Couples and Relationship Counseling in Naperville, IL. Improve your communication

All relationships have their issues.  Marriage, couples, relationships of all kinds, young and old alike, has problems.  Many people seek counseling or therapy when their usual form of solving problems isn’t working.  When communication becomes too difficult and two people come to an impasse, counseling can be an option to help.

Marriage is hard.  Being in a relationship is hard.  Being a couple is hard.  Luckily, through counseling or therapy, communication and love can be restored.  Each couple, marriage, or relationship has a particular dynamic.  There are two sets of personalities, two sets of values, back grounds, priorities, and experiences that all make up the essence of the relationship.  Communication is an important part of melding a couple’s worlds together.  There will be many differences, and you’ll need good communication to learn how to grow and mold your lives together.  Take a deep breath, and tell yourself you can do it.  As children growing up, no one teaches us how to be in relationships.  There’s no couples class in school, no intimate communication strategies seminars during the most formative years of your life, when you are learning things like math and science, therefore it’s not integrated into our psyche.  What IS embedded in our brains, is the natural relationships we have experienced.  Usually with parents or peers, possible a relationship or two along the way.  And there is no guarantee that healthy communication styles were taught and practiced.  You get what you got.  And now as adults we have to deal with it.  And probably change it.  And that’s OK.



Ever try to tell someone something and they interpret it a completely different way than you intended?  That’s the send-and-receive miscommunication.  The way we mean things and try to communicate things, are not always the way the other person hears it.  Communication is an essential part of a healthy relationship.  We must learn to say things in a way where the other person can hear it.  And vice versa.  A common communication mistake I hear couples saying is “I understand”.  While that’s great, how does the person KNOW you understand.  Reflection communication is something we teach and practice in counseling.  We also address story communication.  The story we tell ourselves has an impact on how information is processed in our brains.  Therefore, each individual’s stories they tell themselves, can have an impact on communication and therefore the entire relationship.  Couples often struggle with the words to use when communicating with their partners.  It’s important in therapy to be open to learning new styles of communication.  It may be uncomfortable at first.  But when your partner responds more positively to you, the rewards of healthy communication will be fruitful.

Relationship Components

Emotional, physical, mental, verbal.  These are essential components of any relationship.  If you think about when you were a child, and you had a relationship with your parents, each of these components factored in to the kind of relationship it was.  Chances are the relationship you had with your parents has an effect on the romantic relationship you end up having. We tend to recreate situations where our needs were not met, in order to fix them, and get the need met.  That usually ends up being situations created with the relationship we are involved in. We all have relationship needs that we want met.  How much of those relationship needs are just YOUR own?  Probably all of them.  If you have a partner who has similar needs, and have no problem giving those needs and also are receiving them, lucky you.  But most of us do not find the perfect fit in all these categories.  Therefore we have to work in our relationship to create positive feelings about some unmet needs.  In relationship counseling, we look at the individual as well as the couple.  Individual issues can have a large impact on the couple.  We look at all aspects of the relationship.

Marriage Counseling

If you are reading this because your marriage has some problems, then try some therapy.  Counseling for couples is important at any stage, even PRE-marriage.  It can be beneficial to come into therapy before tying the marriage knot, in order to avoid some of those things you find out after year 1 and have some negative feelings about.  Marriage takes work.  It can change over time, and children, work, among other things can get in the way of communication and your marriage.  Don’t wait for your marriage to fix itself, seek a professional to help you improve your marriage.

In a nutshell, no relationship, couple or marriage is perfect.  Each has it’s own set of problems and issues.  The good news is there is counseling and therapy available to help.  We here at Inner Courage Counseling want to help you navigate the smallest and biggest issues in your relationship.

*Be advised all mental, emotional and behavioral services are currently offered via online counseling and virtual therapy. Unfortunately, we are not offering in-person office hours until further notice. All of our mental and behavioral health services are available through our HIPAA compliant online counseling portal where we conduct virtual sessions through a safe and secure outlet.*

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1754 N. Washington St Suite 104A
Naperville, IL 60563

Christine Barker LCPC, Co-owner

Christine Barker is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and have been in private practice since 2010. She earned her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Lewis University. Christine specializes in working with individuals (teens and adults), couples, and families on a variety of concerns ranging from relationship issues, depression and anxiety, to personality disorders. She is also trained and experienced with Divorce Mediation Services.

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Erin Burns, M.A.

Adult and adolescent therapy, trauma therapy, identity work In a world where mental health is often stigmatized, society can leave us feeling judged and misunderstood. Reaching out for help during a difficult time requires significant strength and courage. My passion as a therapist is to facilitate growth in clients, assisting them in accessing the strength they already possess within, while supporting them as they work towards personal growth in an empathic, nonjudgmental, and welcoming environment.

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