What is Solution Focused Couple's Therapy?
Solution Focused Couple's Therapy is a brief type of therapy that is focused on solving present problems in your relationship. When I say "therapy," I mean a system of solution-finding with predictable and measurable results. Each argument can be seen as an "attempted solution" at answering a relationship question. In my practice I noticed that some couple's had issues that were little more than questions about the nature of their relationship.
For example, if you continued to have an argument over which way the toilet paper roll should go, and you brought it to three different couples therapists. One therapist might say "it goes over-under as the patent says," another therapist might say "place the roll on the back," I would ask "Who has the right to make a "final decision" in your relationship?"
Identifying "Relationship" Questions
"Who has the right to make a final decision" is an example of a relationship question. It is something you only have to think about when you are in a relationship with someone. Unfortunately, unless you have a system in place to talk about your relationship, you will never overtly ask these questions of each other. You will then have repetitive arguments, blowups, and wondering whether or not you've grown apart. You can identify relationship questions in situations where there is an argument that stays the same yet somehow feels like it is getting worse.
3-Session Solution System
I utilize a coaching system with predictive value based off of emotionally focused therapy. My 3-session solution system mirrors the process you and your partner will learn in order to prevent escalations in the future. In the free initial solution session we take turns asking each other questions and I will identify and answer one relationship question for you. When you decide to book with me I follow a three-session format. Most clients stay with me on average 3 to 7 sessions.
Session 1- I will analyze your patterns of interactions and identify the pursuer and the withdrawer roles.
The pursuer and withdrawer relationship dynamic is extremely damaging. It involves one partner who is: organized, logical, and does things in a very particular way. When there is a problem in the relationship you will hear about it. Their issue is that sometimes they see problems where they don't exist and they are doing everything they can do get their partner to change. Including sometimes raising their voices or being extremely critical. Withdrawers, on the other hand, are: flexible, emotional, and do things based on how they feel. Their issues it that they can be lazy, inconsistent, and procrastinate. They also have a tendency to wait until the last minute to do things. Their favorite phrase is "I dont know" or "Thats not that big of a deal". They also have a tendency to be passive-aggressive. These dynamics can flip and may change based on issues surrounding sex, finances, or division of labor. The problem is not each individual partner but rather the interactions between them. This dynamic leads to fights, escalations, and uneasy truces. Addressing this pattern is important and forms the basis of further change.
Session 2-We will identify any new relationship questions that arose during the week and answer them.
We will reframe "arguments" as relationship questions We will identify historical relationship questions and set minimally acceptable goals for change. We will also identify the pursuer and withdrawer roles. The homework assignment will be to make no changes and take note of specific situations which I will identify for you after your analysis. You will keep track of how many relationship questions are asked this week. Utilizing the-unique-to-your-relationship de-escalation techniques demonstrated in the free initial consultation we will work through the relationship questions. The homework assignment will be to recreate the situations that the relationship questions came up in and use the de-escalation technique taught in the free consultation. I will also ask you to perform a specific action or say a specific phrase and stop performing a specific action or stop saying a specific phrase. This forms the basis of therapy and must be followed to trust the answer to the relationship question.
Session 3 and Beyond-Identify and solidify the answered relationship questions and repeat the process until stable.
You will provide me the results of the interaction when you were told to perform a specific action or say a specific phrase. We will create a relapse prevention plan as well as schedule further sessions if needed. Therapy continues if there are particularly difficult relationship questions that require empathic mediation.