When couples come to therapy to work on their relationship at the Holding Space, they may not realize that they will be doing a lot of exploration within their own individual self as well. There are three components in couples therapy: each individual person and the coupleship itself. We work on the presenting problems in the coupleship when we begin, as that is why the couple came to Couples Therapy in Los Angeles, CA. Then we start to dig deeper into each person’s self, history, and family of origin. We bring as much as we can to the table to understand each person better to see why they trigger one another and where it all started.
Understanding Triggers in Couples Therapy
Most of the time, people come to couples therapy for one or more of the following reasons: communication difficulties, problems in their sexual life, or rebuilding trust. Whichever the presenting problem is that couples come to therapy for, one thing that is always present is the trigger dance. This is when one person triggers the other person, that person reacts in a defensive way which, in turn, triggers their partner back. This can get volleyed back and forth in perpetuity until one of the partners decides to do something differently. This can look like one of the partners not responding, taking a pause and calmly responding, walking away, or hugging their partner. There are many ways in which we can shift a pattern in a coupleship. This is part of the process in couples therapy; we get to learn what these patterns are in the coupleship.
The Role of Triggers in Relationship Dynamics
After the initial few sessions where we learn about the presenting challenges within the coupleship, we start to dive a bit deeper into the individual history of each person. We want to learn where these triggers come from. A trigger doesn’t start in that coupleship. A trigger is a stimulus that can cause a reaction. It is brought about because something happens in real time that elicits a familiar feeling that is associated with a negative, and often traumatic, experience.
We all have triggers and we all have varying degrees of trauma that we incurred along the path of life. We often end up with partners that are familiar in some ways, even in these negative and traumatic ways. This is not a bad thing! We get to utilize opportunities with our partners in order to heal these old wounds. We won’t be able to heal from these wounds, however, until we are aware of them. Let me explain.
If we are with a partner that triggers us in a familiar way, time and again, that can feel awful and we will most likely leave that coupleship. We may not understand why this person makes us feel so awful in these arguments and disagreements. It’s as if there is a button in our body that they press and boom! We are immediately activated and seething with anger, or fear, or sadness. The more this happens, without any repair or solution, the more intense these triggers start to feel. We may even think that our partner is the cause of them. BUT... if we decide to become aware of these triggers and their actual origin, we then have a chance to heal these old wounds and to have a healthy relationship with our partner even with the triggers.
Building a Healthy and Lasting Relationship through Couples Therapy
To become aware of the origin of the triggers, we must do some personal deep dives which can definitely be a part of couples therapy. In couples therapy, as I mentioned earlier, there are three components with the coupleship only being just one of them. The other two components are the individuals. When we use our therapy to deep dive into one of the individuals, that is where we get to learn the origin of these triggers. We will trace them back to your family of origin, most likely, and discover the wounding and trauma that occurred. With that information, we can help our partner have more compassion and understanding for the triggered partner.
With this information and different responses, we can work on healing these old wounds together as a coupleship. We can take these triggered moments as opportunities to heal the trauma that was incurred as children or younger adults. When we have a different response to a trigger than we have typically experienced in our lives, that is where the healing begins. So without the awareness of the trauma and the origin of the trigger, we are doomed to repeat the patterns with no resolution and no healing. However, with the exploration and excavation of our personal life histories, we have endless opportunity, hope, and capacity for a healthy, loving, and long lasting relationship.
Grow within your Relationship through Couples Therapy in Los Angeles, CA with The Holding Space
Ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and relationship growth through Couples Therapy in Los Angeles, CA? If you and your partner are seeking to understand each other better, navigate challenges, and foster a deeper connection, now is the time to take the first step. The Holding Space provides a safe space to explore your individual histories, understand your triggers, and heal old wounds, all while strengthening your bond as a couple. Together, you can build a healthier, more fulfilling relationship grounded in self-awareness and mutual understanding. To begin your transformative journey towards a more harmonious and connected partnership follow the steps below:
Other Therapy Services Offered at The Holding Space in Los Angeles, CA
At The Holding Space, we offer more than just Couples Therapy in Los Angeles, CA. Our therapy services are designed to address various aspects of your relationship and personal well-being. Our experienced therapists focus on areas like Anxiety treatment, Couples Therapy, Depression treatment, Addiction Therapy, Art Therapy, Brainspotting Therapy, and LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy. We also provide support for common issues like relationships, family, parenting, codependency, illness, and trauma. Whether you're seeking help for your relationship or other areas of your life, our Los Angeles-based practice is here for you. Reach out today to discover how we can help you build a stronger, healthier relationship.