Whether you're planning on marrying or are already married...
Whether it's a work collegue or a close friend...
Whether it's a relationship with your child or with your parent...
Counseling can help you to achieve a better relationship.
Whether you both agree to come to counseling or just one of you...
Sandy can help you to gain insight into the relationship.
Call her at 480-351-0306 for an appointment.
Individuals in Relationships
Feeling stressed out by in your relationship all by yourself?
Do you ever find yourself the only one in the relationship who senses something is wrong or a bit out of sorts?
Or are you the only one who sees the proverbial “elephant in the room”?
Are you wondering if you can go it alone to improve the relationship?
Feeling angry that your partner seems like he/she has little or no interest in improving your relationship?
Do you find yourself losing hope when your partner refuses to go get help together?
Or has your partner even refused to even talk about what’s bothering you about your relationship?
Do you ever wonder if you may be part of the problem?
Or wonder if you can even talk about the relationship problems without your spouse or partner?
You may find yourself saying, “It’s hard being the only one motivated to get help!”
Many couples end up “between a rock and a hard place” where one or both feel stuck and struggle to make sense of their relationship and try and find hope in getting things to change. However, more often than not, this attempt to get things to change falls onto one of the spouses or partners who is much more motivated to find answers to their relationship problems than the other who may not be ready for whatever reasons. The motivated spouse or partner sometimes battles within themselves to see how they can ever get help to improve the relationship without the support of their partner.
Help IS Around the Corner
Sandy is trained in relationship counseling to address your situation in a private, compassionate and supportive way. We have helped many individuals improve the quality of their relationship by listening first of all to their pain, struggles, frustrations, and longings in order to help guide them through the difficulties. Further, we help our clients see how their actions and attitude have affected them and their relationship and helped them learn how to engage positively to promote getting their relationship needs met.
Yes, you can improve your relationship on your own! With the assistance of a caring, experienced Pathways counselor you can:
Some Q & A
Will it help to work on my relationship alone?
This is a question that is often asked when only one is seeking counseling. Many spouses or partners can lose motivation when the other refuses to actively work on their relationship. The motivated one may have questioned if it would help to go to counseling alone. However, what many have found in this situation is that when they actively work on how they are affecting their relationship, their attitude significantly improves which then may directly or indirectly improve the quality of the relationship. One spouse or partner’s effort can go a long way! Although it is generally the practice in counseling to have both present to address couples’ concerns, by assisting the one who is present for counseling often times will empower her/him through her/his own thoughts, feelings, actions and attitude in order to find comfort, courage and strength to take back into the relationship as well as to make significant strides for his or herself.
If I come to counseling alone will my partner eventually join me?
This comes up a lot for those who decide to work on their relationship without their spouse or partner. While it may be a hopeful to assume your partner will join you for couples counseling after you have started the process of counseling, what many have found is that when they make the commitment to actively work on their relationship, their spouse or partner will begin to notice positive changes in actions and attitude and discover an interest in participating in the process. Your desire and commitment to your relationship issues often “rubs off” onto the other!
What if my partner’s problems are the reasons for our relationship difficulties?
Sometimes it may appear as if one spouse or partner is the only one “responsible” for the conflicts and troubles. However, this is very rarely the case! What most have found is that both spouses/partners contribute to their relationship problems. As hard as it is to recognize now, this even occurs when there has been infidelity in the relationship (especially by the non-committed spouse or partner). Progress can in fact be made even when the unfaithful partner does not participate in counseling.
What happens if I work on myself and make changes, but my spouse does not join in?
This concern is common which may prevent someone from working on their relationship alone. What many clients discover is that as she/he changes, the other one does too in one form or another. Often times there is a delicate balance in the relationship so that when one spouse or partner changes how they communicate and approach the other, the other one (even if not in therapy) will take notice and begin to change how they respond.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Sandy at 480-351-0306.
Artile credit: Pathways Counseling Services, by permission.
Five Signs I’m in an Unhealthy Relationship
Are there times when you feel way out of place in your relationship with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or partner? Do you find yourself upset most of the time with him and not sure why? Do you think she is “playing with” your emotions? Are there times when you feel confused, like being in some sort of time warp or not too forthcoming when other friends ask you about your relationship? Do you get a weird or sick feeling when it comes to loving, respecting or trusting each other? Is there a lack of clear, understandable communication or the communication turns into a fight?
You are not alone when it comes to wondering if you are in an unhealthy relationship with someone. We as counselors have found that people in these situations are pretty sure they are in one and realize they need to get the emotional strength and help to figure out what to do. We are not talking about an occasional fight or rough day or times when someone feels unsatisfied in their relationship. People go through ups and downs in their relationships (get help when needed) and make it through. No, we are talking about those who day after day week after week feel worn down physically, battle disruptive internal emotions, wrestle with thoughts of pain and anguish in terms of their interactions with their perspective partner.
Here are five warning signs or “red flags” that you need to be aware of in order to put things in perspective, consider help, and to become empowered to move in a more healthy direction.
- Fear of breaking up – The fear of breaking up can appear in different forms. You may not want to upset your boyfriend or girlfriend as you feel he or she may become very angry, upset or possibly violent; you may not want to be the “bad guy”; you sense that he/she may do something harmful to themselves if you “broke up”; you feel guilty or ashamed over how he/she may feel about your decision. You may feel that you are the “only one” who truly understands him/her. Each of these fears needs to be considered as warning signs that you may be in a harmful relationship.
- Feel physically sick – You find yourself calling off from work or that you are tired more often than not especially if it is linked to stress in your relationship. It may take you longer to get over a sickness then it use to. You know somehow that your situation has gotten worse over time and your body is just wearing down. Be aware however, that sickness is not necessarily directly linked to an unhealthy relationship so a visit with your healthcare provider would be advised to help determine if there may be something else happening with you.
- Friends and/or family express their concerns – Time and time again you hear from your friends or family that they sense you have changed in a negative way because of how things are going in your relationship. They may something like, “Wow, you sure have changed a lot since you’ve been with “______”; “you just don’t seem like yourself”; “you’re not looking well these days” and other kinds of comments. They express concerns about your health and well-being, how your mood has badly changed, how you look, how you may not be taking care of yourself as you once did or how your partner may be emotionally, mentally and/or physically harsh with you. Certainly friends and family want what’s best for you as they may say but when you hear from a few of them who (may or may not know each other) that they are saying pretty much the same thing then take notice!
- Feel trapped – You may feel like you have no other place to go or you may feel like your partner will have no place to go and you don’t want to be the one who initiates this break up. You may have a lot of bills, or you have children involved and you don’t want to be left “out in the cold” without any other place to go. Many times when you think about leaving you feel very stressed out and options of what you could do fade away as if the only option is to stay in the relationship. You are isolated from others for various reasons; you feel you are in a power struggle or being controlled by your partner; you may feel like you have to get “approval” for simple tasks or you think about how your partner may act when you give your input in decisions and you may remain silent or minimize what you offer. You may feel closed in like you are being monitored or questioned about most of or nearly all of your activities which may even include activities you do together especially if you are around others. You may even blame yourself for the heartaches that you, he/she or both of you are going through.
- You lost yourself – There may be times you wonder who you are anymore. You use to have goals that you strove for, you were optimistic about the future and you set yourself out to achieve your goals. You had direction in your life. You use to take care of yourself with a good healthy diet, nutrition and quality exercise but now you find these things lacking. You have found that you have sacrificed your values or morals in order “to be” with him/her. You sense that your positive traits have been quelled or rejected in your relationship. Your self-esteem has all but disappeared and you may even find yourself “walking on egg shells” when around your partner. Further, you may have started doing or increased in doing things that are harmful to yourself (such as a “junk food” diet, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking, or drugging) of which you both may be doing.
Out of these five signs, seek to get clarity and make the time to sort them out. Getting together with an objective third party who is not biased may be very beneficial to sort out things you may not see or want to see. You may want to connect with one of our counselors who is objective, a good listener, helpful in problem-solving, and who may be able to help you through these difficult times.
Article credit: Pathways
Counseling Services, by permission.
Hope in Your Relationship
Do you find yourself stuck in your relationship?
Does it seem you are “grinding” through it?
Are you feeling sucked dry and empty after frequent arguments or “fights”?
Does it seem you are so distant from your partner that he/she is like a roommate instead of a companion?
Or do you find yourself staying away entirely from him/her?
If you and your partner are dissatisfied in your relationship, you are not alone…
Through the course of life, many people engage in intimate relationships that have not lived up to their expectations in one form or another. As a result, they feel stuck or stagnate, distant, alone, empty and just plain dissatisfied in their relationship. Life and the stress of life wear us down and we long for a companion who listens, understands, hangs out, and cheers for us. However, emotional distance, the rat race of life, trying to pay bills, managing schedules, and a whole bunch of other stuff leads many couples feeling hopeless, dejected and giving up on having any kind of satisfying relationship. So what ends up happening is they tend to lash out at the other partner, withhold affection, become angry, maybe a bit hyper-sensitive to the other partner’s mannerisms or lack of involvement in being a couple. After a while, they may start to look elsewhere for love, affection, hope, peace, and fulfillment. This may not be their desire because they truly want to make things work but just are stuck or many times they don’t know how to work through the challenges and difficulties of the relationship.
Please don’t remain stuck, angry, lonely, tired and scared in your relationship. With your counselor's compassion, insight and experience you can:
- Be empowered with effective communication skills
- Practice active listening in order to communicate well
- Resolve current conflict and past resentments
- Re-establish the “We” in your relationship
- Build a relationship on a foundation of love, respect, trust and commitment
- Restore the love and passion you once had for each other
How do I know counseling will help us?
Talking to a complete stranger about intimate and private matters truly seems a bit overwhelming at first and I can definitely understand the hesitation and perhaps a little pessimism about going to counseling. A lot of couples I’ve worked with have felt the same way in the beginning in terms of not knowing what to expect, if they will like me or what I have to say or offer, wondering if their partner is going to “stick it out” in the counseling process, or if things will ever get better. What many couples found was that through the first few sessions of them applying what they learned in session with me and more importantly what they learned about each other, they quickly began to see hope that their relationship was changing for the better.
What if our disagreements don’t seem to be resolvable?
This is a common fear with many couples and it’s a legitimate one given the fact that many times in the past disagreements have turned into conflict and thus unproductive at best if not cause for intervention. Many couples who I’ve seen initially felt this same way and have felt discouraged. However, couples who were willing to work on their relationship found that little by little when they turned toward each other putting to practice what they learned found that they not only became more hopeful and encouraged but regained what they had lost and gained “tools” for a happier and fulfilling relationship.
This sounds like a lot of work.
This concern may be the most common with many couples I have seen. It really is not surprising for you to feel this way. Couples who are stuck in their relationship rarely have any leftover emotional energy to devote back to their relationship. After all, they have gone down A LOT of dead-end roads in an attempt to resolve their problems and things either didn’t change or even became worse! What these couples found was that early in counseling the renewed hope they felt (after discovering the keys to a fulfilling relationship) quickly energized them. A taste of success for their relationship really motivated them to work harder than they would have ever imagined.
Contact Sandy to schedule an appointment, 480-351-0306.
Article credit: Pathways Counseling Services, by permission.
If You Love Me, Then Why Do We Fight?
Guest Writer, Dr. Jessica Dorland, MS MEd LAC DBH
“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything!”
“Don’t talk back to me!”
“Don’t raise your voice to me!”
There is a belief that you shouldn’t feel angry with someone you love, but it is irrational to expect two unique human beings (no matter how much they love each other) not to have some conflict. As kids we are all taught that expressing anger is wrong, we are taught that angry feelings aren’t acceptable but this only teaches us to be ashamed of a natural response that can’t be avoided, and ultimately an appropriate expression of anger is not learned.
Kids who are ashamed of their feelings don’t learn how to fully express themselves. These kids grow up to be adults who can’t express their anger. We often struggle in jobs or relationships because people don’t understand what we aren’t communicating.
But anger and love do mix.
It is important to communicate anger in a healthy way to people you love, and it’s important to teach our children to do the same so that they can express their desires and dislikes without emotional chaos.
If you are struggling to be understood, counseling can help. A licensed therapist can help you communicate more effectively. Schedule an appointment today… learn to express your anger in a healthy way.
For more articles by Dr. Jessica Dorland, visit her website.
3 Small Habits To Strengthen Your Marriage
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