My work with couples is a bit different.
Please take a moment to read through this to make sure I'm a good fit before you contact me for couple's counseling.
Thankfully, our town has so many wonderful therapists in it, including many great couples counselors who are trained in the Gottman Method, Imago Therapy, EFT, etc. If you don't feel like you are ready yet for my approach, please check out some of these other therapists!
In general, the type of counseling I do has a foundation of helping you feel self empowered. By discovering yourself, understanding and taking the time for what you learn about how you tick, how you feel, what you want, and shedding the crap you no longer need-- growth, peace, and happiness can occur.
The only couples I accept as clients are those where BOTH parties are willing and curious to discover more about themselves individually.
Are you willing to explore these questions in therapy?:
- What is this relationship trying to teach me about myself?
- How is my partner a mirror of my inner self?
- What is it I'm not learning from the patterns, reactions, defenses I keep finding myself in?
And does some part of you resonate with the following statements?
- I am willing to learn how to and practice have compassion for myself during this process.
- I am willing to learn and practice having compassion for my partner. Even when I don't agree with them. (Don't worry, compassion does not equal relenting your own perspective).
- I am willing to not see myself as a victim in this process, and I don't believe it is just my partner causing the problems and pain in this relationship.
- Overall, I am curious and open to the idea that the pain and disconnect I'm feeling is trying to teach me something about myself.
- I am curious about the deeper meaning about my life, my partner, and my relationship.
If you are in a really distressing state right now in your relationship, some of these questions/ statements might feel really triggering and upsetting. Depending upon how long you and your partner have been feeling disconnected, the need for validation of your experience is paramount. If it's too hard for you to hold any of the above statements/ questions without feeling major distress then another therapist may be better for you.
When Is Couples or Marriage Counseling Recommended? (from goodtherapy.org)
People in relationship seek counseling for any number of reasons, from power struggles and communication problems, to sexual dissatisfaction and infidelity. Though counseling is recommended as soon as discontent arises in a relationship, studies show that on average, partners will not seek therapy until they have been unhappy for six years. And yet, the more time has passed, the more difficult it may be to repair the relationship. In some cases, a couple who has already decided to separate may pursue therapy in order to end the relationship amicably and respectfully.
Effective therapy will likely address many aspects of the relationship, although communication tends to be the primary focus of relationship therapy. When partners repeatedly employ conflict avoidance or engage in heated power struggles, communication problems ensue; resentment builds, and repairs are never made. John Gottman, who collected decades’ worth of data on marriage and relationships, identified that the lack of adequate repair following an argument is the biggest contributor to marital unhappiness and divorce. Counselors know that one of the first steps in improving a relationship is to teach each person how to regulate their emotions, stay calm, and use healthy communication skills to resolve problems new and old, and many partners see their communication improved as a result of counseling.
Expectations and Goals
Successful therapy depends on each partner’s motivation and dedication to the process, and couples can expect to become better listeners and communicators and to find new ways to support one another. Goals will be established by the couple under the guidance of the therapist, and in order to achieve these objectives, each partner must be prepared to acknowledge and understand his or her role in the relationship. It is not uncommon for conflict to arise within therapy sessions, but ethical therapists will strive to remain neutral and avoid taking sides.
Sometimes it may be helpful to meet with each partner individually, in addition to sessions together.
Frequency, Duration, and Effectiveness
Relationship counseling is often held once per week, but this may vary depending on your therapy goals and whether you are also attending individual sessions. Counseling is often short-term, though healing takes time, and ultimately, the therapy will proceed for as long as the couple is committed to seeing it through or until resolution is reached.
Research evaluating changes in marital satisfaction after therapy indicated that approximately 48% of couples demonstrated either improvement or full recovery in relationship satisfaction at five-year follow-up. Relationship deterioration resulted for 38% of couples and 14% remained unchanged.