Did you know…
According to research, the average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. Perhaps your relationship is declining in satisfaction, or you’ve had recent or chronic unresolved conflict. You may be avoiding, detaching, or simply losing hope for improvement. You want to rebuild the trust, attachment, respect, and are looking for tools to increase healthy communication.
Some of the signs your relationship can benefit from couples’ counseling includes:
- Escalating conflict and nasty communication habits.
- Emotional distance and loneliness.
- Falling out of love, i.e. “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.”
- Trust and commitment issues.
- Attachment insecurities, low self-worth and fears of abandonment. This can include extreme dependence, which leads to intrusive
- behaviors. But it can also include extreme independence which can make a partner feel like they’re not a priority.
- Feeling unsupported and emotionally dismissed or difficulty with opening up
- Intimacy and desire issues.
- Difficulties with in-laws, friendships, work, or life stressors including health issues, finances, parenting differences.
- Abuse, affairs, and addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, etc.) (*see below)
- Things feeling unfair in the division of household chores or decision making
- Untreated anxiety and depression issues that complicate things in the relationship.
- Difficult childhood upbringings that have emotionally wounded partners and make it difficult to trust your partner or stay engaged when conflict arises.
Maribel is trained in the three levels of the Gottman Method. She is also a Gottman Leader in the Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work. Let’s review your relationship strengths and challenges by taking a “Gottman Relationship Checkup” to create an effective treatment plan. You will then engage in customized couples’ activities in our sessions to gain the tools in the areas which need improvement; in this way, treatment is more focused and efficient. If you’re not ready for weekly sessions, please consider The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work Seminar, to get an overview of concepts. It’s a class, not therapy, and it is delivered in an educational format with no pressure to share personal situations.
Fortunately, empirically-based couples therapy has demonstrated that couples therapy can create a positive change for 70% of couples, and these changes last.
*If there is abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, drugs, alcohol) in the relationship clients will need to be assessed individually to see if couples’ counseling is the best option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should we attend the “The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work” Seminar or start counseling?
The seminar can give you a great overview of the “Principles” which couples learn during sessions. The difference lies on the context, the seminar is a psychoeducation class and not therapy.
Talk to your spouse, if you are not ready for weekly sessions, attending the seminar is a no pressure choice because you won’t be sharing private information, simply learning and practicing some skills. Once you learn the concepts you may feel more confident in attending counseling or using the tools from the class.
We have tried counseling before, but we didn’t’ see results?
There are many factors to consider when deciding if counseling worked. Factors include, how long has the dissatisfaction lasted, has there been betrayal issues, is one of the spouses simply done and this is the last box to check off before a divorce, are there control or abuse issues, the receptiveness of one spouse to participate or take influence from their partner, gridlock issues which spouses are unwilling to compromise on and the list can go on. No therapist can ethically guarantee results, but we can assure you the skills and knowledge from the Gottman research will be applied to your presenting concerns in a comprehensive treatment plan. The rest is up to you and your commitment to doing the hard work to improve the underlying causes of your dissatisfaction with the tools you will learn.
Therapy is not easy as many feelings and dynamics will be explored. We will team up to focus on renewing the friendship and trust to improve the areas which bring you to session in a supportive, validating environment.
I can’t convince my partner to come to therapy, what do I do?
Come anyway! You can benefit from identifying relationship dynamics, and learning communication skills, which may help you verbalize your feelings better. If your spouse chooses to join counseling later, the couples’ therapy will be referred out to another therapist. You may keep us for individual work.
Due to confidentiality, therapeutic relationship and treatment planning standards, it is best to start together to give therapy the optimal chance at working. We don’t deviate from this standard, so please let your spouse know before starting counseling.
How is Couple’s Therapy conducted?
We generally follow this order when working with couples, but can modify based on their needs:
- Week 1: Each person does an individual session alone (50-55 minutes)
- Week 2: Couple comes to their first joint session and we do “Oral History Interview” (90-120 minutes recommended, can be scheduled in two parts if needed).
- After their first session together, couple completes a Gottman Questionnaire, they receive a link via email, they sign up and pay the Gottman Institute directly. The couple receives their own report via email. The treatment plan is prepared using the Clinician’s report. Your session fee covers treatment plan development.
- Week 3: We review the treatment plan and choose what area to work on first. We encourage weekly sessions until couple is using the tools with more proficiency and then we can space out the sessions. (90-120 minutes a week recommended; we can schedule accordingly)
- If one of the spouses has other issues to work on individually such as depression, anxiety, difficulty regulating frustration or anger, among others we can add individual session in addition to couple’s sessions or that spouse may choose another therapist for this need.
What to do if there is abuse in the relationship?
Depending on the type and degree of the behaviors we will review on a case by case basis. Please contact us to review if couples counseling is recommended in your specific case.
Can Therapy help if there was betrayal or an affair in our relationship?
It is not easy to overcome betrayal such as affairs, financial, family loyalties and such, but it is possible to rebuild the relationship foundation and learn to trust each other again. The betrayal causes harm to the spouse who was not unfaithful and thus the work is arduous on both parties to sustain the effort at repairing and accepting the relationship changed. We suggest “The Science of Trust” by Dr. John Gottman and “NOT “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley Glass.
Is couples’ therapy worth the cost?
Therapy is an investment on yourself, but the cost can add up. Using the Gottman Relationship Questionnaire we can identify the areas which need improvement and focus the treatment to make it more efficient.
Therapy is less expensive emotionally and financially than a divorce.
What if I still have questions?
Please use the contact form and send us your questions, we will reply within 48 hours on business days. Please don’t send confidential information.