In relationship, there are many aspects that connect people. When we think of intimacy, we often think of the physical and sexual components of a relationship (e.g., kissing, sex, holding hands). In reality, intimacy can be much more than that, and is best described as the closeness or connectedness we often feel with those we love. (1)
Challenges surrounding intimacy and closeness in relationship can present in a variety of ways. For example, challenges with intimacy might present as struggles to be involved in each other’s lives or difficulty expressing emotion. For others, spending less time with each other or changes in how present we are in each other’s day- to-day lives, might indicate difficulties surrounding intimacy. Unfortunately, when these issues remain unsolved, relationships are at risk of breaking down. Luckily, one way to help rebuild the intimacy within relationship is through relationship counselling. (1)
What is relationship counselling?
Relationship counselling offered by a registered counsellor can support couples in settling their differences, resolving interpersonal conflicts, and improving their understanding of each other. If you’re struggling with intimacy issues, we encourage you to check out relationship counselling Vancouver for support in resolving and working through intimacy concerns.
Some of the ways in which relationship counselling can support couples includes:
Honest and consistent communication is a key factor in maintaining a healthy and connected relationship. When couples find themselves experiencing a lack of connectedness in their relationships, reaching out and openly communicating can prove to be difficult. Unfortunately, this can exacerbate intimacy challenges and result in couples experiencing further feelings of disconnection. Through working with a supportive relationship counsellor, couples can work to bolster their communication skills and deepen their connection with their loved one (2).
In counselling, both parties will be encouraged to identify, explore and express their thoughts, experiences and emotions with their partner in the safety of the therapeutic relationship. This practice can assist couples in developing and fostering healthy communication patterns, positive conflict resolution skills and strong active listening skills- ultimately paving the way for deeper intimacy and connection.
Strengthening bonds and enhance understanding towards others
Self- awareness allows us to make sense of our experiences and creates space for us to process and label our emotions. Building a strong sense of self- awareness and a healthy relationship with ourselves sets the stage for us being able to build healthy relationships with others. Self-awareness and a strong sense of self assist us in appropriately expressing our emotions and needs when conflict or disagreements arise in our relationships. (1) (2)
Working with a counsellor can assist partners in fostering a better understanding of both themselves and their partner. A skilled counsellor can support partners in taking responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions; ultimately reducing unnecessary avoidance and blame. Exploring supports such as relationship therapy Vancouver may help couples strengthen their bond and intimacy by virtue of deepening their understanding of themselves and others.
When we struggle with self-esteem, we often struggle to feel worthy and valued. When this is the case, it makes sense that we would struggle to be authentic and vulnerable in the context of our closest relationships. Low self- esteem can create roadblocks to intimacy, ultimately making it challenging for us to show up as our true and authentic selves. When we struggle to be our true selves in relationship, we minimize the depth of connection we can experience with our partners. Relationship counselling can help both parties foster a stronger sense of self-worth and improve feelings of confidence and personal acceptance. Couples who have an established self-esteem have an increased likelihood of maintaining strong intimacy, thus increasing their chances of having a lasting relationship. (1)
Resolving commitment issues
The level of commitment we feel in our relationships can be impacted by a variety of factor. A common factor that impacts levels of commitment are our individual priorities. Couples who experience differing priorities in life may experience challenges with commitment. When we anticipate that our partner wants different things out of life, the incongruence we feel may impact our desire and ability to fully commit to the relationship (3).
Attending relationship counselling sessions can help all parties voice their perspectives and experiences in the context of a safe and supportive environment. Together, partners and therapists can work together collaboratively to negotiate, compromise and identify shared priorities and goals.
Promoting better mental and physical health
A healthy brain and body create a positive foundation from which to build a relationship. When we are not experiencing health difficulties and stressors, we are better able to be more present and engaged in our relationships. This ultimately provides an avenue for more connectedness and intimacy. (1)
With the help of a counsellor, both parties can work to identify health challenges and shift towards bolstering and healing mental and physical ailments that may be present. Improved mental and physical wellness assists us in being better able to identify and work through relational difficulties as they present in a healthy and effective way- thus opening the door to greater connection and intimacy.
Improve family and marriage setting
Parenting disagreements, family conflicts and general stressors of family life can impact our ability to connect with our partners. These stressors can create blocks to us feeling as though we have the capacity, time and space to fully and deeply connect in our relationships (3).
Through relationship counselling, families can work to improve family dynamics that may be increasing stress and conflict in the home. Counsellors can assist families in identifying the root of their problems and assist them in coming up with actionable solutions to assist in improving family functioning. Healthy family dynamics help to build better intimacy within the context of not only the couple, but the family unit as a whole.
If you are struggling with intimacy, the support of a qualified relationship counsellor may support you and your loved ones in fostering stronger intimacy and closeness. Relationship counselling can assist couples in improving communication challenges, resolving commitment issues, establishing stronger self-esteem, and ultimately improving their mental, emotional and physical well-being.
- “Resolving intimacy problems in a relationship”, Source: https://mensline.org.au/relationship-advice-for-men/resolving-intimacy-problems-in-a-relationship/
- “A concept analysis of intimacy”, Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1988378/
- “The Challenges of Keeping an Intimate Relationship: An Evolutionary Examination”, Source: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1474704920953526