Common Issues Addressed in Therapy
Many couples come to therapy because they are feeling disconnected, a lack of intimacy or growing apart. There may be problems in their sexual relationship, there may have been infidelity, and one partner may not be in the marriage any longer. Problems with children, parenting, household chores, or money problems may be reasons to seek therapy. Some may feel like they are on a merry-go-round they wish to disembark.
What to Expect?
Typically the initial session lasts 1 ½ to 2 hours. The first session is used for you to get to know me as well as for me to get acquainted with you and for each of us to decide if this is a good fit. I learn about your reasons for seeking therapy, your expectations and what you wish to achieve. Each person is given time to express their own reason for being there, concerns, hopes, dreams or doubts. The second session is generally an individual appointment with each partner. During the third session we meet together again to discuss ways we can work on the problem, set goals and discuss thoughts or concerns.
Each partner needs to be heard. Both partners will be listened to equally, sharing their own unique and often very different perspective of the problem. I want to understand what it is like, by asking each individual to paint a picture of their interpretation.
How Do I Make Changes?
Relationships can improve our well being or cause considerable pain. Much of this depends upon what we and our partner bring to the relationship and where we meet one another. Together we may explore each individuals experience in the relationship, work on ways to understand one another and find contentment. We may also explore possible paths to take. We may utilize strengths, skills and motivation for creating a healthier relationship.
Theory and Approach
The theory that I find most helpful is that developed by John Gottman, Ph.D. He is widely known for his work on marital stability and relationship analysis through scientific direct observations, many of which were published in peer-reviewed literature. His theory is based on decades of research on the factors that contribute to satisfying, long-term relationships. He developed the Gottman Method Couple’s Therapy based on his research findings. The therapy aims to increase respect, affection, and closeness, break through and resolve conflict, generate greater understandings, and to keep conflict discussions calm. The Gottman Method seeks to help couples build happy and satisfying marriages.
Commitment to Change
Change can take place when both partners are committed to putting in the time and effort to change and improve their relationship. Relationships can be hard work; making them work depends a lot on how motivated each individual is to making this happen. Couples therapy is not a passive experience. It is a therapeutic relationship, where together we can brainstorm, develop goals and strategies to implement change that will improve your life.
Does Therapy Help?
Effective therapy helps to resolve anger, pain and fear. It may create understanding and connection. Therapy also identifies where the couple is stuck. Therapy helps to understand the negative patterns of interaction that carry over from past generations, and how the patterns contribute to the problems in the relationship. It gives the couple a chance to explore the emotions and meaning underlying the patterns. Therapy provides a safe place to share past hurts, current emotions and vulnerabilities.
During therapy emotions are often brought to the surface, though painful, release of these emotions is oftentimes healing. Therapy provides a place to increase your connectedness with your partner and regain a healthy balance. The bond as a couple, may be strengthened and repaired. Trust may increase.