One of the biggest issues that brings couples in for therapy are their barriers in communication. When couples aren’t communicating well with each other it can leak over into all parts of the relationship. Communication barriers can lead to resentment and cause contempt to grow and trust to erode. Over time, even small issues become big issues.
Identify core values is invaluable in helping couples increase their communication and trust with one another. By doing this, couples begin to understand their partner’s point of view. A therapist’s job is to provide a safe and supportive environment for open communication and guide each partner to foster mutual understanding. Addressing differences in core values can be challenging, but with the right guidance, couples can navigate these differences in ways that create respect and compromise.
Here are some of the main goals of couples therapy using core values as the foundation:
- Establish a safe space: Therapists create a nonjudgmental and safe environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and values without fear of criticism or rejection.
- Active Listening: The therapist facilitates active listening exercises, where each partner takes turns expressing their core values and beliefs while the other partner listens attentively. This helps build empathy and understanding.
- Validation of differences: Therapists emphasize that differences in core values are natural and do not necessarily indicate a lack of compatibility. They help couples recognize that individual differences can contribute to the richness of a relationship.
- Exploring origins and influences: Therapists guide couples to explore the origins of their core values. This can include discussing family upbringing, cultural background, religious beliefs, and personal life experiences that have shaped their values.
- Identifying common ground: Therapists help couples identify areas of common ground among their core values. This can highlight shared beliefs and strengths within the relationship the couple may have missed.
- Clarifying Priorities: Couples are encouraged to discuss the importance of their core values and determine which values are non-negotiable versus those that are more flexible. This helps them prioritize the values that are non-negotiable versus those that are more flexible which leads to areas of compromise.
- Negotiation and Compromise: Therapists facilitate discussions where couples can explore compromises that align with both partners’ values. This might involve finding middle ground or creatively blending aspects of each partner’s values.
- Exploring Impact: Therapists guide couples in understanding how differences in core values impact their relationship and daily lives. This can involve discussing potential conflicts and challenges that arise from these differences.
- Communication Techniques: Therapists teach communication techniques that focus on expressing differences respectfully and constructively. Partners learn to share their perspectives without attacking or belittling each other.
- Shared Vision Building: Therapists help couples envision a shared future that respects both partners’ core values. This process encourages the couple to collaboratively design a path forward that aligns with their values.
- Acceptance and Flexibility: Therapists emphasize the importance of accepting certain differences and being flexible when appropriate. Not all differences need to be resolved; some can be managed through understanding and tolerance.
- Ongoing Dialogue: Therapists encourage couples to continue having open dialogues about their core values as their relationship evolves. Regular check-ins can help prevent misunderstandings and promote continued growth.
Ultimately, the goal of addressing differences in core values is not necessarily to eliminate these differences, but rather to create a space where partners can appreciate and work with each other’s individuality. Therapy offers couples ways to honor their own values while also building a strong foundation of mutual respect and understanding.
Luke Harty, LCSW, has been helping couples in Greenwood, Indiana build trust and communication with one another for over 8 years. To schedule an appointment today, simply fill out an intake form by clicking here. We’d be happy to hear what is happening and help you find the right counselor to help you feel better quickly. You can also read our bios here and request a specific therapist. Our physical office is located in Greenwood, Indiana and we offer teletherapy to anyone in the state of Indiana.