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How is couples counseling for same-sex couples different from opposite-sex couples counseling?

For the most part it’s not. Same-sex couples deal with many of the same issues in couples therapy that opposite-sex couples do. Most couples come across the common issues of sex, finances, household duties, and family. The need to learn better communication skills, learn the art of conflict resolution and compromise, recognize and break dysfunctional patterns, and find ways to reconnect or stay connected are all common things dealt with in couples counseling for all couples.

Good communication is a two way street and the ultimate goal should be to better understand your partner.

That said, there are some issues that are unique to same-sex couples. Being a member of the LGBTQ community poses its own unique set of challenges that are bound to leak over into your relationships. As a same-sex couple, you may be faced with a lack of acceptance by family or friends, and on a larger scale, a lack of acceptance by society in general. Issues may arise in trying to navigate through the decision to come out to family and friends. Couples deal with feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration over not being allotted many of the same privileges that straight couples are granted. The desire to become a parent also presents its own unique set of obstacles for same-sex couples who wish to fulfill that desire.

  • Keys to a better same-sex relationship
    • learn better communication skills
    • learn conflict resolution
    • recognize dysfunctional patterns
    • reconnect in new ways

Even the happiest and healthiest of couples run across difficult times. All of these things, and many others, can be addressed in couples therapy so that you can gain the coping skills and strategies needed to deal with any common or unique issues that arise and pose a challenge to your relationship. When going through a difficult time in your relationship, one of the most effective ways to start the mending process is implementing basic healthy communication skills. The key to good communication is to really listen to what your partner is expressing to you and then attempt to understand their perspective. Often times we are so concerned with trying to get our point across, that we forget to take the time to hear what our partner is trying to communicate to us. Good communication is a two way street and the ultimate goal should be to better understand your partner. If you are both working to understand each other, real work can be done to better your relationship.

Priscilla Hurd, LPC, NCC

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