In a time when 60% of marriages end in divorce couples counseling is extremely important. Keeping a marriage or a relationship together can save tremendous pain and suffering for each partner. In couples counseling, the goal is two fold. It is to identify and resolve the problem, and improve communication (if this is an issue). Once the problems are identified, the couple can use their communication skills to learn compromise in the relationship. It is evident that many of us did not choose the most compatible partner. However, a relationship can still be rewarding, supportive, and meaningful if the communication is improved. The therapist’s task is to identify the dysfunctional communication and replace it with healthy communication. The therapist must also be aware of issues that may sabotage the entire process. For example, if one of the partners is dealing with something that they are not being honest about within the relationship, like infidelity or even substance dependence, then it will be extremely challenging to repair the relationship. That client may also need to be seen in individual therapy. An important factor is for the therapist to have the couple reframe the problem as “our problem” not belonging to one or the other of the individuals. That allows the couple to not assign blame or shame, so that the couple can remain focused on a solution.
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