Forging The Path to a Deeper, More Harmonious Relationship
Behind the Scenes of Couple’s Work
Given the natural pressures of work, family, and personal growth, it’s easy for couples to lose sight of the deep connection that once brought them together. However, by engaging in intentional couple’s work, partners can forge a path to a deeper, more harmonious relationship.
One benefit of professional couples work is the guidework that creates a sacred container and a safe space for open communication. We address individual and shared goals in the therapy process, always holding the relationship as the client.
Forging The Path: What the Process Looks LIke
Onboarding to reach agreement
We begin with an assessment and an onboarding process to clarify where we are and where we want to go. We review expectations and intentions for our upcoming sessions. This is where we begin creating a “safe container” for the work. We will spend time coming to an agreement on what we hope to achieve. To be completely candid, this part of the process can feel a bit tedious, but if we lay a good foundation now, it will be easier-going later.
Orienting toward frameworks
Next, we root out the problems. In orienting toward specific frameworks, we’re working to understand what is happening. We’re identifying that which is not working. Think of Dr. Gottman’s “Four Horsemen” model that can predict the end of a relationship if left unresolved. These are Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. Gottman’s research has shown that these certain patterns forge disconnection almost too much for the relationship to handle. I consider each of these behaviors as relational toxins.
Walking a shared path
Finally, we get to a point of identifying our specific philosophies. Together, we can re-educate ourselves and get on a path of what could or will work. We look at the path we’re taking and the related philosophies. Even here, it’s still not about prior attachment wounds. Some people want to dive right into this wounding, but that is counterproductive in my experience.
Mining our stories
Finally, we as a couple can go deeper into our stories. We’re identifying the patterns and deeper issues going on in our relationships. We learn how to resolve or get beyond those issues by developing skills for unifying action.
Getting Real: A Major Prerequisite for Doing the Work
As a fair warning to you, in my practice, the style is direct. The work can feel intense at times.
As we work through these, I may interrupt or call time outs. I’ll definitely tell you if you are being unkind or unfair. Watching the inner workings of your relationship, I help you spark positive transformations.
We can sort out whether you’ve fallen into toxic patterns. When we address these patterns with a willingness to course-correct, amazing change occurs.
Sample Couples Work Scenarios
Recognizing underlying issues and patterns that may be contributing to relationship challenges is critical, yet these may be incredibly difficult to see for ourselves. Common issues couples face include communication breakdowns, emotional disconnection, and concerns about intimacy and trust.
Tim and Stephanie:
Struggling with communication
Tim and Stephanie need coaching to improve their communication skills. They’re a strong couple with excellent communication at work, but they didn’t grow up with parents who modeled positive communication. Often they revert back to familiar but unproductive patterns in their personal lives.
I help them identify when they’re slipping into ruts such as blame. Each needed to unlearn unhealthy habits of defensiveness, tone/ non-verbal expressions of contempt and working as partners not adversaries.
Robbie and Chloe:
Moving beyond disagreements
Bobbie and Chloe get along well most of the time. They are both securely attached, but they sometimes argue and worry that this is damaging the relationship. Their conflicts are not about underlying intimacy issues, so coaching helps them develop effective conflict resolution skills. Even healthy couples disagree at times.
Together we explore tools for managing and resolving disagreements in a healthy way. We talk a lot about rupture and repair and spend much of our time helping each of them to express themselves using feeling words vs thinking words.
Jack and Ali:
Lacking emotional closeness
Jack and Ali have drifted apart since having children. They still genuinely enjoy each other’s company, but the spark has faded a bit, they’re relationship is more like roommates and co-parent than of partners/ lovers. They entered couples work to help rebuild emotional and physical closeness.
Together, we examine what is going on. They learn skills and approaches to foster greater trust and vulnerability, which re-ignites their interest in learning and growing together. For them a practice of sensual touch and connection brings more aliveness and vulnerability to the table. They still struggle to make the time to connect but when they do they find the emotional closeness they both long for.
Please note, these examples blend common themes of the many couples I’ve seen over the past decade, and do not represent any one specific person or couple.
How Can I Help You Forge Deeper Connections?
Couples work can help partners develop a deeper, more harmonious relationship by fostering trust, emotional intelligence, and intimacy.
We will never regret creating more space for empathy, vulnerability, and understanding in our relationships.
The benefits of couples work are vast. This work informs every area of our lives.
Nurture your relationship to create a more fulfilling, lasting partnership. Take the first step toward a healthier and more satisfying relationship by scheduling your free consultation today.