“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” Oscar Wilde
Couple & Relationship Counseling
How do I know if I need couples counseling?
Studies show that couples wait on average six years from the time they sense something is wrong with their relationship to the time they come in for help. A frustrating thing for all marriage counselors is that often the people who come have come too late. So if you think you might need some help, chances are you do. Please give us a call to discuss with you your need and desire to come in for a consultation.
What are the signs of a marriage in trouble?
A study by Dr. John Gottman has shown that there are four signs of a marriage that is in danger of breaking up. They are known as “the four horsemen of the Apocalypse”.
- The first is CONTEMPT
If one or both partners disregard each other, make belittling comments, or role their eyes, it shows they are closing off from one another.
- The second is CRITICISM
This is a general kind of blanket character assassination.
- The third is DEFENSIVENESS
Not being willing to admit much of anything or grant the partner any credibility.
- The fourth is STONEWALLING
This is a rather complete shutdown and turning off of feeling.
Any one or combination of these four patterns indicates a relationship headed for trouble. Something must be done to stop the downward spiral or it just gets worse and worse.
What happens when I first come in?
You, or you and your significant other make a mutually agreed upon appointment for a consultation. The therapist will do an assessment, discuss options with you, and together you will decide on a plan.
How long does it take?
We usually ask people to commit to relationship counseling for three to six months. You will know during that time if it is helping you and if you want to continue. Many people come for relief of a few specific symptoms, others need more comprehensive help and support. The important thing is to get the help you want, and to know that if you need further assistance in the future you can call upon your relationship counselor.
What if my spouse won’t come in?
It happens often that one person or another in the relationship has resistance to couples therapy. Maybe they have had a bad previous experience, or they mistrust all therapists. Maybe they find it difficult to talk to a stranger about personal problems, or to ask for help about anything. Maybe they feel secretly to blame for a lot of the problems and are afraid to admit it. Whatever the reason, in our opinion it is fine for the person who wants to get started to begin. Many changes and improvements can be made from one side of the equation; change in one spouse often leads to change in another. Often the other person can be invited to participate at a later date.