Couples Counseling

Counseling for Couples

Why Couples Counseling?  Being in a relationship is rewarding, loving, supportive, and affirming- until it isn’t.  Then relationships can create the most excruciating pain.  How is it that the tide of relationship can turn so quickly?  Knowing how to navigate the incredibly challenging territory of relationship can be extremely difficult, especially if you’ve had no education around conflict resolution, skillful communication, and how to work with emotional pain.  This is the work of couples counseling: to create the time and space to learn and practice the tools necessary to heal as individuals and as a couple so that your relationship can thrive.

The House Analogy

house couples counseling analogy

Couples counseling is like repairing a house.

I use the analogy of a house to explain couples counseling.  Your relationship, like a house, has a foundation- which is trust.  The less damage there is to the foundation, the easier the repairs will be.  The more the foundation has been damaged, the more repair will be necessary, and the more tools you will need to make the repairs.  Trust gets eroded in many ways including:

  • Affairs, (emotional as well as physical)
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Unskillful communication patterns, referred to by John Gottman, relationship researcher, as “The 4 Horseman” which include: contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (see video below)
  • Trauma (experienced by 1 or both partners)
  • Addiction
  • Parenting difficulties and disagreements
  • Dishonesty about money
  • Dishonesty about pornography
  • Unbalanced (or perceived unbalanced) work load (household duties, childcare responsibilities, providing income, etc)

Tools for Couples:

Tools I offer during couples counseling include:

 

How Can Couples Therapy Help?

I believe that the majority of couples that come to therapy do so because they love each other.  Somewhere along the way, the difficulties of being in a relationship appear to have become insurmountable, weakening the connection and sometimes commitment to the relationship.  Couples counseling is an opportunity to pause, reflect, repair, and grow.  I find that we often choose our partners unconsciously to assist us in our healing process.  The trick is being willing to let our partner truly see us- flaws and all- and to trust that he/she will still love us.  This is what we are all seeking- to be loved for our authentic selves.