Picture of Joy Wagner, LMFT-IT

Joy Wagner, LMFT-IT

Is it Now or Never?

Do you ever have times in your relationship when you wonder if it is worth it to be together? Relationships can be a real challenge for anyone. I am a couples therapist. I help couples to gain insights into patterns and issues that might be causing them to not be able to resolve their issues. I also look for where they might need some fine tuning in conflict resolution, intimacy, or communication. We can also work on issues related to mental illness, life changes, trauma or infidelity.

I am the owner of Healing Relationships located in Mayville. It is very exciting to reach out to my community through this column and have the opportunity to share my knowledge and answer some of your questions.

Therapy can feel intimidating and like a huge investment of time and money. It can be difficult to know when to make that investment. I ask you to consider a metaphor. If your relationships are like your favorite car, would you let it get too deteriorated before you brought in a mechanic? Hopefully, as soon as you started hearing strange noises or noticed any deterioration, you would go see your mechanic. You wouldn’t think about what others thought about your need for a mechanic. It is just part of the equation that cars need to be repaired. You might also make sure that your mechanic specialized in your make and model.

Here are some signs that your relational vehicle is in serious need of a relational mechanic (therapist):

You are fighting all the time.

You have been considering ending the relationship.

You would like to stay in the relationship but don’t feel that it is healthy.

The tension in the relationship is affecting your work, sleep, or eating habits.

The same issues keep resurfacing without resolution.

There has been some major event (infidelity, a significant loss, major change).

The first step is to recognize that what you are doing is not working. Once you realize that it is time for therapy, do some research and try to find someone that fits your needs. It is a great idea to ask for a consult to see if the therapist is a good fit. The therapeutic relationship is one of the strongest factors of successful outcome. If you don’t feel like the therapist understands you or connects with you, it is time to find someone who does.

Some people might have some misconceptions about my role as a therapist. My job is not to make you stay in a relationship that you don’t necessarily want to be in, to do your work for you and make your relationship something amazing or to tell you or your partner whose fault it is and that they need to change. My job is to support you and your partner as you make the repairs and learn the skills that will bring about the kind of relationship you both desire. I am the expert on therapy and you are the experts and workers of your relationship.

I work very hard to provide a therapeutic space and relationship that is nonjudgmental, positive and productive. You don’t have to wait until your relationship is in serious repair before you see me. The work is easier and quicker when you come in just for a tune up instead of a full repair.

Wherever you are at in your relationship, whether your relationship is just starting out and you would like to make sure you have the skills you both need to be successful, your relationship just needs a tune up, or your relationship is in complete disrepair and you’re not sure you even want to stay, there is an opportunity to learn, grow and heal.

I look forward to responding to your questions and expanding on relational topics that are important to you.

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