Let’s be honest, couples therapy is one of the things rarely anybody looks forward to. Some research suggests couples wait an average of 6 years before they contact a marriage counselor, sometimes pretending they do not have problems, most of the time attempting to solve them by themselves, and other times putting into practice well meaning but biased advise from friends or family. At some point one or both partners recognize that it would be useful to have a third neutral party to help them break their impasse.
Frequently couples come to therapy when there has been a crisis (such as infidelity), when they realize they have been fighting about the same problem for years, or when divorce seems to be knocking at the door. They come to that first session hurt, angry and looking for a therapeutic miracle to save the marriage. Continuing with the topic of honesty, I am sorry to say that miracles do not happen in therapy, it will be hard work and it will not be pleasant for quite a few weeks. Therapy is not an instantaneous solution to problems and it will take many sessions before you realize you have made progress as a couple. Is it worth it? I am convinced it is! My belief is that, if you and your partner are reaching out for a therapist, it is because you want to make sure you have given your best and tried everything possible to save your relationship. Couples therapy can give you that opportunity.
My approach to couples therapy is based on John and Julie Gottman’s research and therapeutic method. John Gottman is a world renowned Psychologist who has scientifically studied relationships for more than 35 years and has been able to identify the specific behaviors that predict stability or divorce in a marriage (or relationship). Julie Gottman, Ph.D. has developed, in conjunction with her husband, a series of techniques and practical exercises to allow couples to learn and practice those behaviors that strengthen a marriage.
Read more about John Gottman, Ph.D. and his method here.
As a therapist I will naturally listen to each of you, I will empathize and help you express each of your points of view but I would be doing you little service if I “just listened” and did not provide you with some tools on how to be able to do that for yourselves in the future. I find that, from all the therapeutic models to couples therapy, the Gottman Method is the most scientifically based and one of the most useful and practical at teaching those tools. I think it is crucial for couples to learn how to be more successful in relationships (something nobody ever teaches us) and how to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses that are influencing the state of the marriage. Finding a couples or marriage counselor might not be an easy task since there is one single client (the couple) but two people that need to be comfortable in session. Each of you can give me a call and get to know me a little bit better, ask me questions about my treatment style and share with me your expectations. Together we can decide if I am a good fit for you and your partner or I can give you suggestions of other therapist that might better suit your needs. Don’t get discouraged! You can find the support you need!