Couples often turn to therapy as a means to navigate through their issues and rebuild their connection. While therapy can help improve many aspects of a relationship, there are certain issues that therapy may not be able to fully resolve. We explore five common relationship issues that therapy may struggle to fix. Let’s see why they persist and alternative approaches to addressing them.
1. Lack of Fundamental Emotional Compatibility:
The word ‘fundamental’ points to the level of incompatibility that turns up in communication styles. Like, difficulty expressing emotions or clashing attachment styles. These days there are tons of videos on Instagram explaining how attachment styles sometimes lead to this issue being unfixable. The truth is that while therapy can certainly provide tools and techniques to improve communication, it may not be able to alter deep-seated emotional differences. It is best to seek support from experts who specialize in individual emotional growth. The next step would be to explore if the relationship’s emotional limits can be reconciled.
2. Fundamental Values Misalignment:
When couples have differing beliefs and values regarding major life decisions, therapy faces its limitations. These include starting a family, having children, steering the development path of a child, looking after their own individual career goals, around or religious practices (not to mention fanatic political views). The challenge is to reconcile deep values that impact the direction and fulfilment of each individual’s life. Take the time to consider if a compromise is possible or if the misalignment is too significant for a successful long-term relationship. Usually, later is the case.
3. Unresolved Past Trauma:
Trauma experienced by one or both partners can alter the relationship dynamics. Therapy can help individuals heal and provide a safe space for discussing their trauma within the context of the relationship. However, unresolved trauma may continue to have a ripple effect on a couple’s relationship. This ends up leading to recurring patterns of emotional distress and difficulty in fully trusting one another. The trust is neither formed nor do the individuals allow for trust to form. The patterns create blockages as well as manifestation of more traumatic experiences within the couple which leads to a complete breakdown. In such cases, individual therapy or trauma-specific therapies may be necessary to fully address and heal from past traumas.
4. Constant Power Struggles:
In some relationships, power struggles become an ongoing pattern that hinders intimacy and growth. Add to that, the pressure of family dynamics, egotistical expectations and selfish career choices. It’s a sad situation in the life of this couple because even though therapy can provide strategies for improving communication and resolving conflicts, it may not be able to fundamentally shift the dynamics of power imbalances. Power struggles often stem from deeper-rooted issues such as a lack of respect, parental avoidant behaviour in childhood, control issues, and other unresolved childhood experiences. Drug abuse and substance overuse adds to the problem. Additional support, such as personal growth work or couples coaching, may be beneficial.
5. Irreparable Betrayal:
Betrayals, such as infidelity or a breach of trust, can rock the foundation of any relationship. While therapy facilities open dialogue and forgiveness, it may not be enough to repair the deep wounds caused by betrayal. With the blame game that often becomes a pattern in such situations, rebuilding trust takes time and a commitment from both partners to actively work on restoring the relationship.
When it comes to relationship challenges, therapy also has its limits. It’s crucial to recognise that certain issues, such as those listed above, may require alternative approaches or support beyond traditional therapy. Remember, every relationship is unique, and finding the right combination of support and strategies is key to overcoming obstacles and discovering a path towards a healthier and happier future together.
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