Couples Counseling & Marriage Counseling
When people seeking couples counseling or marriage counseling ask for my help, I consider the partners’ relationship to be my client. My goal as a marriage counselor is to help the partners increase their capacity to be close. This requires each partner to understand how their own feelings and behavior may work to resist closeness, and to do that without attacking themselves or their mate. During marriage counseling, the goal is for the partners to become more compassionate and understanding of each other. When couples want to improve their relationship and change problematic behaviors, I support them in facing that challenge. Often one or both partners will need the additional support and/or challenge of individual or group therapy in order to resolve their relationship problems. In this case, I may refer one or both to group therapy or to another therapist for individual work. Alternatively, I may refer the couple to a couples therapy group with another competent marriage therapist.
Sometimes marriage problems can be so severe that in the course of couples therapy, partners decide to discontinue their marriage. When this happens, my role as marriage counselor, is to facilitate the separation with the least harm to the partners individually and to their children. Children of divorced parents who remain engaged in a high state of conflict are at a significantly higher risk for adjustment problems than other children of divorced parents. Therefore, it is crucial to minimize parental conflict, whether it takes the form of outright fighting or criticizing the other parent to the children. When a couple is unable to end a pattern of intense conflict, I will help them set up and maintain a communication structure that allows them to co-parent effectively before, during and after their divorce. People going through divorce often experience stress, depression, anxiety and/or other adjustment problems. When this is the case, I will refer one or both parents to individual counseling, group therapy, and/or to psychiatric care. I will remain a resource for referrals to child therapists and other health care providers.