Marital Therapy Concept
When a couple is experiencing marital difficulties and has reached a point where they feel as if they can no longer trust each other and have stopped communicating, it is important that they seek professional help from a therapist. While solving problems on one's own can be rewarding, doing so requires both courage and commitment to the process.
Marital therapy is an effective way to address problems in a troubled marriage. I help distrusting, disengaged partners safely address their difficulties and begin the healing process:
1. My first responsibility is to provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment in which clients can confront their problems. I remain neutral and do not take sides. As a therapist, I limit angry and hysterical displays of emotion to promote calm problem solving. I provide a space in which it becomes possible for couples to step out of defensiveness and work on problems in a productive manner.
2. I help couples to normalize their expectations, desires and reactions. Couples often have unrealistically high expectations of each other and of themselves. Such feedback from a relatively objective third party can provide a needed reference point which partners can refer to during their negotiations.
3. Most therapists often function as traffic cops in conflicted couples' therapy, making sure that partners take turns talking and listening to each other, no one is shut down and unable to speak and all have a better chance to feel listened to than would otherwise be possible.
4. As a therapist, I teach problem-solving skills, communication abilities, and calming techniques to couples in order to help them better address and manage their conflicts.
5. To the extent that partners' difficulty in communicating contributes to their problem, I will encourage them to talk about their feelings and desires. Also teach listening skills, help partners express emotions that may be difficult to put into words and ask each partner to repeat what the other has said so as to demonstrate understanding.
During sessions of marital therapy, couples work through their difficulties. Therapists help them to resolve conflicts that may include estrangement and loss of loving feelings, communication problems, affairs, mismatched expectations and competitive struggles over whose vision and goals will dominate. Couples with the best chance for recovery are those who are both motivated to keep their marriage alive. However, couples who arrive at martial therapy with one or more partners ambivalent with regard to whether to remain committed to the marriage, whose problems are more severe or are characterized by more disengagement, or who are unwilling or unable to compromise may not be able to successfully work things out.