Repair Your Relationship This Weekend

Hit a bit of a rocky patch? No worries, Dr. Paris, your affordable Chicago marriage and family counselor has tips to help put you back on track this weekend.

It is important to remember that all relationships will hit a rough spot. Healthy relationships are based on a good foundation. Every relationship will have trying times, but as long as there is a good base to the relationship, you always have something to fall back on.

Taking a weekend to focus only on your relationship can give it the spark you need to remember how special it is.

Conflict is normal. As an affordable therapist who talks to many, many couples, I am telling you that you are not alone. All couples have conflicts over different things. Don’t stress that you are not seeing eye to eye every so often.  Whether it is a difference of opinion about money, chores, or sex, the issue usually can be resolved using some communication techniques to discuss it with your partner.

Talk in first person. When you are talking to your partner about something that is bothering you, make sure you say, “I feel…” or “I do…” Don’t start digging in on what your partner does or doesn’t do. Focus on how the issue makes you feel and portray that to your partner instead of pointing out flaws.Dr. Parisi Marriage and family counseling

Talk. Talk. Talk. Make sure you plan time (other than just this weekend) to focus on your lives as a couple. Take 20 minutes a day to spend together just talking, perhaps over a glass of wine. If there has been some distance between you, use this time to get reacquainted with one another.

Don’t play the blame game. This is a huge down fall for many couples. If they can blame the problem on someone, then they don’t work to fix it. You have to remember that you are in this relationship together, and you both must work to find solutions that fit with both of you.

Take this weekend to really focus on your relationship. Discuss any problems and reminisce about the good things that draw you to one another. Remember, relationships are not 50-50. Your partner deserves 100% of you. Healthy relationships are 100%, 100% of the time. You must both put all you have in to the relationship to get back positive results.

If you find that you are caught in a pattern of behaviors that you cannot find a way to fix and need more help, contact Dr. Parisi for marriage and family counseling. We have locations in Chicago and the surrounding area (Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Barrington, Hinsdale, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Park Ridge, and Wilmette) to help.

4 Reasons You Struggle to Express How You Feel to Your Significant Other

You know you aren’t great at expressing your emotions, and you want to improve to help your relationship. That is great! But where to start? Dr. Parisi, an affordable counselor in Chicago, wants you to know that expressing emotions isn’t something that is just going to change because you want it to. There are likely many reasons why you aren’t able to say what you feel.  Learning why expressing yourself is hard for you may be a first step in getting better at it. Here are five common reasons people struggle to express themselves according to your marriage and family therapist in Chicago.

Dr. Parisi is an affordable chicago counselor

  1. Fear is a huge reason why people don’t want to say what they feel. Either the fear of conflict or fear of rejection are usually the culprit. Many people don’t want to ruffle any feathers, or they believe that they will be deserted if their significant other doesn’t agree with them.
  2. Often people believe that others should already know how they feel and what they need. They expect them to be able to read their mind and they start to feel resentful when others can’t.
  3. They have already given up hope. Sometimes people really don’t think that anything in their relationship will ever change, so they aren’t willing to put in the emotions and effort needed to improve and strengthen it.
  4. People suffer from low self-esteem and they don’t feel that they should be entitled to feel a certain way. They think it is their job to always to be person who needs to make a change in order to please someone else.

Learning to express yourself in a way that helps you while strengthen your relationship is important. A marriage and family therapist can help couples address what the root cause of not wanting to express an emotion and help find techniques that are more suitable to address your individual needs.

If you have a relationship that needs further nourishing, you can contact any of our affordable psychologists and marriage and family therapists in Chicago.


What is Solution-Focused Couples Therapy?

Often times, couples seek professional counseling help far too late after having experienced years of tension and built-up resentment.  In order to avoid becoming a statistic in the nation’s soaring divorce rate, it is important to select a mental health professional who practices Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling, as the name implies, is geared toward helping couples devise practical solutions for their problems focused on meeting each other’s needs. The primary assumption of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is that relationships succeed or fail to the extent that couples meet each other’s needs and place their partner’s need on par with their own needs.

Solution-Focused Couples Counseling is a type of psychotherapy that is active, goal-driven, and focused on the here-and-now.  The central question posed by a mental health professional who practices this type of psychotherapy is “What would you be doing differently if you were doing a better job of meeting this particular need of your partner?”

There are a variety of exercises employed in the practice of Solution-Focused Couples Counseling.  One type of exercise has the couple come up with a list of what they perceive one another’s needs are. This allows for honest communication about needs and a chance to dispel misunderstandings.  Another exercise allows the couple to define specifically, in behavioral terms, what they can do to meet each other’s needs. Over the course of therapy, the couple reports back to the mental health professional how they are doing with trying out new sets of behaviors.  The emphasis is on having the couple offer each other positive feedback to try to build in more goodwill, encouragement, and engender optimism that the relationship can succeed.

Overcoming Relationship Problems

Problems can strike at relationships any time. Whether the couple is celebrating many years together or just getting to know one another, there is no immunity to such issues.  How can you avoid having these problems strike your relationships? There are several things to keep in mind during any kind of relationship problem; a few of them are listed below.  Although each relationship is unique, these tips are universal.

  1. Communicate – sometimes when couples are experiencing problems related to their feelings for each other, they retreat into themselves rather than discussing their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and emotions. Unfortunately, this may make the problem worse.  By communicating with the one you love, you may find that the problems are resolved more easily than you had anticipated. You may find that the issues you thought were a major division between you and your partner was simply a misunderstanding that had gotten blown out of proportion.
  2. The Blame Game – relationship problems often turn into a never-ending round of the blame game in which each of you blame the other.  It is important to resist this game; it does not help solve your problems and often deepens the chasm between you.  Communicate, as emphasized above, rather than playing this game.
  3. Airing Dirty Laundry – for many couples, relationship problems lead to talking to family members and friends about intensely personal, relationship issues. This can be a huge mistake.  It is important to remember that this does not help solve your problems – and your gripes may make their way back to your partner and cause tremendous conflict and resentment.

Although you, like everyone else in the world, are susceptible to relationship problems, you can overcome them. (See here for more tips on how to heal your relationship.)

Just remember to communicate, avoid playing the blame game, and resist the temptation to air your dirty laundry in a way that may intensify conflict between you and your partner.

If you employ these simple tips – as well as heeding any other good relationship advice you may have heard from people you trust – you should find that your relationship problems are resolved.  Others may crop up in the future, but you will have the tools to handle them.