John P. Harris, LCSW
Old Town Neighborhood, Chicago.
Intimacy is a state of emotional relatedness that develops as two individuals gradually lower and drop the defenses and walls that separate them. For many individuals with a history of unhealthy relationships, this can be a formidable task. Fears and anxieties can emerge as they try to push past their threshold for intimacy. Much acting out behavior by intimate partners is due to an attempt to alleviate distress caused by efforts to develop intimacy with their partner. Learning ways to expand the threshold for intimacy is the goal for this issue.
Conflict inevitably exists in all human relationships. The more intense and close the relationship is the more conflict there will be. A primary goal of couples counseling is to learn how to effectively manage conflict.
Many conflicts can be traced to the divergent expectations that each partner brings to the relationship. To varying degrees conscious and unconscious, each partner brings a comprehensive list of expectations of themselves and of their partner and when these expectations are not met, conflict ensues. Other common issues in couples counseling include communication, division of responsibilities, finances, work/life priorities, boundaries, and spending time together.