“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
How Does It Work?
Once an appointment has been scheduled, you will gain access to your own secure client portal. There you can complete all of the usual first time paperwork so that on your first visit, we can just jump right and waste no time. You can also use this portal to make, cancel, and change appointment times, and view any billing questions.
The initial session is 1.5 hours long and we will spend time getting to know each other, looking at the challenges that brought you in and helping me develop a picture of what a day in your lives is like. From there we will begin to come up with a plan for our time together including a rough estimate of how many sessions to expect.
How Can Counseling Help My Relationship?
The process has the following main goals, but will often be adjusted based upon their needs.
Make adjustments to the couple's unique interactive patterns. Each person brings to the relationship older "rules and tools" that are running in the background. Often these approaches and beliefs were adopted early in life (family/culture) and can be quite strong but relatively unknown. When these values systems and approaches do not line up, communication breaks down. In most couples, there’s someone who tends to initiate the conflict. not intending to argue but simply wanting things to be better. So they approach their partner and try to resolve the issue. Problem is, their partner starts to feel attacked, like nothing they do is ever good enough. So they get quiet, they shut down, or retreat. I help identify these automatic ways of being and how they show up during an argument so that each partner better understands the pattern so that different results can occur.
Teach couples how to stay engaged in a difficult conversation. Both partners will have underlying emotional experiences that are associated with challenging conversations. It is less about the actual argument, but more about HOW they argue. People tend to fuse to or identify with their emotional state. I address this issue with mindfulness techniques and defusion skills which allow each person to become more aware of what they are bringing to the conversation as well as allowing for clarity on how best to proceed.
Remind the couple of their values base. It is only natural for couples to go through periods of change since it is made up of two continuously evolving personalities. Outside factors such as stressful jobs, illness or raising a family can take their toll as well. "We just seemed to be drifting apart" or "I just woke up one day and looked into the eyes of a stranger" are common reports of experiencing this phenomenon. I address this issue by both exploring what drew the couple together in the first place and by identifying what matters to them, both individually and as a couple.
Rekindle a sense of connection and intimacy. Many couples report that they would like to have greater levels of intimacy. Yet, there is something that gets in the way. Uncertainty, doubt, or once again returning back to each other after a long stressful ordeal (very common for those raising children). Sometimes this perceived disparity (not enough sex) is only experienced by on of the couple and not the other for a variety of reasons. I address this type of issue by providing a safe and humorous environment where such topics can be talked about openly and once again, look at behavioral patterns and values to guide actions that both can commit to.
Learn ways to navigate the challenges of parenting. (if applicable) For some couples, finding yourself in the "good cop, bad cop" dynamic takes its toll on the relationship. One person is too strict, the other too lenient. There is a unbalanced division of responsibility with one doing most the work. Should the parenting approach be more firm? or more loving? Research shows that both are necessary. I spent four years going into the homes of families and working on this type of issue. I can provide your insights based upon what I saw work and help you define your own parenting style as a couple based again upon what you both value.
These are just five of the most common issues that are often addressed in therapy, but again, each couple is different and with unique challenges which will be addressed in their own way.
How Often Do We Need To Come?
I have found that the best results occur when a couple can commit to coming every week for the first 8-weeks, or about two months time. Sessions are not long lasting about 45 minutes each. It is also possible to extend your session by 45 minutes if necessary (this is not uncommon). Once we begin to see real improvement in the quality of your relationship, then we begin tapering off by meeting every other week. The first 8 weeks are crucial in that they allow time for couples to practice using the skills they’ve learned in counseling. When you hit a bump or a roadblock, we’ll be able to process that together and troubleshoot.
Many couples complete therapy in a matter of 12-16 sessions (3-6 months).
Imagine feeling close again in just a matter of a few months. You both will have learned so much about each other — things that would have never come up had you not taken this step. If you could solve these problems on your own, wouldn't you have done that already? What would it be like to be able to openly share things with each other like you did in the beginning. What would it look and feel like to actually desire each other again? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you looked forward to coming home to each other at the end of every day?
I can help you get there. Schedule your free, 10-minute phone consultation and get started today.