Marriage and Relationship Therapy
Transforming Troubled Relationships, Making Good Relationships Extraordinary
There is nothing more important than the quality of your relationship. When your relationship is solid, when you are loving and feeling loved and secure, you have a base from which you can grow and expand in other areas of your life. Relationship therapy is designed for couples who are in distress or for couples who want to expand their ability to communicate and connect with one another.
The whole foundation of a loving relationship is predicated on one fundamental assumption: A loving relationship grows out of the ability of both partners communicating authentically with one another. Authentic sharing is acknowledging your honest self — your thoughts and feelings in the moment from a place of personal responsibility. Authentic listening is being present to your partner’s thoughts and feelings without defense or the need to change, fix or advise. You will be developing your capacity to accept yourself as you are and accept your partner as he or she is. This may appear paradoxical to the reason you are seeking help, which may be to “change” yourself or your partner, but you will discover that true change does not occur by force or manipulation but rather is a natural outcome of your capacity to accept “what is” both in yourself and in your partner.
After the evaluation session with you and your partner together, marriage counseling has three legs to it, all of them are important to maximize the benefit you receive.
The first leg is where we meet individually with each of you for one or two sessions to assist you in working through your own feelings and emotions. The purpose of the individual sessions is to help you each to identify and take responsibility for your own feelings. True communication cannot occur without “owning” your feelings and it is impossible to release negative feelings when you place the “cause” of them outside of you or in your partner.
Another important aspect of the individual sessions is to assess where you are “incomplete” with other relationships in your life. When you can begin to make peace with other important people in your life (e.g. with parents) you will not bring “unfinished business” to your primary relationship. Many of the problems in our primary relationship are a result of “old feelings” getting played out in the present. The individual sessions will help you to determine how you can finally come to peace of mind in these important areas.
The second leg is where we meet together with you and your partner to help you develop your capacity for open, honest communication. Here is where you will learn to share your feelings, needs and wants but from a “different place” than before. You will learn that the need to dominate, control, criticize, judge, accuse, avoid and blame are toxic to you and your relationship; but when you can learn to share the underlying feelings from a place of personal responsibility you have the basis to turn any negative feeling or situation into a loving encounter. Any upset (and you will continue to have them) can either be shared and talked about or you can turn it into blame, control or avoidance. When you are able to talk through feelings and reach “emotional closure” you won’t accumulate baggage that tends to fuel negative behavior in other parts of your life and relationship.
The third leg is the “homework” which will consist of a variety of journal writing and communication exercises that you will be doing alone and together outside of our sessions. All of the exercises are directed toward helping you to “tune in” to your inner world more directly and authentically and increase your ability to communicate with your partner.
Relationship therapy helps you develop some fundamental yet essential abilities to be real and to communicate yourself authentically in whatever situation you are struggling with. The typical length of the program is 8 to 16 sessions. A minimum of 8 sessions is a typical length of time to help you develop your capacity to communicate authentically. Once you develop your capacity for authentic communication, you then have the means to deal with virtually any situation that arises between you.
Relationship therapy focuses on some specific aspects of your life and relationship all geared toward opening up to the reality of your inner world–your emotions, your thoughts, your beliefs and perceptions. As you become more aware of your inner world and what you are doing inside, you have a real opportunity to release your negative feelings and thoughts which will open up the space for you to create new possibilities in your relationship that truly make a difference.
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“A loving relationship grows when both partners develop their ability to communicate authentically with one another. Communication is authentic sharing and authentic listening.”