Frequently, couples come to therapy in the middle of a crisis. I have found it best to meet weekly during the first stage of therapy. After progress has been made and the relationship is in a better place we may jointly decide that we can meet less frequently. I work with each couple to design a session frequency that is both effective and affordable.
HOW LONG DO WE NEED TO COME?
I encourage couples to come until they are solving problems and conflicts on their own with little help from me. The amount of time it takes to reach this level of skill and health in their relationship varies considerably. Some couples work with me for a short time; other couples much longer. My goal is for you to know what triggers the problems and how to resolve them together using the skills you’ve learned in couple therapy.
MY PARTNER IS RELUCTANT TO COME, IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO?
Something I have found very helpful is to shift from a ‘blaming each other’ mode, to taking more responsibility yourself. Saying something like, “I know I’ve been critical of you when we’re angry with each other, but I know part of the problems are my doing, too. I’m sure I do and say things that irritate you. I’m willing to look at my part in our problems if you will come. Would you agree to come with me just once, and see if you think further sessions will be helpful for us?”
DO YOU TELL US IF YOU DON’T THINK WE SHOULD BE TOGETHER?
I feel strongly that the decision to be together belongs to each of you, not me. It’s YOUR relationship. I will do my very best to help you improve things between you. Then, you decide.
MY PARTNER CHEATED ON ME. RIGHT NOW I DON’T SEE HOW I’LL EVER GET OVER THE HURT, ANGER AND PAIN. CAN COUPLES ACTUALLY GET THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THIS AND HAVE A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP AGAIN?
I have seen many couples recover from affairs and go on to have trusting, loving, healthy relationships. It takes hard work on everyone’s part but it certainly can be done, provided there is real commitment to fixing the relationship and learning the skills necessary to heal and move forward together. See the Affairs Page for more info on how I work with Affairs.
DO YOU EVER SEE US SEPARATELY OR ARE THE SESSIONS ALWAYS CONJOINT?
As we determine a plan for treatment together, we determine whether some individual sessions would be helpful. In some cases, a referral to another individual therapist might be the most appropriate; other times, I might see each person for a few individual sessions. I would thoroughly discuss this with both of you.
WE’VE BEEN TO COUPLE THERAPY BEFORE BUT IT WASN’T VERY HELPFUL. THE THERAPIST WAS NICE BUT DIDN’T GIVE US MUCH FEEDBACK, JUST ASKING HOW OUR WEEK WENT. DO you HAVE A DIFFERENT APPROACH?
Yes, I believe couple therapy takes real guidance from the therapist. I am actively involved in the sessions, providing feedback, teaching skills, sometimes giving homework, providing clarity. I want you to gain the skills you need so that you can apply them for the rest of your lives not only in your primary relationship, but in all the relationships in your life.
WE FIGHT A LOT ABOUT HOW TO PARENT OUR CHILDREN. CAN YOU HELP US WITH THAT?
Yes, you bet! Many of the concepts that make for better, healthier couple relationships, apply to parenting, too.
And children whose parents are arguing, have more difficulties than children whose parents get along well. With good couple therapy, the entire family prospers!
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS THAT I DIDN’T ANSWER?
GIVE ME A CALL – I’D BE HAPPY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.
Call Barbara at: 510 277-3111
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