Congratulations on looking for a therapist and trying to figure out what will be best for you and your relationship! It can seem like it requires endurance, when all you’re trying to do is get your mental health needs met. The good news is there are lots and lots of great relationship therapy practices! And a practice or a therapist that’s a great fit for one person, doesn’t mean that it is for you! All that matters is what works for you.


Rising Sun does not compete with other providers for “business”. We seek to support you on improving your mental health and life in ways that work for you, or to recommend those who can! We are proud to know so many competent, highly skilled practitioners and happily make referrals.


“What is Relationship Therapy?”


Relationship psychotherapy, often referred to simply as relationship or couples therapy or counseling, is a form of mental health treatment where an couple, family, or variety of individuals (such as siblings, or a thruple or polycule, or many other dynamics) meets with a trained therapist. The primary goal of relationship psychotherapy is to help the relationship address and overcome emotional and psychological challenges, improve their communication and function, and work towards growth and positive change in the relationship. This includes if the relationship is ending and seeks a therapists support to do so in a healthy manner.


In relationship therapy, the relationship is the patient. This means that the therapist’s relationship is with the relationship, not just an individual. The therapist cannot hold secrets of one individual from the other, for instance. The therapist will not be “taking sides” in the sessions.


“Why Relationship Therapy?”


People seek out a relationship therapist for a wide range of issues. Some people go for a single particular issue that they would like assistance processing in the relationship. Others seek therapist for more long term or chronic issues. A relationship’s therapy journey isn’t measured in duration of sessions and two relationship’s with the same issue, let’s say infidelity, won’t have the same experience, journey, or duration of therapy necessarily.


Relationship therapy can help improve communication, improve the expression of emotions, create new dynamics to improve connection, tackle intimacy struggles, explore hard questions, prioritize relationship goals, determine the wants and needs of each member in the relationship, assist in ending a relationship in a healthy way, take lifetimes of hurt and process emotions and experiences, and much much more.


“What if there is polyamory, CNM, ENM, monogamy, or a mix thereof in the relationship? Can we still do relationship therapy?”


Absolutely! Some therapists have particular training and clinical experience with these types of relationships, including those where one person is one orientation such as polyamorous and the other is monogamous.


“What are we supposed to do when we get there?”


Actually, there is no “supposed to”. You need to show up. That is the brave step your relationship can take to begin the process. Your therapist will not expect you to perform, to already know, to act a particular way, or to cry or not cry. You just show up and be however you are that day.


“How will I know if I’m with the right therapist?”


Building, establishing, and growing a strong therapeutic rapport is (almost) everything! Research on therapy stresses the importance of rapport with the therapist to achieving improvement in well-being. Ideally a therapist is warm, interested, curious, skilled, competent, and demonstrates care and caring.


A good fit means that you are receiving personalized care. Some forms of therapy use a single pre-determined method and approach. There are many therapists wonderfully skilled at that. Ideally, your therapist will use a personalized and individualized method tailored to your relationship’s needs. As your needs change over time, that may mean the approach changes too. You may feel a better fit with an eclectic approach that melds.


Cultural, Identity, and Lifestyle Competencies are important areas in which a therapist has foundational training, clinical experience, and ongoing education. A competent therapist can foster a deeper connection with clients seeking understanding and acceptance.


Honoring and Practicing a Holistic Approach can mean that the therapist understands the importance of not only mental health but also physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. An extensive network of medical and holistic professionals, as well as other mental health professionals, enable a therapist to make recommendations to those with the requisite training. Holistic practices and vast networks which allow for collaboration can appeal to those seeking a comprehensive approach to their overall health.

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