Many couples – regardless of their gender or legal status –end up in therapy once their relationship is already in a critical state. For these couples, therapy becomes a last resort, an attempt to “save” their relationship.
However, unhappiness and conflict do not come about overnight; instead, they tend to be the result of a long process characterized by wear, frustration and long-held grudges.
In working with couples, my main focus is centered on improving the couples’ means of communication as well as their communicational patterns. I strive to provide them with tools that can help the couple to communicate more efficiently, learning to accept and be more empathetic with their partner’s differences. This helps the couple to face their problems in such a way that the relationship does not become destructive to the individuals that comprise it .
- Going through an adoption or IVF process
- Communicational difficulties
- Loss of a loved one
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Differences in child rearing philosophies
- Cultural differences
- Issues regarding migration
- Excessive jealousy or trust issues
- Relationship impasses
In my work with cross-cultural couples, I encourage couples to understand the particular obstacles they face because of their background differences, but also work with them to develop the skills needed to navigate them.
What effects does this have on a relationship?
First of all, this can be a stress on the pace of the relationship. This means that cross-cultural couples are often faced with having to define their relationship faster than other couples. In order to be together and explore whether or not the relationship is feasible, one person might have to move to another country. This might even mean moving in together as they are getting to know each other.
Another effect is that often times one member of the relationship is stripped of their support network, a situation that can put heightened pressure on the couple. This means that the partner that is “local” often has to play the role of friend, family, partner, confidant, cultural guide, etc., for the “visiting” member. On the other hand, the “visitor” feels that they depend excessively on their partner and can feel an exaggerated sense of vulnerability.
In my work with cross-cultural couples, I encourage couples to understand the particular obstacles they face because of their background differences, but also work with them to develop the communicational skills needed to navigate them