Intimacy can be described as a balance of meeting certain needs through dependence of relationships and on our own.

Those needs include safety, being seen and feeling soothed (or comforted).

Being overly dependent on others to meet those needs can lead to anxious behaviors that can drive significant others away, while being overly independent can result in an avoidance of getting close in relationships. Both create difficulties in close relationships and lead us to seeking intimacy in ways that can be harmful to the well being of ourselves and others. People who struggle with developing intimacy in their relationships often experience emotional distress (anxiety/depression), multiple unsuccessful romantic relationships, being unfaithful in relationships, and/or turning to addictive substances or behaviors.

Looking at past and current relationships we may discover certain patterns in ourselves or in the partners we chose that contribute to the lack of intimacy we experience. What we may not realize is that those patterns often develop early on. The way we go about meeting our needs for safety, being seen, and soothing are encoded in our first relationships- the ones with our parents or early caregivers. Those relationships greatly contribute to the blueprint for how we love and let ourselves be loved.

Counseling provides an opportunity to discover the patterns that keep us from developing true intimacy and closeness in our relationships (romantic or other). It also helps us to understand how those patterns developed by exploring experiences in our family of origin, our childhood, and our social interactions. In addition, working with a counselor in an individual or group setting can help us develop the ability to experience success in creating intimacy in our relationships.