"Relationships Are End All Be All"
Relationships with others are a source of greatest joy as well as most intense pain in our lives. Romantic relationships present potential for deepest connection, attachment, feelings of love and being loved.
We also know how often relationships change over time and are a source of our deepest pain and dissatisfaction.
Some couples come to my office in NYC with their relationships in shambles, as a last ditch effort before breaking up. Some have a really solid connection but are in a state of crisis, going through a difficult passage, looking for help and guidance on how to get past it. Couples Therapy is often very successful in bringing a couple closer, by working through areas of conflict and rebuilding or reinforcing the connection, intimacy and partnership. The key is a commitment to the relationship, work, openness and willingness to grow and if needed, making some adjustments in one's actions and attitude.
Couples disagree and break up typically over Money, Sex and Children, because these are emotionally and psychologically loaded areas which bring into focus our deepest values, attachments and expectations.
My Approach to Couples and Marriage Counseling:
We generally start Couples Therapy by creating a clear understanding of key issues in the relationship and come to agreement about what they are and in what order of priority they need to be addressed. I try to establish an atmosphere of honesty, openness and safety in our counseling sessions. I ask Couples Therapy clients to try to listen to each other as if they are hearing what is being said for the first time. We explore the core differences, their origins and their impact on the relationship. Together we create a vision for the relationship based on each person's and couples goals and values. We find ways to address and resolve whatever issues stand in the way of you and your partner having a satisfying and loving relationship.
In Couples Counseling we often examine these issues:
Unresolved Resentment and Hurt:
People in relationships inadvertently or purposely say and do hurtful things to each other. These feelings fester over time, poisoning and sometimes destroying love and closeness. It is important to talk and bring these hurts and resentments into the open so the couple can start to heal and find resolution. These issues can be effectively dealt with in Couples Therapy.
It is impossible to have a healthy relationship without honest, open communication. Couples over time become entrenched in unhealthy communication patterns in which they feel stuck and of which they may not be aware. These patterns come out of each person's history as well as particular dynamics of the relationship. In couples therapy we try to explore and identify negative patterns and pave the way for other possibilities. Romance and Sex.
Many couples in committed relationships complain of diminished passion, desire, romance and sex over time. In Couples Therapy we can work to find the causes and factors that have lead to a romantic estrangement and focus counseling on finding ways to reconnect and rekindle passion.
A high percentage of marriages end in a divorce. Experience has shown that only time proves the value of our choice in a partner. Many marriages end in a divorce because we make a wrong choice or the choice we have made no longer fits. Early attraction does not guarantee a strong relationship. People change over time in ways contrary to early expectations. Choosing a right mate requires insight into who we are as well as who we believe our partner to be. Instead of fantasizing future perfect life, in Couples Counseling we identify your mutual goals, understand ideas about love and affection, issues with your families, career paths, household responsibilities and duties, shared recreation, conflict resolution and, of course, romance and sex.
- Reasons To Start Couples
or Marriage Counseling
- Your romance and sexual activity is diminished or non-existent
- Most of your attempts to talk turn into arguments
- You are having major disagreements on how to parent
- You are struggling with infertility problems
- You are experiencing resentment about the involvement of your in-laws in your marriage
- There are differences about how to deal with money
- One of you is ready to commit or go to the next step and the other is not
- One or both of you is thinking about or is having an affair
- Patient Testimonial
"When we came to see Irina, we were thinking about separation. We could not have a discussion without screaming within a few minutes. We have not had any intimate relations in over a year. This was our last chance at working things out before going to a divorce lawyer and we were pushed into this by a friend, an ex-patient of Irina Firstein. We have been working with Irina in therapy now for about 4 months and are seeing a lot of progress. We are able to have conversations without explosions, we can discuss things between us and are hearing each other. We are also starting to reconnect sexually and are having affectionate feelings for each other again. Things look very hopeful for us." Denise,33 and Rob, 36