"Communication" is the first thing I hear when I ask why couples have come to therapy. Nearly every couple has COMMUNICATION at the top of their To-Do list. Therefore, learning functional communication strategies is our first exercise in premarital counseling.
“Communication” can mean many different things. It is nearly impossible to listen when we don’t feel respected. This creates a stalemate. People talk at each other, give the silent treatment, or use name-calling or sarcasm. When emotions are high, it feels like this will make a point. People do this because they desperately want to be understood. But to someone who is feeling defensive, these strategies are futile.
Couples in conflict often aren’t even arguing about the same thing. It’s just that each person is stuck trying to convince the other, they consequently can’t hear anything. It’s fascinating to see on one hand how very genuine each partner’s needs are, balanced against how invisible the needs are to the other person. Because (s)he too has needs that aren’t being met. When two people want two different things, which happens at some point when two different people attempt to go through life together, it is difficult to drop your agenda long enough to really hear what the other person is going through.
We will realign the relationship so that each of you remembers that you are ON THE SAME TEAM. When hurt feelings happen, you can work together to figure out and prevent it in the future.
This is possible, even when couples want to separate respectfully and calmly. Conflict Resolution skills are useful for for parents who have separated in order to effectively co-parent. Respectful communication is crucial to managing a breakup, a divorce, and even your own personal, individual sanity throughout the process.
In the 80's, couples came to counseling when they couldn’t figure out why their son was making poor grades. Or because they wanted help making a major decision.
Surprisingly, nowadays, many couples don’t seek professional help until multiple major disasters have happened.
Considering splitting up is not the only reason to go to couples therapy.
You’d never wait to consult a physician until you were finally on your deathbed.
Why wait until you are considering separation to learn skills to improve the health of your partnership?
Initial Couples Consultation includes:
•Recommendations to improve respect & morale
•Identification of individual traits that contribute to conflict in your relationship
•Exercise in effective Communication
•Behavioral groundwork laid to support deeper work in subsequent meetings
•Homework assignments for each partner so that changes continue between meetings
If you are ready and willing, your relationship will experience an immediate shift upon putting into practice what we discover in our initial consultation.
Even if only one partner is willing and able to make changes, the relationship will experience a shift.