Relationship Counseling and My Approach
I have been a relationship counselor for a long time. In this time I have studied many of the “schools of relationship therapy” and found they all have strengths and weaknesses. I believe that it’s more important to match the therapy to the person and the couple, than it is to force feed the therapy approach. When a couple comes in, most of the time they have already tried to resolve their issues and been stuck. I have found that there are a few things necessary for couples to succeed in this therapy.
Looking at the Problem
Let’s talk about the problems that bring people into couples counseling. As good as it is when it’s good, when a relationship gets difficult, it is capable of producing extremely negative emotions – sometimes on cue. IT can seem quite puzzling that the person who had been such a source of pleasure, acceptance, understanding, fun, all of that, now is generating all this upset. The bad cycles may disappear for a time and all appears normal, but inevitably they are back, and this is all the more frustrating.
What I offer is the chance to take this apart and break up the dynamics that are causing this problem. That’s right dynamics. No matter how much it seems that it is the other person’s fault or defect, that’s only part of it. I am going to ask you to see that there are things driving this mess that can be changed, broken apart, transformed even. It’s going to be work, but if you can hang in, we can usually make positive change.
To succeed at this I’ve found there are a few things you are going to need to be able to do:
- Step back from what you are feeling in the midst of being upset
- Be willing to see there is more to this than you have captured in your picture of it
- Be willing to put your ego aside while it is squawking.
- Be able to try different ways of expressing your anger, hurt etc, even when it is hard to do so
- Be able to see that there is usually a pattern of behaviors you are triggering in each other that neither really wants
- Learn new ways of interacting that may be unfamiliar at first, but will be remedies to these problems we are seeing.
The Point of It
Like I said, it will be work, but it’s pretty valuable work to do. You try first to achieve this within the session, and then after awhile, you start achieving it on your own. I have no hard and fast rules about how this has to happen, and I find that the most successful couples are able to adapt what I am suggesting to their own personalities and find their own way to make it work.
We are looking to break new ground, have each person change how they are used to responding to certain situations, and then get used to that till it feels normal. No miracles here, but if you can do the above things, you will find things are improving, both are growing, and life can improve.