Couples Counseling Expectation

I’ve been married since 2005. I don’t know about you, but I can safely say that marriage is hard. When you’re not connecting emotionally, constantly arguing, and barely having sex… Do you really want to waste time just talking about your problems? Or do you want to do something about them?

Chances are if you’re struggling with issues like these, they’ve been going on for awhile. It’s not surprising when both you and your partner are overwhelmed and exhausted. 

To help you turn the ship around, I have a process I use to see the full picture of your situation. It starts with building a relationship with each partner individually. From there, it goes on to lay out a treatment plan that makes sense to both of you.

Process of Couples Counseling

Sounds like a lot, right? Well, the good news is that there is a step-by-step process for helping you transform your relationship … and this is what it looks like:

Meet as a Couple

Firstly, we review your history through the “The Oral History Interview”. This is a series of research questions that give me an up-close and personal view of all the amazing things that brought you together. It also helps us reflect on life transitions that may or may not have been navigated well, attachment injuries that have broken trust, and your goals as a couple for this process.

Take the Online Assessment

Next, we’ll use a fantastic tool developed by the Gottman Institute that provides you with the ability to critically evaluate your relationship. Using this research-based assessment gives us all a deeper look inside your relationship to understand what pieces of the puzzle are missing. From there, we’ll have a much clearer idea of where to focus to address your unique situation.

Two Individual Sessions

To help you the most, I’ll need to grow a relationship with each of you. Getting some background history about your family and relationship, answering any questions or concerns about this process with you… we’ll develop a rapport through this process that will help you feel comfortable discussing your relationship freely.

Treatment Plan

In the second couples session, I’ll lay out the treatment plan utilizing the principals of The Sound Relationship House from Gottman Method Couples Therapy. You will see the areas in your relationship that are strong and can be built on, as well as growth areas that need attention. I will pinpoint exactly what we will be working on, why we will be working on it, and how it will apply outside of therapy.

Straight-forward Sessions

After the assessment process ends and the treatment plan is agreed upon, we’ll get right to work. Each of our sessions starts by assessing how things have been going since we last saw one another and picking the appropriate intervention.

If you had a big fight, for example, we will use a tool that addresses that argument. If you’re feeling emotionally disconnected, we will utilize a tool that helps increase connectivity between you. The sessions are adaptable to what you’re going through and where the two of you are at.

All of the tools used in therapy have the same goal in mind: connection.

You might be building “love maps” to increase your fondness and admiration for each other. Or, you could be learning how to remove the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” in your dialogue. It could be laying the groundwork to establishing a sense of deep trust again between you, or building dreams for the future.

Regardless of the specific focus of each session, what matters most is that you and your partner are working together on that which matters the most to you.

How long does this last?

Research on the long-term impact of relationship counseling shows that couples see the best results when they:

  • commit to seeing a counselor weekly until symptoms start to decrease,
  • then space their sessions out to every other week until symptoms are alleviated and goals are met,
  • and finally, move to a schedule of 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month check-ins. 

My goal is for you to feel the benefit of your investment early on. If you’re motivated and putting in the work then you will move through the process quicker. If your relationship is healing from an affair or other betrayal the process can take longer.

Regardless of where you’re starting from, though, it is possible to see a dramatic change, if you’re willing to connect and put in the work. But hey, this is your life we’re talking about! If this doesn’t warrant putting in the energy, what does?