Marriage and Couple Counseling
In counseling couples, I believe that developing and maintaining a good relationship requires specific skills which can be learned.
The Goals of Positive Relationship Behaviors include
1. Accepting responsibility for behavior.
2. To cooperate
3. To contribute to the relationship
4. To support and encourage each other
Relationship-Destroying Behaviors include
1. Blaming others for shortcomings
2. Attention gaining
3. Revenge or getting even
4. Seeking power or control
Negative goals are usually unconscious and during the course of your counseling, we will uncover these goals and replace them with positive goals.
By learning to identify the goal of your behavior and your partner’s behavior, and the underlying feelings and beliefs, you can choose to respond in more effective ways.
Through counseling you will learn the importance of honesty and openness in a
relationship, and how to communicate more effectively. Our beliefs influence our ability to communicate with our partner. Sometimes we may be operating from negative beliefs or assumptions that discourage, or promote competition rather than encouragement and cooperation
Conflict resolution is an important part of the counseling process, as conflict is
inevitable in all intimate relationships. Learning to use “I” messages, using active listening, solving one problem at a time, avoiding blaming, and other techniques can help couples to solve conflicts more responsibly and creatively.
Inherent in the process of marriage counseling is the promotion of the self-esteem of both partners. In order to love someone else, we must first love ourselves. Self-esteem requires a commitment to awareness: awareness of self and others. According to Nathaniel Brandon: “To love another human being is to know and love his or her person. This presupposes a commitment to seeing and understanding the object of our love.” This is quite different from our notion of romantic love. Many couples who come to my office for counseling complain of feeling unappreciated, unloved, not valued or understood. They often feel unable to communicate with their partner. My approach is to understand the presenting problem and at the same time, to look more deeply into the dysfunctional patterns that have been created in the relationship and to learn where these patterns originated. With such awareness, change becomes possible, as one begins to understand whether the goals and behaviors are congruent, and learns how to demonstrate the positive behaviors of encouragement, support, contribution, and cooperation.