Communication in Couples Therapy
In my work with couples I will be attending to both of you – as well as to the process of interaction and the communication between you. I believe there are as many points of view as there are persons in the situation – and all are real and worthy of being expressed and understood.
I will endeavor to connect with and understand each of you; I will allow neither person to dominate or control a session. I may in fact often interrupt you, particularly when the interaction appears to be an “old dance” – one you’ve been doing together for a long time, where you each know what the other will say before he or she says it.
The Process of Change in Couples Therapy
I will gently challenge you at those moments to see if you can find some kind of new “dance step” – a shift in the interactional pattern that may lead to more satisfying outcomes for both of you. Just as in real dancing, learning new dance steps in couples therapy often involves feeling awkward or clumsy, maybe stepping on toes, requiring some practice before it feels comfortable and natural.
Couples Therapy is Hard Work
It is always the case that one or the other partner is less excited (or willing) to come in for a therapy appointment – but she/he gets credit for showing up. Marital therapy is hard work – but then, marriage is hard work! Too many people believe that if you just find the right person to partner with, everything will go fine from there on; if there is difficulty, it must mean you chose the wrong person. I think the situation is more complex than this.
I do not try to influence your decision to stay together or split apart, but I will encourage you to look at any ways possible to preserve your investment of time and energy in this relationship, without doing violence to yourself. There are certainly many situations in which divorce is the healthiest choice for both partners. I’ll challenge you to dig deep in this work, so that whatever decision you make, you will do so with the maximum amount of clarity and self-understanding possible.