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How Individual Therapy Can Help Relational Issues

Individual Therapy | Chris Massman

There are many kinds of relationships and each brings its own share of issues. Husbands and wives will have different problems than brothers and sisters. Co-workers in a working relationship will have different issues than a boss and employee will have. Most relationships encounter some form of conflict. Sometimes this conflict is resolved on its own and sometimes you may need help. All types of relationships can benefit from therapy to strengthen and improve the bond between the two.

Your first thought may be to call a couples therapist if you are having troubles with your partner. You may think you should call a marriage and family therapist to help you resolve marriage and family issues. Or you may think group therapy would work best in helping office staff. All of these are great resources. However, don’t count out individual therapy, as it can provide a much deeper level of therapy and focus solely on your needs alone which will in turn benefit the others in your life.

What is Individual Therapy?

Individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy that allows you to meet one on one with a counselor, just you and a trained professional. No interruptions from family members and nobody else to take up time talking. The therapist will listen to your needs and teach you how to change your thoughts and behaviors in order to achieve a better life.

Individual therapy has also been called talk therapy or counseling. Think of the time set aside each week for individual therapy as an escape from the hustle and bustle of life. It gives you time to discover your needs, get positive feedback, learn coping tools that can help you take care of you so that you can be there for everyone else in your life.

Individual therapy gives you a safe space to address concerns you are having. The therapist provides a confidential environment so you can feel safe in expressing your true thoughts and feelings.

Who Can Offer Individual Therapy

A psychologist is great for working with you one on one. They are the most educated of therapists, with a doctorate degree in helping individuals deal with relational issues. They have great resources such as assessments and activities that are best for individual treatments rather than multiple person therapies.

A social worker can also offer individual therapy. They can have a bachelors’, master’s degree or doctorate in social work and are trained specifically to work with individuals and families together and separately. Social workers are also known for their work in communities and with the social welfare of a community.

Mental health counselors, or Marriage & Family Therapists have a master’s degree and become licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences.  The licensing process involves completion of 3,000 internship hours with clinical supervision by a licensed mental health professional. Licensure is complete once the therapist completes their clinical hours and passes a Law and Ethics and Clinical Exam.  Mental health counselors are experts in mental health disorders and can help you work on your personal mental health issues that may be affecting relationships.

Each of these therapists will use a variety of techniques during their sessions with you.

Techniques Used by Individual Therapists

The miracle question is used by therapists to help you visualize a day in your life where all problems were solved. What would you do in that day compared to all their other days? This is best used with individuals because there is no overlap in answers. Also, you feel more comfortable talking about your miracle day (which may not include that loved one who wanted to join you in counseling).

The empty chair technique is used by therapists to help you confront any person or anything that is causing stress or conflict in your life. This is done with individuals because it would be too hard to confront someone honestly if they were actually sitting in front of you before you. The empty chair allows you to imagine any person or object or event that has caused you pain and to tell them your feelings as if they were actually there.

Other techniques may include sand play, primal therapy, lifestyle assessments, personality assessments and even virtual reality. There are new innovations in the field of counseling happening all the time. This means that there are many theories therapist may utilize depending on the needs of the individual, couple or family in their office. If one method is not working then you and your counselor will try a new technique until you find the right one, which is another great thing about individual therapy. With group therapy, searching for a technique that works for all involved can be more challenging.

Relational Issues Commonly Dealt With in Individual Therapy

Relational issues can include a wide variety of problems. Examples are marriage issues such as infidelity or cheating, going through life stages, feeling bored in your marriage, and sexual problems.

Work related issues that can be helped with individual therapy include performance issues, harassment by a co-worker, or personality clashes, just to name a few.

Other relational issues include issues with your friendships, boss, parents, children, teachers and any other type of problem you may encounter in your daily living. An individual therapist is great at working through these one by one until all issues are resolved.

Individual Therapy | Chris Massman

Benefits of Individual Therapy

Individual therapy can offer great benefits to help you resolve relationship issues. Individual therapy can help you learn to take responsibility for your actions and the way you respond to relational problems.

Therapy can help you regain your sense of worth and personal power. You can learn to improve the quality of your relationships by learning positive techniques to implement when you interact and engage in daily living.

The therapist may also benefit from individual counseling because it allows them to get a better perspective on certain situations. It takes away some of the drama that can be caused by interruptions from your partner and you can open up more without fear of your partner finding out.

Let’s face it; there may be times when you just don’t want other people to know your business, even family members. Or, there may be personal issues you need to address first before you bring them to your group or family. This is the perfect reason to seek individual therapy to help you deal with relationship issues. It’s possible you need help coping with someone else’s behavior because you know they aren’t going to change and you feel they will not be receptive to treatment.

Whatever the reason, seeking individual therapy should be a positive, non-judgmental setting to begin to explore many issues with a trusted clinician together. You deserve the time and effort that goes into improving yourself and your surroundings, which may include improving relationships with your spouse or family members. Working on your own issues first is a great starting point. Your therapist will be able to help you determine when you are ready, and if you are ready, to move on to multiple person counseling sessions or groups.

Yes, you can improve relational issues with individual therapy, and with great success!


 


Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.