What is Couples Counseling?
Couples counseling, at its core, is a therapeutic dialogue between myself and you and your partner. Its purpose is to bring about a change in your relationship to solve persistent problems of communication and intimacy and to return your relationship to a source of joy and mutual satisfaction.
Why Do We Have Problems In Our Relationship?
Most problems in relationships come down to a simple fact of miscommunication. Every person has an individual way communicating and interacting with others. With your friend you might communicate one way and with your boss another. You probably don’t greet your mother the same way that you greet your best friend. With your significant other there is key a difference. You spend most of your time with this person and overtime your individual ways of interacting with each other become patterns of interaction. These patterns may be helpful, such as when you notice your partner is down you try to cheer them up, or they may be harmful such as being overly critical or judgemental. The problem is when these patterns of interaction become rigid and redundant. When this happens you may find yourself or your partner telling you that you always do this or that you never do that. Another sign is repetitive arguments that seem to never be resolved or issues with frequency and quality of sex. Once a negative pattern of interaction has been started and can seep into every facet of your relationship.
How Can This Help Better Than Us Seeing a Counselor Individually?
Often one member of the relationship goes to a counselor for their “individual” issues. The counselor, not trained to see things relationally, diagnoses the person with an “individual” problem. That person usually feels blamed and often-time is blamed for all the problems in the relationship. As a marriage and family therapist, I am trained to see how all “individual” problems have a relational component. There are several different negative patterns of interactions that couples can find themselves in and I am able to identify them and assist you in breaking out of them. There are even some patterns that are functionally impossible to get out of without the assistance of a professional trained to see them. Some patterns are so pervasive that they can even suck in the therapist if they aren’t aware of it. Work with a marriage and family therapist is different in that it isn’t about taking sides or blame, but rather about improving the communication so that “message-sent” is “message-received” and you can come to workable solutions for the problems you face.