A Therapist’s Plea for the New Year

new year

Please do something about the quality of your less than happy relationship this new year. So many people wait too long to reach for help, and, look at all the time that is wasted thinking it is going to get better all by itself. The other option many people take is to build anger, resentment, and distance slowly over months and years, which affects your health and your interactions every day.

Reading a novel recently I became aware of an urgency I felt in me to speak to the characters. They were in a dreadful marriage which kept him accumulating a quiet rage against her not-so quiet rages. I wanted to rail at them, “Call a good therapist! Why are you living like this? And, what kind of model is this for your children?”

As the story builds, we meet the new secretary who is a light into his dark, gloomy life. She has her wounds as well, living with a man who doesn’t treat her well, and, who of course, has his own issues. What do you think is bound to happen?

Over the past few days, I’ve met with a number of couples who, for decades, have been angry, lonely, desperate and have not sought help until now. I have the skills to help them, and I am privileged to do that. I have to wonder, why did they lose so much time and create such a chasm between them, when good therapy can offer deep healing and can help each person take responsibility for their participation in what I call the negative “dance.”

Those negative feelings can dissipate and the communication skill they can learn will be a gift to them. So I can’t help but think of why people either choose not to get help, or spend years in disappointment, anger, regret, and loneliness.

One person said he was taught you don’t go to outside people for help: You figure it out yourself. That’s fine if you can. Most of us can’t. We’re too close to the situation, and usually biased.

Some people fear the outcome of therapy.

There are costs of money and time.

How to choose the right therapist?

Perceived stigma.

Having to disclose to a stranger.

Fear of seeming weak, of losing control.

Fear of finding out that they are part of the problem.

Perhaps there are others I’ve not thought of. However, I do know that continuing to do what you’ve always done, or speaking the way you are used to, hasn’t given you the results you crave in your partnership. None of us can really be objective about our own participation. We don’t see our blind spots.

When you begin to listen to the heart of your partner, you will have a very different impact on them. It changes the system and the loving, respectful feelings can grow again.

Changing partners, affairs, emotional exits are not the answer. Respect your investment, your commitment to each other and change that dance. Experts are out here, trained and ready to help.

Don’t put it off. Let this year begin with the hope of a deeper, richer, more satisfying love – with your partner and yourself!

Make it a Happy New Year.

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About Paula Susan

Paula Susan, MSW, LCSW, Masters in Clinical Social Work & Psychology; specialist in Trauma and Relationships since 1982. In 1991, I integrated the powerfully transformative process of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Research demonstrates that it facilitates life-altering changes more efficiently and effectively than talk therapy alone. I teach skills such as communication and anxiety relief to improve connection with others. Over the decades, I’ve come to respect how much damage even small traumatic experiences inflict on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. I consider it a privilege to help my clients understand and change what has undermined their happiness and their relationships. I do it with warmth, integrity, humor, and profound respect for those who care about the quality of this small piece of time we have on earth.www.paulasusan.com

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