Why Couples Therapy?

After the courtship period, couples often wonder, “What happened to the fun, excitement and passion we used to have together?”  As the novelty wears away, couples sometimes argue, pout, become enraged and act irrational. They may move into a stressful stage of over-working, having to cope with being a parent to their own children or to stepchildren, and the pressures of a complex society. They do not have the skills to deal with conflict optimally, and so do not resolve their differences effectively. Hurt and anger will interfere with, and sometimes destroy, intimacy.  Issues of control frequently emerge and cause conflict to escalate. Men often become withdrawn, unemotional and uncommunicative, while woman feel lonely, frustrated and angry.

The good news is that skilled therapy can reverse such patterns, even when there has been a dampening of affection. Problems in relationships are inevitable. Our approach is to help partners negotiate and compromise, using conflict to identify “hot spots” and provide clues to unresolved past issues. We help each partner to become healthier, which can translate to a more open, honest and often excitingly intimate relationship.

Relational therapy can be an opportunity to examine factors that have made adult intimacy more difficult for one or both partners in the relationship.  Our approach is to see the couple once or twice weekly, with specific “homework” assignments to try new ways to interact for 3 to 5 hours between sessions. We prefer to focus therapy on one partner with the other partner in the in the room, so the couple is better able to help each other after the session, thereby creating greater relational intimacy. In a relatively short period of time, either the relationship greatly improves, or the partners realize they should separate.  If separation is indicated and inevitable, therapy can make the process less devastating for the couple and their children.

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