Posts Tagged ‘couples’ therapy’

How To Get My Spouse Into Couples Counseling?

Monday, June 13th, 2016

I get asked this question at least twice a week. I will often get a call from a prospective new client asking me about all the ins and outs of marriage counseling and couples’ therapy only at the end I would hear them say: “Let me talk to my wife/husband. And by the way how do I get them to come to see you?”

I am, frankly, at a loss about what to tell them. While there are still people in this day and age who shirk from therapy, most of us do not see it as a stigma anymore. More often than not, the other partner feels it’s too late.

Many times, they, themselves, suggested couple’s therapy for a long while to which there was a negative response. And now that the relationship is too far gone, they simply do not wish to give in to the request of their partner who hurt them for too long or they do not want to “work” on their relationship.

There are also those situations when a partner who is resisting therapy, simply has stuff that they do not want to talk about and don’t want to be on the spot by a therapist. Typically, there is either a secret or they simply do not want to talk about what is truly on their mind and are concerned that they will not have a choice when inside a therapist’s office.

By the way, most of the time, I don’t hear again from those callers who need to talk to their partner. So I do not have a magic answer to those asking this question. I suggest talking to him or her and tell them you found a therapist to work with, which shows motivation to get help. Be honest and vulnerable about fears of losing each other in the absence of support and how that would affect you, and what that would mean to you.

In choosing that route, I urge to be vulnerable and empathic and not hold back on expressing emotion. It may or may not make a difference, but when you want to save your relationship, and you feel remorseful, it is important to go all out.

I also suggest reading Sue Johnson’s “Hold me Tight” and John Gottman’s “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work.”  These books are written by great therapists in the field of Couples Therapy and may offer some hope to an otherwise defeated partner.

Is Your Relationship Making You Crazy In Love Or Driving You Crazy?

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

A reporter recently asked me this question. I had to think about it for a moment as both situations can make you feel off balance, off center and anxious.

I think a major distinction is that being crazy in love is a pleasurable feeling even if somewhat unsettling… Most of us crave this feeling and want to hold on to it as long as possible. It is an emotional high in which the anxiety comes from feeling vulnerable. But it is a state that makes us feel very alive, excited about life, albeit it somewhat scared of loosing the feeling and the person.

When being in love drives us crazy, it is a feeling and a state that is quite untenable and we do not want to remain in that state for a long time as it interferes with other important areas of our life and functioning. It is a state of angst, frustration, anxiety and is extremely uncomfortable. It is a feeling that something is wrong, the relationship is wrong or not good for us. It is an unhappy state.

Sometimes being in love drives us crazy because there is fear of something going wrong, our feelings being unrequited, jealousy and possessiveness can take over. Bur when the feelings of love are mutual and the people involved are reasonably stable, this feeling grows into a mature, fulfilling love. In contrast the craziness evolves into dysfunction and despair, can evolve into depression. This is a kind of a relationship people end up in therapy to get help getting out of.

Pre-Marital Counseling: Why It Is a Must Before “I Do”

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Based on my experience as a marriage and couples therapist, I think most couples planning to tie the knot can benefit from some form of pre-marital counseling. There are several reasons to consider this. Some couples call pre-marital counseling actual couples therapy. They experience repeated conflicts they are not able to resolve and the idea of couples’ therapy “before even being married” is just too disturbing. My answer to them is, “Good for you to realize this and not wait”. In these cases, pre-marital counseling is really no different from couples therapy or marriage counseling and the couple is simply getting a head start on tackling issues that can potentially ruin their marriage later. I applaud these couples in their wisdom and care about their relationship. If calling this “pre-marital counseling” makes them feel better, no problem.

Some come in for pre-marital counseling, not to deal with issues, but because they wish to discuss in a safe atmosphere common realities of married life, such as timing and number of children, work and career after children, finances, relationships with families of origins and friends, work/leisure balance amongst other things. In such cases, the counseling is more structured and each topic is discussed, differences are identified and there is a discussion and decisions made for mutually acceptable solutions. These sessions are very useful and productive in averting future discord, leading to anger, resentments and disconnection.

Sometimes, pre-marital counseling is a combination of both of these factors. Another common and related reason for therapy before marriage is that oftentimes unexpected problems arise during wedding planning. I have had several couples who came into my office because they realized during their engagement and wedding planning something about each other’s values or sensibilities they did not know before, or some issues happened between families that were especially disturbing. I have experienced weddings cancelled or postponed during these times and in these situations.

So, as you can see, I am all for pre-marital counseling or some discussion with a neutral party leading to marriage. Whether done by priest, rabbi or a therapist though all very different agendas and processes, it is healthy to address present or future potential universal marriage issues.