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What does Couples Therapy look like?
The type of therapy I do will teach you the framework of how to manage communication, build upon the foundation of love, and develop ways to bring back meaning and belonging. It is based on scientific data that help explain why marriages (or partnerships) succeed or fail. Half of you probably think, “oh no, please no cold boring science” and the other half thinks “finally, a language that I know.” This therapy is an art and science; there is room for emotion and logic. If you have stuck to one extreme, and it is at odds with your partner, then you both may feel exhausted and misunderstood.
When you start therapy, I will begin to assess your relationship using couples sessions, an individual session, and online assessments. This process helps identify the underlining issues in the relationship and the methods to correct them. The concepts and skills that you learn in the office will be strengthened by practice in session and by completing some homework. The following are the typical steps of the therapy process.
Couples Session: You will start with a couple’s session where I can get to know the current concerns and the history of relationship, to include the ups and downs, and important events of your lives.
Assessment: After that you will complete a comprehensive assessment online questionnaire that asks questions across a wide range of issues that you may have faced and how deeply it has affected you.
Individual session: The second session consists of an individual session for each partner, to understand the goals, motivation, commitment, and desires of each person.
Couples sessions: Thereafter you will meet as a couple, using the assessment as a roadmap to strengthen weak area and allow you to practice better communication techniques with the support to keep you on track.
Listen and give love. Be heard and feel loved.
Couples may have numerous types of problems that have led them into therapy, but none of them can be resolved without the development of good communication. That is why I focus on each person's ability to listen empathetically and regulate their own reactions, so they can understand their partner's experience without the interference of judgment or defensiveness. With new abilities to talk about any concerns or complaints, you can climb out of the numbingly familiar rut, but first you must reach out and accept help. Call me and I can answer any of your questions. Phone: 210-310-8384
Are You Exhausted or Frustrated with your Relationship?
Have you and your partner fallen into communication patterns that are shaped by silence, outbursts, resentment, or nagging? Has the ease and pleasure in your relationship been replaced by irritation, loneliness, or anger? Perhaps unresolved fights or feelings of guilt have built into a seemingly impenetrable wall, and you don’t even feel comfortable talking to your spouse. Maybe you fear that anything you bring up will escalate into an argument, leaving you both feeling unheard and unloved. Do you wish you could reconnect with the person you fell in love with and trust in your ability to work through these challenges as a team?
Consistent conflict in a long-term relationship or marriage can be a lonely, confusing, and frustrating experience. Relationship stress can impact every aspect of your life and leave you feeling hopeless, irritable, and unable to focus on anything but the pain of disconnection. If you feel like you never do anything right and you and your partner have fallen into a routine of chronic criticism or minimal interactions, you may be close to giving up, questioning if fixing your relationship is even feasible. However, if you desperately want to reconnect with your partner and the love that once drew your together, couples counseling can nurture your underlying desire to feel heard.
All Couples Struggle Sometime
It’s completely normal for couples to occasionally disagree, face challenges, and become irritated with one another. It’s becoming increasingly common, with our busy lives, financial stress, and the isolation of social media, for couples to drift apart. Most negative emotions are not abnormal nor are they permanent, but you are feeling this way for a reason, and it’s okay to reach out for help. Couples therapy can help you and your partner to improve your communication techniques so that you can both move forward and rediscover harmony.
Couples Counseling Can Help You and Your Partner Face Your Challenges
Although reconnecting with your partner may seem impossible right now, hope and help are available. Relationship counseling can teach you valuable skills that you can use not only with your spouse or partner but with your friends and family, too. You can develop the tools and techniques needed to listen to your emotions, express yourself honestly and create greater harmony in your relationship.
In sessions, we will explore how you and your partner resolve conflicts, fight, avoid and talk to each other. If there are warning signs that lead up to an argument, you can learn to recognize them, then de-escalate and even prevent harmful outbursts. We will also redefine and respect a new set of boundaries that feel comfortable and reasonable for you both. If one person is taking on most of the responsibilities in the relationship, for example, we will practice more effective ways of communicating that stress so that you can divide responsibilities more evenly. By working together in a safe, supportive environment, you’ll start to notice that your partner isn’t acting avoidant or malicious for no reason—there are motivations for every behavior, and you’ll learn the language you’ll need to describe those feelings, as well as the insight to better understand your partner’s experience. Once you’re able to develop empathy for one another, we’ll work on ways in which you two can compromise in new, healthier, and more authentic ways.
During couples counseling, you will also learn how your emotions, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively influence your biological functioning. Stress and depression can affect your entire body, and often, those around us can see that we’re in distress before we even realize it, which then causes them to feel distressed, wondering what’s wrong. By listening to your body for warning signs of irritation and anger, you can learn to refocus your attention, take a deep breath, and calm yourself. Such grounding not only brings clarity to the moment but also actually promotes long-term health and wellness.
I am a licensed marriage and family counselor and have been working with couples for ten years. I’m trained in the Gottman Method, which is a research-based couples’ modality that offers exercises and steps you can take to begin improving your relationship today. As we work together, I will tailor my approach to best address and support you and your partner’s physical symptoms, history, personalities, needs, concerns, and therapy goals. With a little help and guidance, you and your partner can bring love and curiosity back into your relationship.
What if my partner doesn’t want therapy?
It’s common to have an impression of what your partner may think about therapy. However, there is a good chance your partner is also feeling uneasy about your relationship, and if given the opportunity, may be willing to open up in a therapeutic, compassionate and controlled environment. You won’t know whether your partner will join you in counseling until you ask and gauge his or her level of commitment.
If he or she truly doesn’t want to come in and work on your relationship, individual counseling is also an option. If you’re feeling like something in life has gone awry, it probably has, and help and hope are available. In counseling, you can make positive changes in your relationship and personal well-being regardless of whether or not your partner wants to join you.
I’ve heard that couples counseling can be expensive.
My prices are competitive with other practices in the area. There is a cost involved in this work but consider the alternatives. Over time, unresolved issues can become even more complicated, and feelings of anxiety, sadness and yearning can worsen. Numbing yourself to the pain or ignoring it tends to build resentment and compound problems. Disregarding each other’s concerns and complains further leads to disinterest which is the opposite of love.
The most important question to ask yourself here is: are you getting what you want? Don’t let money stand in the way of you and your partner rediscovering joy. Giving therapy a chance not only could save you emotional and monetary costs down the road, but also provide the opportunity to be vulnerable and ask for what you need.
Why do I need therapy? Shouldn’t I be able to do this on my own?
There are many things we can do on our own, and there are outside resources that I can provide as well, but what a book, video or self-help guide can’t offer is a personal connection. Because we are always biased to our own position, we are not free to consider the other person’s emotions when we’re charged with adverse emotions ourselves. Couples therapy allows the space for you and your partner to explore and discuss what has gone awry in your relationship. Plus, when you reach out for help and are met with resources and support, you’re more likely to successfully get through this. With the guidance and direction of an unbiased, educated professional who understands what you’re going through, you and your partner can be happy and back on track