Why Couples Therapy?
Relationships go through many ups and downs, and couples counseling can be a helpful tool during the “down” periods in a relationship. Couples therapy can be helpful both for couples that want to strengthen their relationship and for couples who are questioning the future of their relationship.
Common problems that bring couples to therapy include:
- Difficulty communicating effectively
- Financial troubles
- Frequent arguing
- Disagreements about lifestyle
- Disagreements about parenting choices
- Infidelity and affairs
- Intimacy problems
- Separation and divorce
In reality, all couples experience conflicts and difficulties regularly throughout their relationships. It is impossible to completely avoid conflict when involved in a close relationship. What separates successful couples from couples who struggle is how they view their conflicts and how they negotiate solutions. For couples who are struggling, couples therapy can be a good place to explore differences, build tolerance and acceptance, and work on new skills to better negotiate inevitable difficulties.
Overview of Couples Therapy
When you begin couples therapy, generally the first 2 to 3 visits are focused on understanding both partners as individuals and jointly as a couple. Information may be gathered in sessions with me alone or with your partner present. Once I have an understanding of the main problems bringing you to therapy and the history leading up to those issues, we will establish goals and a plan for our work together based on your needs.
I generally take an integrative approach to working with couples in my practice. Much of my work tends to focus on understanding the problem and helping both partners find mutually agreeable solutions to the main conflict in their relationship. When needed, I provide training in communication skills and problem solving skills. For couples who are Christian, I also can incorporate discussions of the marital relationship from a Christian perspective if desired.
These are a few books that I often recommend to couples in my practice:
- Reconcilable Differences – by Andrew Christensen, Ph.D. & Neil Jacobson, Ph.D.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert – by John Gottman, Ph.D.
For Christian couples, I also recommend these books. Non-Christians may also find them helpful, but they are written from a Christian perspective:
- His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage – by Willard F. Harley, Jr.
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts – by Gary D. Chapman