I enjoy working with couples in general, but much of my focus is working with couples where faith is an important aspect of their relationship. Faith, or changes in that faith, can have a tremendous impact on a marriage. Working through those concerns and arriving at a point where both partners respect and understand their spouse’s faith is often easier with a couples therapist.
I base at least the first three session on John Gottman’s relationship therapy model where the couple can get to know me better and we take a high level look at the concerns that are bringing them to relationship counseling. Often, I’ll meet with each individual privately for half a session to give them a chance to share their side without fear of upsetting their partner. Plus, between the first and second session, each person privately completes a secure, online questionnaire that helps me understand their lives and their relationship on a deeper level.
By the third session, I have a good handle on what’s going on with the relationship and each person’s strengths and weakness. Using this information, we create a roadmap of where they want to go in therapy so they know what to expect and why it’s important to learn the skills and do the work.
At this point, I often bring in some conflict resolution techniques or integrate other types of therapeutic methods depending on the specific couple and their situation. It’s important to understand that although this is how I usually operate, every couple is unique and there may be times it’s appropriate to approach a new couples relationship therapy session differently.
Relationships Are Critical to the Rest of Life
There are two things I truly love about this work. First is that because I’m a deep thinker and understand on an instinctual level the broad ramifications of a happy, healthy relationship, I get a lot of fulfillment out of knowing the work we do in relationship therapy impacts future generations. The other is that because relationships are so central to people’s lives, there’s a lot of emotion and energy in the room during couples therapy. I love that! It’s never boring and there are so many avenues and challenges to explore.
In my personal life, my work as a marriage therapist has helped with my own relationship. My husband has his strengths and weaknesses and we have challenges just like any other relationship. My work has helped me be a better wife and truly appreciate what we have together.
I’ve also learned that our childhoods and personal histories have a big impact on our relationships. Knowing and understanding what your partner is struggling with and how they’ve brought it into the relationship can often make a huge difference in how you relate to each other. And it’s sort of true about opposites attracting, so it can be hard to bridge that gap sometimes without a marriage counselor to guide you.
Getting the Most Out of Counseling
Many people come to see me want to “fix” their partner. This natural because it’s human nature to get defensive or blame the other person. My job is to help both people see that while maybe their partner isn’t doing everything right, their job is to work on themselves. By shifting their own reactions and behaviors, they’ll automatically change the way their partner responds to them.
I’ve discovered that the most important factor in marriage counseling isn’t the techniques or methods, it’s the therapist. The couple has to trust me and connect with me. I encourage anyone considering couples therapy to chat on the phone with the therapist. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, keep looking. I certainly won’t be offended!
I’m empathetic and encouraging, but I’m also direct and not afraid to challenge limiting beliefs. This is how I work and it needs to work well for couples seeking help from me. Understand, I do it kindly, but it requires a level of vulnerability and trust, so it’s important we achieve that over time.
If that sounds like it could be a good fit for you, let’s connect!