Couple’s Counseling: uncovering new solutions
There are countless reasons a couple might seek counseling… and many stages in a marriage or relationship when counseling can be helpful. But realistically, most people don’t consider counseling unless they’re hurting. It may be from something abrupt and unexpected or being frustrated by the same difficulties coming back up over and over. Either way they’ve been unable to find a resolution on their own.
Have you ever had a puzzle or riddle you were trying to solve and just couldn’t see any answer? Then someone offers a hint or suggests a different way to look at it and suddenly the answer – or a new way of moving forward – becomes clear to you? And then when you look at the puzzle the way forward may even seem obvious.
Nothing about the puzzle itself has changed. But now you have a new ‘filter’ and you see the situation differently. You’re aware of new possibilities, because now you have new information. (click on the spinning dancer to try it out)
One important part of couple’s counseling involves a very similar process. The counselor guides you in viewing or considering your situation from a new perspective, which uncovers previously unseen ways for moving forward.
Admittedly, in marriage counseling it often takes more than just a single new awareness to find reliable long term solutions. But, with each new insight more choices and possibilities are revealed. Most couples discover a few key ideas that really hit home or resonate with them – which then opens the way for them to create the experience they want in their relationship.
But, this process of exploration and discovery can be surprisingly difficult for a couple to do on their own, because our brains are largely wired to ‘keep seeing what we already expect to see’. Our brains literally filter out and resist seeing possibilities outside of our familiar patterns.
In our couples’ counseling I assist you in discovering these new insights… and then exploring with you practical steps you can take to apply them to have the quality, integrity, and depth of connection you desire in your relationship.
What to Expect in Marriage or Couple Counseling
Schedule your free consultation
The first step is easy. Just call me to schedule a complimentary consultation (828) 686-9601.
Unless there is an urgent need, I recommend starting with an initial consultation at my office. That gives you a chance to get to know me, to ask any questions, and to make sure I’m a good fit to assist you. Depending on the flexibility of your schedules, an initial consultation can usually occur within one or two days of your call.
Stage 1: The assessment phase
Our first few meetings are focused primarily as an Assessment Time, when I’ll be asking quite a few questions to get to know you better and understand your unique challenges. During this time I’m also screening for the areas needing the most urgent attention and those that seem most likely to bring you some fairly fast improvements.
The usual process is for me to meet with you as a couple and then meet once with each of you individually. Then we meet all together again, so we can discuss my impressions and make a plan for proceeding.
Stage 2: The counseling and practice phase
Counseling does actually begin during the assessment phase; but now our focus will shift toward those specific areas that appear to be causing you the most difficulties. At the same time, we’ll look for areas where some small changes are likely to result in noticeable improvement fairly quickly.
Typically we’ll meet weekly for your counseling sessions, at least for a couple months. Meeting weekly is very important. Counseling is a process that combines you uncovering new insights during our meetings and then making changes in your interactions by practicing new choices between sessions.
But, this means you’ll be changing habits and patterns, which probably will resist being changed. (Sorry, but it’s true.) So regular sessions are important to keep your focus, get prompt feedback on the new things you’re trying out, and to help you stay inspired and build the momentum necessary for your new patterns to take root.
Most meetings during this time are with you together as a couple. However, we may occasionally have weeks when I recommend meeting with each of you individually, if I believe it would be more productive.
Stage 3: Wrap up and follow up
When you find your relationship is mostly going well, the changes you’ve been making are taking root, and you’re happily telling me how you worked through new challenges on your own between sessions… it’s time for us to reduce the frequency our meetings and start preparing to end the counseling.
Typically this wrapping up phase involves 3 – 6 sessions with us every other week. Even though things are now going better, this is a very important stage of your counseling. Your progress is the result of you doing some things differently, but they’re still new for you and there’s an inherent risk of falling back into your old ways. It’s human nature (and built into our neurology) for old patterns to try to reemerge. These wrap up sessions guard against that by keep your focus on what’s working until those new patterns are well established.
How long will counseling take?
It’s understandable that you’d like to know how long your counseling will take, but unfortunately that’s an impossible question to answer. There are simply too many factors and variables to reliably predict how long will be needed before you’re feeling confident and secure in your relationship again. However, I’m certainly open to offering you my “best rough estimate” following the ‘assessment phase’ or at any point along the way.
Most often my counseling with couples runs around 4 to 6 months; although there are certainly couples I’ve met with who’ve successfully completed counseling in both shorter or longer periods.
To get started, call me to schedule your free consultation. (828) 686-9601