For a primary couple’s relationship to be healthy, the two partners need to have equal and reciprocal loyalty to each other – however that loyalty is defined. Problems arise when loyalties are uneven and not reciprocated. Each partner also needs to offer enough value for the other partner.
Our approach to couples counseling or couples therapy is solution focused. A big part of being effective as a couples therapist is to determine at the outset if we need to do couples counseling or divorce counseling. So, our couple’s therapists assess each partner’s loyalty to the relationship and their motivation to improve the relationship. We need to assess divided loyalties.
In a problematic relationship, loyalties are usually at odds. Therefore, our therapists who do couples counseling evaluate how and to what extent loyalties are discrepant. Then they assess each partner’s commitment to repairing the relationship. If the partners do not have an equivalent degree of commitment, couples therapy is unlikely to be effective.
Once, each partner demonstrates adequate commitment, we begin working on recalling positive memories about each other and the relationship. This is where couples hypnosis comes into the work. Hypnosis also facilitates relaxation of each partners defenses. This is essential because at the outset of Couples Therapy, defensiveness is heightened.
Couple relationship repair needs to be experienced as fun and as play. Of course, there is work involved. But if the repair process is too serious – that is, all work and no play, motivation to stick with the therapy is likely to become diminished. The relationship repair process needs to be a re-bonding experience so the partners create new positive memories together.
Our couples therapists employ aspects of Imago Relationship Therapy and the Gottman Method. Using these approaches makes Couple Counseling briefer, deeper and more effective. Specifically:
- The Gottman Method developed by psychologist John Gottman, provides a model for evaluating what he termed the “Four Horseman of a Relationship Apocalypse”. These factors can spell disaster for an enduring couples relationship.
- Imago Relationship Therapy developed by psychologist Harville Hendrix, provides a methodology for helping a couple recognize the qualities that originally attracted them to each other and formed the glue that kept them together as a couple.
- Imago Relationship Therapy, if the partners are committed to relationship repair, can help to reboot the relationship and redevelop mutual appreciation, respect and love.
- Additionally, we employ straightforward behavioral psychology methods to help each partner become more attentive to their partner and more rewarding.
- Again, these methods only work with couples who are committed to improving or saving their relationship.
Couple Counseling can be fun and enhance personal growth and development. While not all fun and games, it is an enlightening experience. Effective couples counseling builds mutual trust. This is the bedrock of a successful and enduring relationship between two partners.