Couples Counseling

662161621Meet Jessica* and Mark*.

Jessica and Mark were engaged for two years before they began attending couples counseling.

Mark was the first to attend therapy individually. Much of his sessions revolved around his dysfunctional relationship with Jessica. He talked about her anger outbursts and the tension that would build after fighting.

Week after week, Mark would test different strategies at home to improve his relationship to no avail. He asked Jessica to attend couples counseling, and she agreed.

Initially, we established some ground rules.

At the beginning of couples counseling sessions, important ground rules are established. Couples are reminded that rather than attacking and insulting one another, they are attending couples counseling sessions to make their relationship stronger and better.

It is frequent that healthy communication patterns in struggling couples are broken. This is remedied by teaching couples to exhibit intentional and helpful communication. Clients are taught to engage in self-control and self-awareness so that communication is useful, not harmful.

Clients are also taught the importance of being compassionate and empathetic to their partner’s feelings. The ultimate goal is to work toward the resolution of their problems.

While communication is encouraged, talking over one another and dominating the conversation is strongly discouraged. I will often ask couples to check in with themselves throughout the session so that the session stays on track.

724275112In the beginning, Jessica was angry.

Jessica and Mark attended their first therapy session on a Thursday.

Before she even spoke, Jessica’s body language communicated that she was angry. When she began talking, her frustration and anger poured out like lava.

Mark patiently listened and supported her, reminding her that he understood. While he was open to trying new things, Jessica no longer believed there was hope for them to improve their relationship.

She had a response for every suggestion that he made and said at the end of the therapy session that she was over the relationship.

The conversation moved to logistics.

I asked Jessica what she needed over the next few days now that she had decided to end their relationship. She began to cry and stated that she believed Mark should already know, but he did not. Jessica yelled that she needed space and did not want Mark to try to get back together with her.

Mark received counseling about giving Jessica her space, which was very hard for him.

Over the next several days, Mark kept his distance. He did something that Jessica did not believe he could do.

Jessica began to see Mark in a new light, given that he had proven that he had accomplished something challenging for several days.

2009069417The demeanor of sessions started to change.

Jessica and Mark returned to couples counseling sessions several more times. The sessions were no longer a screaming match but rather a solution-focused conversation.

Jessica finally felt heard. She was tired of being “love-bombed” and apologized endlessly without real change on Mark’s part. The negative impact his behavior had on Jessica finally resonated with Mark.

The two began to joke around, eat meals together, and go out as friends. These interactions led to them getting closer and feeling happy around one another.

Jessica began to feel romantic feelings for Mark once again and began to share intimate moments with him. She put her ring back on one day, and Jessica and Mark got back together.

Change can occur through couples counseling.

What was so powerful about the situation involving Jessica and Mark was that she had lost hope that Mark could do specific things that she asked. When Jessica asked for her space, which she had asked many times before and had not received, she thought she would never have it, no matter how much she asked.

When she did, she began to believe that perhaps Mark could understand and meet her needs. Mark also understood the vital life lesson of putting his feelings aside for the time being to give Jessica space and not constantly ask if she was okay.

While Mark’s initial behavior was in line with attempting to secure the relationship and make Jessica feel loved and wanted, it only served to drive Jessica away. Mark now understands the importance of listening to his partner’s needs and not prioritizing his need for reassurance over hers.

While the road to resolution may not be clear, there are essential, critical elements in a relationship that therapy can help uncover, including revealing information that can lead to healing and awareness.

Just as Jessica and Mark improved and even salvaged their relationship, you can enhance your relationship through couples counseling. You can bring your relationship troubles to a neutral place free of judgment and full of support – no matter your decision. I can help the two of you to make the right decision.

Please get in touch with me for more information.

*Names and details have been modified to protect confidential information.