The guiding principle I use in couples counseling is that to have a healthy couple, you need two healthy individuals. A healthy relationship is the natural outcome of two healthy people coming together. You don't need to work on the relationship per se; you need to work on the two people that make up the relationship. And the key to this is that each person has to own that they play a role in whatever the difficulties are, and that the only way out of the difficulties is to embrace the need to work on yourself.
"If people are happily married, it is because they are happy people who happen to be married. The people in our lives are an out-picturing of what we believe ourselves to be; they are an extension of our consciousness. It is more important to use our thought creatively about our own self rather than about them. They are not the cause of our experience. We are."
How Not To Be Lonely
Couples counseling provides a forum for you and your partner to have productive conversations.
In couples counseling, you will learn to:
- Communicate more calmly and openly.
- Understand the fundamental personality differences between you and your partner.
- Understand the value and necessity of compromise and finding workable soluations, not perfect solutions.
- Work through anger and pain after an affair, discover if reconcilliation is possible, and begin to rebuild trust.
- Experience confidence and security in yourself, which is the necessary foundation of a strong relationship.
- Understand and resolve deeper, underlying conflicts in your mind that are the pattern for your way of relating.
- See the value of reinvesting your sexual energy in your partner --
- and the advantages of having a sexual partner who knows you very well.
- Learn to be proactive in keeping your bond solid.
We all know that anything worth having is worth working for, and that goes doubly true with regard to our intimate relationships.
I really enjoy working with couples. The forces that bring us together with a significant other are powerful, mysterious, and dynamic. But the same "chemistry" that can create fireworks can also cause explosions! Even so, there is a deeper order to the mysteries of physical attraction and romantic love. Once you discover the true meaning of both your attraction and your conflict, you hold in your hands the keys to a long, happy, loving relationship.
As with individual therapy, I combine a solution-focused approach with deeper-level work as well. I like to emphasize the positive, identify solutions and not just problems, find exceptions to the bad news, practice what works, and don't repeat what doesn't. I'll encourage you to express more vulnerability and less criticism as you seek to meet each other half way. A breakthrough in couples counseling comes when one or both partners can soften and acknowledge the vulnerable feelings beneath the attack or withdrawal. Together we will assess your unique situation and determine whether you'll make more progress being seen together, separately, or a combination of both. My philosophy is simple -- to be a healthy couple, you need to be two healthy individuals. A fundamental rule of couples counseling is "no secrets," especially when you are meeting with the therapist on your own from time to time.
- Do you feel like your partner has your back? Did you know this feeling is probably the most important aspect of being a couple?
- Did you know that whatever your partner might be saying, no matter how angry or accusatory, deep down they're really just looking for reassurance and TLC?
- If you can focus on the emotional needs behind the anger, withdrawal, or tears, you can address the real need your partner has.
- If you can overcome your own urge to defend yourself, the most important thing above all is offering a comforting response to your partner.