Being a young, working professional trying to figure out how to carve out a set career path is not easy. Dating and relationships are not always so easy either, which is why Urban Balance’s Alyssa Yeo, LPC, specializes in providing dating and relationship counseling to help young, working individuals. Therapy services teach you how to strengthen your relationship at any stage, while also identifying personal thought patterns and behaviors that have an impact on your relationship. Therapy can help you understand more about yourself and your partner, which will contribute to building a stronger relationship. The set of guidelines and tools provided through therapy will help you overcome common challenges most young, working professionals experience in the dating world, such as: trying to find a balance between work life & private life, learning important relationship skills, and identifying opportunities for personal growth. Alyssa answered the following questions to provide more insight about relationships and therapy:
What relationship & dating skills are most important to learn? How does therapy assist in the learning process?
“Communication and vulnerability. I often find that clients struggle in relationships and dating because they are scared to be open and expressive with their feelings. Their fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of being taken advantage of, etc. keeps them from establishing the authentic and deep connection they desire. In order to develop that type of connection, you have to be honest about what you want and need – both to yourself and your partner. And this is where the communication piece comes in. How will your partner know how to provide for you if you don’t tell them what you need? And how will you know what you need if you aren’t in tune with yourself and your emotions? Therapy helps you learn more about yourself. This increased self-awareness and knowledge can help you better communicate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to your partner. Additionally, the therapeutic process itself is a practice in vulnerability. It requires you to dig deep within yourself to identify and challenge your fears and subsequent anxiety. Consequently, you are more willing to be vulnerable and more likely to develop strong and gratifying relationships.”
What are common relationship & dating problems? How are those problems addressed in therapy?
“Again, one of the most common issues I see in relationships is communication. This often results from a misinterpretation of a partner’s thoughts and behaviors. Wrongful assumptions or interpretations can lead to issues in any relationship because one person responds or reacts to a false notion or idea. Instead of asking for clarity about their partner’s intention, people let their emotions take over and they overreact. This emotionally charged reaction can then cause an unnecessary cycle of hurt, anger, resentment, and disappointment. Therapy can help each partner learn how to address miscommunication before it becomes a larger issue. It can provide the tools necessary for clients to identify how and why they interpret their partner’s behavior in a specific way, and what they can do to respond differently next time they are triggered emotionally. Instead of making assumptions about their partner’s behavior, they can ask questions in hopes of clarifying the intent. Opening up communication in this way will allow for more productive conversations.”
Is therapy beneficial to those at any dating stage or is therapy more beneficial at a certain point in a relationship?
“I truly believe that everyone can benefit from therapy – at any stage of their life or relationship. As long as you’re living, there is more to learn and understand about yourself and your partner. Therapy helps you explore unchartered territory, and can provide tools and guidelines for building, rebuilding, remodeling, or fine-tuning a relationship. One of the most beautiful things about being human is the never-ending potential for self-growth. The more you tap into that, the better off you’ll be.”
How does therapy contribute building a healthy relationship?
“Individual therapy can help you engage in healthy relationships by providing you with the awareness and insight you need to know yourself. Individuals often come to therapy wanting help with a current relationship or advice about why they can’t seem to date the right people. There is no ‘quick fix’ or answer to these questions, but together we can work to gain a better understanding of an individual’s patterns of thinking and behavior in order to identify opportunities for growth. Through exploring past relationships, childhood experiences, parental and sibling relationships, and ideas about what you want and need in a partner, we can work toward challenging those thoughts and beliefs that are no longer serving you. Working through old ‘stuff’ and becoming more aware of the way you think and approach relationships will help inform your future thoughts and behaviors.”
What are common struggles young working professionals have with balancing their private life and work life?
“Time. Young professionals feel a lot of pressure to do and be everything all at once. There are tons of expectations for this age group (early 20’s – early 30’s) that make it nearly impossible for any one person to accomplish at the same time. Individuals are told they have to build a successful career, date the perfect person, make a lot of money, plan for their financial future, put a down payment on a house, maintain relationships with friends and family, travel to expand their knowledge and experiences, stay in-shape and healthy, and so on and so on. THIS IS TOO MUCH. The idea that individuals should be able to handle all of these roles and responsibilities seamlessly can result in feelings of anxiety and depression. That’s because you are setting yourself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations. It is important for people in this age group to give themselves permission to slow down. You get enough pressure from society; you don’t need to pressure yourself. Alleviate some of the pressure by turning off that internal clock that says you’re running out of time. Finding a balance between developing your professional and personal life is important, and doing so will enable you to be more fully present in each moment. As you work on becoming more mindful, you will develop the ability to let go of your anxiety about unfinished tasks, and you will find yourself growing personally and professionally in ways you didn’t think possible.”
How can therapy help someone move on from past dating experiences that may be having a negative impact on the current relationship?
“Therapy is a process of self-discovery, and through this process the client and therapist can work together to understand the many thoughts and feelings that are magnified in personal relationships. Relationships often act as mirrors into ourselves, and sometimes the reflections we see aren’t something we like. Working together, we can help challenge your unhelpful thoughts that result in negative emotions in order to break the cycle of thinking about previous experiences. If you want to see change, you have to practice non-attachment to the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are no longer serving you. You have to let go of some of the comfort and familiarity of old patterns in order to make room for new, more healthy patterns. This present-minded thinking can bring you more satisfaction in your current relationship and life.”
A key point to keep in mind about therapy and relationships is that therapy focuses on opening up and learning how to strengthen a relationship. This is done by increasing your own self-awareness by identifying past behaviors and thoughts that may be holding you back from growing in a new relationship. This is also done by learning relationship skills, especially communication, in order to understand your partner. Communication and understanding, which are areas that always have room for growth, are necessary building blocks in order to establish a deep connection. This is why therapy is beneficial to everyone, whether they are just starting fresh in the dating scene or if they are in a long-term, committed relationship. When it comes to young working professionals specifically, therapy will assist in finding a balance between private life and work life in what can be an overwhelming stage of life. By utilizing the tools and guidelines provided through therapy, you can learn more about yourself, your partner, and your life in order to set yourself up for success.