“If we are going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be the path”. – Brene’ Brown
Are you wondering if Couples Therapy will help you?
Every marriage goes through ups and downs. However, some struggles call for extra support and guidance from a trained couples therapist.
There are also many folks who decide to enter counseling not because they are struggling but because they want to strengthen the foundation of their relationship. In fact, many couples seek the support of couples therapy prior to getting married; premarital counseling can help a couple build a good foundation for a healthy relationship and future together.
Marriage counseling can have multiple goals, such as: preparing for marriage and partnering; improving communication around conflicts; bringing back the spark after years of feeling like roommates; learning how to blend families after remarriage; and, amicable co-parenting during a divorce in order to have a minimal impact on the children.
No matter what brings you to couples counseling, my focus is always on the best interest of the relationship. In working with a marriage counselor, you will find that the “client” is the relationship itself. In other words, sessions with a couples therapist are not about assigning blame, but instead center on understanding how each person contributes to the well-being of the relationship. Our work together involves fact finding and not fault finding; there is no “hot seat.” I create a comfortable and safe environment to explore and set goals for our work together.
With life full of stressors, we want to depend on connection and partnership for understanding, support, comfort, help, and love.
I work with couples to help them:
- identify and problem solve what is hurting them.
- develop a strategy they can take home and use on their own to maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
- move from distance to closeness, and from distress to physical and emotional stability with each other
Most couples come to therapy identifying problems with communication and with being heard and understood. My work specifically focuses on how to create and sustain effective communication and problem solving.
My training as a couples therapist has been with the Couples Institute and their Developmental Model Training Program.
I am experienced in working with LGBTQ couples, and my approach to couples counseling is inclusive and affirming.
There are times when couples come to me because they are forming a relationship and have children from a previous relationship. I work with these couples to focus on their relationship while also managing the parenting challenges involved when blending families. Blended families can present challenging boundaries to negotiate and navigate. I help couples identify their own relationship needs as well as the developmental needs of the children involved, and how to manage meeting everyone’s needs in a healthy way.
Separation, Divorce, and Co-Parenting
There are times when couples come to couples therapy to decide if they should separate. Often each partner has conflicting feelings regarding the decision. There are also times when one partner wants out of the marriage while the other wants to try to repair the relationship. I help these couples work together to discern their future as a couple.
There are some couples who have already decided to separate and want help navigating the road to divorce while co-parenting children. There are many issues to consider when navigating separation and divorce while meeting the needs of children in a healthy way. I help parents collaborate to develop a co-parenting plan and agreement that supports their children, and themselves, through a challenging process.
Working with Neurodiverse Couples
I also have training in working with neurodiverse couples, where one or both partners have an Aspergers profile. Intimate relationships can bring many challenges, but they can be especially difficult for neurodiverse couples who, due to a different neurological process, often differ in perspectives and perceptions, processing information, communication techniques, problem solving approaches, and expressions of love and caring. There are also many strengths as well as challenges in these relationships. These differences between partners can affect their relationship, so it is important to look through this neurological lens when working with the couple and their presenting issues.
What To Expect in The First Session
Often couples feel anxious when coming to their first therapy session. One goal of the first session is to put you at ease. Couples therapy is not about fault finding, but it is about each partner learning the other’s perspective. In the first session we explore each partner’s immediate goals for coming to therapy. I will explain how I work with couples and how we will set goals and work toward them together. One of the most important aspects of a theraputic relationship is feeling like you and the therapist are a good fit; we will determine what that means for you. I invite couples to ask as many questions as they have about how I work and the process of couples therapy. At the end of the first session we decide if we are a good fit and then move forward.
Length Of Time In Therapy
Couples often ask how long it will take for them to feel better and be doing better together; the answer to that question differs from couple to couple. Many times I have experienced that just starting and feeling comfortable with the process brings relief. Length also depends on the goals you are trying to reach together. Working on your relationship is about developing a practice. One can liken this type of practice to a yoga practice or a fitness practice; you are developing a “habit” in a new and different way of doing things, and sustaining that new way for the rest of your lives together. Developing a new and different way of doing things takes time, just as it has taken time to develop the way you relate and communicate now. Many of the ways we relate to others is reflexive. In our work together we change that reflex to do something healthier and different, just like training and growing a muscle. We will discuss and develop a plan of practice that is right for you.
It is important to feel clear about what to expect from couples therapy and to be clear about your commitment to the process.
Please feel free to call me to discuss any part of the process.