Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Couples Therapy: Building Self Awareness

How Building Self-Awareness in Couples Therapy Can Improve Your Relationship

In couples therapy, you will learn many different ways to improve your connection with your partner. But, it might surprise you to learn that one of the most important things you can do to help your marriage is to work on your own self-awareness. 

Today, you will learn how working to understand your own emotional responses can improve your marriage communication skills. Then, you will learn how couples therapy can help. couples therapy

Self Awareness 101: What is This Really About?

You and your partner each experience the world from your own unique perspective. You could be standing next to each other and see something happen in front of you. And even then, you may each have a very different interpretation of what happened. 

So much of communication in your relationships will come down to your ability to see and respect each others’ points of view. If you can each learn to understand what your own reactions are actually about, it becomes easier to resolve conflicts with your partner in a health  y way. (Related article: How to Fix Communication in Relationships). 

Understanding Your Own Emotions: It’s Not About the Nail… Or Is It?

Have you ever seen the popular Youtube video “It’s Not About The Nail?”. If you haven’t, take a moment to watch it below:

This video is meant to be satirical. But, it also demonstrates how important it is to have self-awareness if you want better communication with your partner. Notice the couple ended up having a conflict over the nail. With improved self-awareness, she might have noticed the nail sooner and been able to find support more effectively from her partner.

couples therapy

The same goes in your relationship, too. How can you improve your own awareness of your emotional responses to your partner? Is there a way to get better about noticing your triggers? (Related article: How to Communicate Effectively

Spotting “Old and Familiar Feelings”

Thankfully, there is a way to build better self awareness. You will work on these skills with your couples therapist. But, let’s talk about a simple trick that can help you to start improving your self-awareness in your relationship today. 

Let’s say you are in a disagreement with your partner. You can tell you are getting upset. And your partner just keeps stepping on your toes! This is where it’s useful to learn how to spot “old and familiar feelings” that become triggers in your relationship (Source). When it comes to these interactions, it’s important to find the “nail” that is actually bothering you.

As you contemplate what about your interaction with your partner bothered you, it may be helpful to consult this list of potential triggers. See if any of these resonate with you:

  • I felt powerless.couples therapy
  • I felt unheard.
  • I felt scolded. 
  • I felt judged.
  • I felt disrespected.
  • I felt blamed.
  • I felt lonely.
  • I felt ignored.
  • I felt emotionally unsafe. 
  • I felt frustrated. 
  • I felt disconnected.
  • I felt controlled. 
  • I felt excluded. 


This is just a start to the many different feelings you might be experiencing when your partner hits a nerve. Ask yourself: where did these feelings start for me? Is this reminding me of a negative experience? What about this conversation is reminding me of that experience? (Related article: Communication Barriers)

From there, it can be helpful to explain to your partner what you are experiencing. And invite them to share their perspective, too. As you do this, you will improve your trust in each other. And you will become more aware of your personal triggers, too. (Related article: Communication in Marriage)

Improve Your Self-Awareness in Couples Therapy

In couples therapy, you will learn how to improve your self-awareness and communication skills. And those skills will help you have a happier, healthier relationship. 

Ready to get started? Begin couples therapy in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork, Utah. 

Written by Lauren Adkins

Utah Therapy


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