When couples initially meet and form relationships, they focus on the idealized view of the other person. Over time that intense, romantic feeling fades for most couples and they may begin to drift apart. Research shows that couples often do not seek treatment until problematic patterns have developed over many years. All couples experience some conflict in their relationship. While at different developmental stages different issues may arise, these are some of the common couple issues that cause people to seek therapy:
· Developing a home together and adjusting to different family values that you bring from your family of origin
· Adjusting to relationship changes after the birth of a child
· Disagreements over household chores and responsibilities
· Sexual Intimacy
· Relationships with extended family
· Lack of direct communication about wants and needs
· Lack of couple time
· Excessive levels of criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness
· Coping with the stressors of daily life: busy schedules, needy children, work expectations
I work with couples to rebuild a positive couple relationship, focusing on your strengths. As that relationship grows we begin to work together to develop more productive ways to communicate to and be understood by the other. Then we begin to tackle the perpetual problems that exist within any home. Couples therapy is always a mixture of acceptance and change—focusing on what you can change about yourself and learning to accept parts of the other person that are unchangeable. I utilize different approaches depending on the dynamics that are happening between couples and have received training in both the Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy.
Often, I recommend working on a book in conjunction with the couples therapy. This book is based on decades of couples research, and helps restore a positive, strong emotional base. The book is titled, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman.
Additionally, this book is sometimes more helpful for clients: Hold Me Tight by Susan Johnson.