couples in this space, may find themselves repeating negative patterns of interacting that prevent them from truly connecting.

By working collaboratively, we can address the concerns that are weighing down your relationship and move toward a place of increased understanding and satisfaction for you both. 

Couples counseling and therapy can help you find answers to:

  • Addressing each other’s needs, and exploring effective ways those needs can be better heard, understood, and met

  • Improving skills, habits, and behaviors to bring energy and vitality back into your relationship

  • Examining the existing relationship to determine if you are ready and committed to improving it, or if it might be time to move past the relationship, and say goodbye

  • Improving communication styles so you and your partner can actually hear each other, and in turn feel heard, seen, and understood

  • Breaking destructive patterns

  • Identifying tools that allow you to become more confident in expressing your needs within your relationship(s), and knowing how to be more effective in helping others understand how to meet your needs

  • Better understanding your relationship style/pattern, both that are helpful and unhelpful

  • Bringing your sexuality into focus; understanding that it is often more of a dialogue than a definition

  • Understanding what sexuality and intimacy mean to you, and within the context of your relationship

  • Exploring topics surrounding physical intimacy without labeling or judgment


Helpful links for learning more about couples / relationship counseling and therapy

Couples / Relationship Counseling and Therapy Resource #1: https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-steps-to-better-communication-today/

Couples / Relationship Counseling and Therapy Resource #2: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/making-love-last-importance-of-emotional-intelligence



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Dr. Leslie Hemedes, Psychotherapist

916-838-0303 | drlesliehemedes@gmail.com