Sometimes we need help removing the obstacles to a good relationship
Couples seek counseling because they value their partner, their partnership, and the quality of life it provides them. We all want assurance from our partners when we’re upset. We feel unsettled when we’re emotionally disconnected. We’re more confident when we know our partners have our backs. These are the fundamentals building blocks of a good partnership, and sometimes we need outside help to remove the obstacles to a good relationship.
Sessions are generally 50-55 min long, but we can negotiate for a longer time if our schedules allow. The 1st session is an assessment to gather background information from you and your partner. In the 2nd and 3rd sessions I usually meet with partners individually to understand your relationship histories. Starting with the 4th session, we’ll will all meet together so I can get a sense of how you interact as a couple. There may be times I might request to meet individually with one or both of you again if issues come up that impact your ability to feel safe and vulnerable in the relationship.
You don't have to be in therapy
You don't have to do anything! But if you want to make your relationship better, I'd suggest a commitment to at least six months of weekly sessions. In cases where your conflicts are long-standing and your wounds are deep, healing may take longer. The thing is, your current patterns of relating to one another were there long before you even met your partner. What is six months, a year, or even two years in the context of your life together?
If I start seeing you for individual counseling, I’ll become partial to your perspective, which would make me a biased 3rd person looking into your couple relationship. For that reason, I cannot go on to work with both you and your partner and would need to refer you to another colleague for couples counseling.
Similarly, if I'm seeing you as a couple it will be difficult for me to continue seeing either of you as an individual unless we terminate the couples counseling path.
If this is important we'll need to have a deeper discussion
Yes, provided both partners are aware of the arrangement. If for whatever reason, couples counseling is terminated and one of you wants to continue individual counseling with me, I can see you individually, provided that both partners are aware of this arrangement.
If in the future, both partners want to resume couples counseling, we’ll need to refer you to a different couple’s therapist for the reasons mentioned above.
In some cases, we might determine it’s in your best interest to do individual work with a different provider all together.
I counsel against bringing children or pets to a session. It has been done before, but I really don’t recommend it. The type of therapy we'd be doing invites all of us to be tuned in to what’s happening in the room. A cute child will likely be a distraction. It might also be difficult to open up about certain things when your child is listening.
Yes we can, but I would recommend we don't. Here's why. For the first four sessions, it’s important to meet weekly so I can get a chance to know you, your histories, and how you relate. Irregular scheduling inevitably means spending a lot of the time recapping what happened since our last session, and we end up losing the momentum we’ve gained. Put simply, you can accomplish more in six months of weekly couples therapy than you will in one year of biweekly counseling.