Why Couples Counseling?
Couples Counseling may be right for you if:
You remember how you two used to be, and you’re sad that it no longer exists.
If one of you had an affair and now there’s just a lot of pain.
If you fight constantly over “dumb” things.
if you wish you had a referee to stop the fighting.
Couples counseling is the process by which each person in a couple identifies and starts calming their negative cycle, asks for what they need, and then learns how to create a positive relationship cycle.
You Have a Cycle
Couples will often agree that they have several primary patterns of fighting that get them into trouble. This is your cycle. It weaves its way through multiple content areas, whether that is money, or respect, or autonomy. Couples will usually agree after only a few minutes of discussion that they have a pattern of fighting that “drives them crazy.”
The good news is figuring out this cycle helps put the brakes on fighting in multiple content areas. As couple becomes more and more aware of the cycle in real-time, fights that used to break out around money, around outings with friends - both start reducing in severity and frequency.
What Does Couples Counseling look like?
Your first 3 sessions are relatively structured. It looks roughly like this:
First Meeting: What brought you in? (certain event), What patterns of fighting do you get into? How did you meet?
Second Meeting: Split meeting - each of you spends about 30-35 minutes with me where I talk about your attachment history, history with substances, infidelity, feelings of safety.
Third Meeting: I talk about what I’ve seen in the first two meetings and we discuss whether we are a match. If we are a match, this is where we begin the counseling. We will talk about the individual meetings, joint goals, and which issues brought you in.
Is Couples Counseling Just Refereeing?
For the most part, no. If we spent our time with both of you bringing your complaints and having me “judge” who wins, everyone would lose. Both of you would assume that the important issue is” who forgot to squeeze out the sponge,” and ignore that there is a pattern of injury and reaction that is perpetuating your dissatisfaction.
This would also assume that I have more “wisdom” that both of you, and that just isn’t true. Both of you probably know the ins and outs of the content area you are fighting about much better than I. Both of you will probably be content experts. I will help you with your process.