Did you know that the
American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy now estimates that on average, couples postpone counseling for about
5+ years before seeking counseling? While it makes sense to see if minor problems will just iron themselves out - as
so many things in life do! - repetitive patterns become more entrenched over time. I think a lot of people are afraid that
getting counseling means the next step is separation or divorce, or they are afraid of being criticized or blamed. So, even
though they are suffering, they postpone making a call.
and should, make things better. No one should feel shamed or blamed.
How do we know if we need counseling?
If you are having the same arguments over and over...if you feel
helpless to make things better...perhaps even if you're asking the question.
are certain times in relationships that are difficult for many people. These include:
The "post-honeymoon" period - about two years
after the formal commitment of a couple
The first five years after the first child is born - always a time of such adjustment, so many changes in routine,
expenses, and extended family's behavior! Many people are unnecessarily embarrassed about how difficult this also-joyful
time of life can be - it's normal to feel like everything's different.
Major changes in career or health, such as retirement, end of active-duty military
career, or returning to school. These are all happy times of life, but the adjustment phase can take a year or more and can
drastically alter the family routine.
Life phases: the empty nest, for example. Research points to it being a very happy time, but sometimes people
have difficulty redefining and reconnecting with one another after the kids leave home.
What should we expect in relationship counseling?
After we speak on the phone and set an appointment, I will email you paperwork - a LOT of paperwork. The paperwork includes brief
personal history, some assessments to identify personality traits, strengths, and stresses, as well as Gottman
Institute questionnaires. After a session or two, I will use the information to develop a report for you,
including strengths, recommended areas of focus, and specific suggestions for our work together. The work,
though, starts at once, and you can expect to have "homework" of some kind at every session. The focus will
be on the patterns of behaviors that create problems for you. By focusing our work and having "homework"
between sessions, you can get the most progress with the least sessions. Research from the Gottman Institute,
for example, indicates that couples who really work on their homework and in session can make significant improvements in
their relationship in as few as six sessions spread out over six months!
For couples, I prefer to implement methods and materials from the Gottman Institute. This includes lengthy questionnaires
that give me insights into the strengths, disappointments, hopes and dreams of you as a couple, as well as targeted interventions,
based on research, to overcome specific patterns of problems in relationships.
While I have
taken training in the Gottman Method of couples therapy, I want you to know that I am completely independent in providing
you with clinical services, and I alone am fully responsible for those services. The Gottman Institute or its agents
have no responsibility for the services you receive.
I am a Clinical Fellow of the American
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.