There is a movie called Eat Pray Love (based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert) that I might call one of the best movies ever. It opens with this quote:
“I have a friend, Deborah, a psychologist, who was asked by the city of Philadelphia if she could offer psychological counseling to Cambodian refugees…boat people, who had recently arrived in the city. Deborah was daunted by the task. These Cambodians….had suffered genocide, starvation, relatives murdered before their eyes….years in refugee camps, harrowing boat trips to the West. How could she relate to their suffering? How could she help these people? So guess what all these people wanted to talk about with my friend Deborah, the psychologist. It was all, “I met this guy in the refugee camp. I thought he really loved me, but when we got separated… he took up with my cousin. Now he says he loves me…and keeps calling me. They’re married now. What should I do?” This is how we are.” (Eat Pray Love, 2010)
“This is how we are.” No truer words could have been printed. We humans are relational creatures created to be in relationship with one another. The difficult thing is that we struggle to be in relationship with ourselves enough, add in another person, and that stuff gets hard. So, what do we do? One route that many people take is to repeatedly try the same way of being in relationship over and over again, but with different partners. The trouble here is that this tactic assumes that changing the partner eliminates the problem. This is almost never true. We all have our own issues, baggage, and junk that we contribute to relationships and until we deal with that we will keep getting the same results. Another route some take is to hunker down and bear the storm of stress that comes from the relationship that they are in but never take steps to change it. Another instance of doing the same thing but expecting different results that will never come. Yet another route is to try, try, try to change patterns (without any outside help) only to get sucked back into the same reactions and routines that created the problems in the first place. These avenues, that generally never work, are exactly why couples therapy and therapy focused on helping us learn to be healthier in relationships exists. Because we all need help with this. There is no Relationship 101 class that we attend in school to learn how to do this. Much like parenting, we learn as we go. Why not call in reinforcements? Therapy can be that reinforcement. It can be the place where the junk from the past is aired out, new skills are learned, new patterns are created, and joy and contentment are created in the bond of two people.
I have worked with many couples, family units, and individuals to find their space of joy and contentment. If you are ready to begin this work, contact me today.