If you are struggling in your relationship I can help
The First Session
The first session involves 30 minutes with each of you and 15-30 minutes at the end with both of you together to discuss my recommendations as to how to proceed. I will give each of you a questionnaire to fill out while I am interviewing your partner and you will leave it with me at the end of the session. This first session helps me gather the information I need to best help you. The sessions that follow are for the most part the joint sessions with both of you together. This is the quickest way to see change. And because most couples starting therapy have had significant problems for six years on average, according to the research of John Gottman, by the time you come into my office you need help fast. A good couples therapist is not looking at you as individuals but looking at your relationship as a whole. That may seem like a minor detail but it is a very distinct difference. I'm not trying to find out out who is wrong or more "damaged" or "unhealthy". I'm looking at the dynamics between you and where things may be going wrong.
During the initial session I will be trying to understand and take in each persons point of view. I am doing that to create a picture of the whole relationship. My ultimate goal is to help each of you begin to clarify what YOU can do to change things. We are all very clear on what someone else has done to hurt us but usually have very little understanding as to what we are doing to keep a negative situation going. The quicker you see your part and the concrete changes that you need to make the quicker change happens. I am also trying to assess any crisis areas that need to change right away, such as infidelity or disrespect/aggression. The first session usually takes 60-75 minutes.
How Do We Know It's Working?
The change you begin to see initially depends on the issues you come in with. The most common issue I see in couples involves communication. Even when there are other issues that may seem unrelated like infidelity or sexual problems, there is always a part of it that involves a breakdown in communication. The first change you notice when it comes to problems communicating is that there is less fighting or negativity. Things seem more quiet in general. In my sessions I always try to give couples a roadmap for their issues. What usually causes problems, what each can do to make things better, what each may be doing to make things worse. Once things feel calmer it becomes easier for each person to take this in and bring it to situations outside of the therapy sessions. I tell all of my clients that the real change comes from what you each do at home, outside of my office.
The 90 Minute Session
I do offer couples 90 minute sessions. Research has shown that 90 minutes is an ideal amount of time for couples to be able to get to the issues and gain the clarity and coaching from the therapist to better see the changes they need to make as well as things they have done differently that may have led to a better week or being able to recover from an argument. If you have more difficult and intense issues, such as recently discovering your partner has been unfaithful, a 90 minute session may be something I recommend. Even though these sessions are more expensive and time consuming it usually means fewer sessions are needed to get the results you are looking for. If you have questions about this longer session format we can discuss this during our first session.