I often receive phone calls expressing concern over the direction and status of intimate relationships.

The call is usually one sided, that is, one person has taken it upon themselves to reach out for help. Frequently the caller is concerned about the behavior of the other person and how their behavior is impacting them.

I do not do couples work like many therapists. Oftentimes within relationships there is a power differential between partners. To bring couples together to do therapy together invites the power play to occur within the therapeutic setting. That is not emotionally safe for anyone involved.

Since I do not know the individuals involved, I can inadvertantly reinforce the dynamics undermining the relationship. That is why I do individual counseling sessions for couples. I help each person identify their own issues that create barriers to intimacy. By learning more about yourself, you can begin to differentiate your own issues from those that occur within your relationship.

Couples sessions are reserved for goal directed activities; for example, how to handle getting the taxes done or, a visit from the extended family. In these sessions each person is encouraged to stay on topic. Since the session is goal directed and clients have been given individual time to get a better sense of themselves, communication can be easier.

I remind both of you how to phrase things so that each of you can see the difference that can be made with appropriate communication styles. We rehearse different ways of saying things and getting feedback from each other. With the coaching and better communication being encouraged, more is accomplished. Couples leave feeling that something was accomplished and that there is hope for the future,instead of scratching their head and feeling beaten up!

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