MARITAL AND COUPLES COUNSELING
Marital and couples counseling can take a variety of forms depending on the nature of the problems and the types of goals couples bring to counseling. Solution focused short-term therapy can provide basic ground rules for living a more joyful and conflict free life together by teaching communication and conflict resolution skills. It can better illuminate the negative cycles of interaction couples may find themselves locked in and work towards building more positive cycles that can enrich a couple's sense of intimacy, safety and growth. I have provided marital therapy for heterosexual, lesbian and gay couples and have found that working with all three types of couples helps increase my insight and effectiveness in solving problems related to gender roles, communication styles, and intimacy issues.
Many couples find that they would like to commit themselves to a longer-term form of marital therapy to address deeper personal and interpersonal issues. It seems to be a normal and natural part of human experience to bring unresolved issues from our childhoods into our adult relationships. Based on the role modeling of our parents as well as the nature and degree of traumatic experiences throughout our childhood, these issues can lead to our re-enacting these early patterns in the context of our here and now relationships. Thus, we find individuals struggling to get their partners to meet needs they cannot possibly meet, or heal wounds they did not inflict. This type of therapy helps couples to focus on their own internal issues and to learn how to heal themselves so they can be better friends, lovers and life mates for their partners and spouses. When both partners are committed to this process, they tend to develop greater levels of empathy for each other's life struggles. In this context, relationships can then become a place for healing and growth. Though this therapeutic road is often times a painful one to travel, its winding path can lead to increased intimacy, joy, self-awareness, healing, self-esteem, personal growth and sexual and spiritual fulfillment.