Psychotherapy and Couples Counseling in Five Minutes: Strengthen your Relationships while Fighting

Most couples in relationships and marriage sooner or later find themselves arguing and fighting. These disagreements many times are highly emotionally taxing and usually do not feel good. The temporary disconnect with your partner during these moments of disagreement is so unsettling that it almost feels like your love, relationships, and marriage is falling apart. Before you consider marriage and couples counseling, there is something for you to consider:

Most couples seeking couples counseling and marriage counseling in my Valencia and Beverly Hills psychotherapy clinics report frequent arguments and fighting. These disagreements many times are emotionally taxing and do not feel good. The temporary disconnect with your partner during these moments of disagreement is so unsettling that it almost feels like your love, relationships, and marriage is falling apart. Before you consider marriage counseling or couples counseling, there is something for you to consider:


Arguments are an inevitable part of most healthy relationships. It is not a common thing to hear from a psychologist and a psychotherapist, however, this is true. Arguments can be very effective tools for clarifying boundaries and rules within your relationship, and as such, arguments can actually bring you closer together and increase mutual respect, love, and appreciation. Most couples experience arguments and even occasional fights. Since arguments are a natural part of a healthy relationship, wouldn’t you want to know how to use these moments as an opportunity for bettering your relationships?


Yes – you heard me: Arguments, when done right, can increase mutual appreciation, love, and intimacy. So, dear couples, you have two options. One is for you to come over to my Beverly Hills or Valencia couples counseling clinic and allow me help you through the challenges in your relationship. I would recommend trying out option number two first: prior to considering couples counseling and marriage counseling you might want to consider the following tips and see how it can help you in your relationship.


Beverly Hills and Valencia Couples Counseling Relationship Tips:How to fight constructively!


1. Have a goal in mind.

If you ask a psychologist or a psychotherapist what is the purpose of an argument, the answer is likely to be that the purpose of an argument is clarification of boundaries and expectations in your relationship. Keep your desired end-result in mind. This will help you accomplish two things.

First, keeping your goal in mind will keep you on track toward the desirable resolution.

Second, keeping the desired goal in mind will allow you some emotional objectivity in the process of the argument, which will prevent things from overheating.


2. One issue at a time.

Make sure you stick to the issue you are arguing about. Take it from a psychotherapist – jumping from one issue to the next will resolve nothing and only create tension and negativity. Remember the ultimate goal – resolution! Pick one battle at a time, and while maintaining the desired resolution in mind, focus on that particular issue for now. One issue at a time!


3. Use direct language.

Speak your mind loud and clear. After all – it is a fight. Psychologist advice tends at time to be fluffy.  This is not the case here. Lay out your cards on the table. Avoid emotional blackmailing and passive aggressive techniques such as pouting and silent treatment. Speak up and make sure you speak from your own perspective. State what makes you upset, why it is upsetting to you, what meaning you assign to this incident or issue, and how it makes you feel in the relationship. Speak for yourself and clarify your position to your partner.


4. Avoid swearing if you can.

If you cannot – make sure the target of your potty mouth is the behavior or issue you argue about, rather than your spouse. Never use offensive language toward someone you love – EVER!!! Shifting an argument from the issue to the person is the biggest and most destructive mistake couples make at home and in marriage counseling alike. Stating that the behavior was nasty and inconsiderate is different from stating that your partner is nasty and inconsiderate. Make sure to separate the behavior from the person, and focus on the issue. After all, you want to eliminate the disagreement, and not your partner.


5. Louder is not always clearer.

If you are waking up the neighbors, you are probably not being effective in your communication.  The louder you are the harder it is to hear you. Our brain is wired to shift into “Fight or Flight” mode when the person in front of us loses their s***t. It is also known as a survival mode, which channels all our resources into self-preservation and logical reasoning in these moments shuts down.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to know that when we are yelled at our internal focus shifts from the content of what is being said to our own feelings, upset and self-protection. If your partner is incapable of thinking straight as you are exercising your vocal cords, your message does not reach the target audience. It also means that you are not keeping the end result and the desired resolution in mind. Regroup and lower your voice before continuing.


6. Allow your spouse to respond and gage if they are on the same page.

Check if they have an understanding of the issue and the reason you are upset right now. If they do not – clarify until they do, and ask them directly whether they understand why you are upset. The purpose of any communication is mutual understanding. In this particular issue the insight into each other’s feelings and mental processes is not the only goal. You also probably want to be on the same page with your partner. Check whether you are on your way toward the desired end result.


7. Once your partner is getting the issue, clarify what exactly you want. Explain how you would like the situation resolved at this moment, or in the future.


8. In case your resolution is not acceptable for your spouse, repeat what makes you upset at this moment and ask your spouse for solutions.


9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until mutually acceptable resolution is found and agreed upon.


10. Once the issue is resolved, make up. Reconnect, do something sweet for your spouse.


Now you have effectively created a clear boundary in your relationship and avoided finding yourself in marriage counseling or couples counseling Good job! In case a professional intervention is required to make your relationship into a happy one, please feel free to seek out my help in my Beverly Hills and Valencia psychotherapy clinics.


Dr. Harel Papikian
Relationship Empowerment

9300 Wilshire Blvd. #306
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

25350 Magic Mountain Parkway #170
Valencia, CA 91355

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