Creating Hope and Intimacy in Troubled Relationships
Couple's counseling can be difficult to begin. Many couples arrive in the midst of a crisis – an affair, a threat of separation, or an argument that scared both partners. Other couples seek therapy because one partner feels dissatisfied or hopeless about the relationship -- and perhaps aren't sure whether or not they want the marriage to continue.
Sometimes both partners are willing participants in therapy, sometimes not. Often the biggest reason for reluctance is fear of being blamed for the failure of the relationship. Others fear the “stigma” of needing therapy and would rather try to work things out themselves. All of us could use a little help from time to time. At Fergus Falls Family Counseling, we strive to keep the conversations balanced; after all, it really does take two. And often, the relationship sits on the shoulders of the past -- our grandparents way of relating, our parents way of relating, and our own previous relationships
Couple relationships are a complex product of two people's family backgrounds and life experiences. Yet those complexities often don’t show up until a romantic relationship is well established. Then past wounds may be bumped, shame-wires may be tripped, or our partners remind us (whether we recognize it consciously or not) of someone from our family-of-origin who scared us, invalidated us, or never allowed us to be right. Understanding where we come from and how we differ from our partner can be a significant part of growing in intimacy in our relationship.
The First Few Couples Sessions
A general outline of our process for couples therapy is below. However, each couple is different, and your therapy will be tailored to the specific concerns you bring.
We will spend a few minutes of the first session running through the paperwork and legalities of therapy, including nailing down details of confidentiality, and payment. Tammy will then invite you to ask any questions you have about therapy in general. Tammy will go through your intake form to learn a bit more about you and get a baseline of your symptoms. The remainder of the session is used to summarize and prioritize issues, discuss goals and for Tammy to provide suggestions for the treatment approach.
Session 2 During the second session, we will move on to creating a genogram from each partner, to learn about the biological, relational and attachment legacies they bring to the relationship. This information provides background to the issues that brought the couple to therapy.
Session 3 Between the second and third sessions, Tammy go through all the information gathered from the first two sessions and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. We will present this to you in the third session so that you can give your input, ask questions and make any changes. The remainder of the session usually includes some education about the brain and the practicing of resources and techniques for managing any current symptoms before the next session.
Session 4 This is where therapy truly begins! At this point, the structure of sessions becomes more fluid, as we will weave the strategies from the treatment plan into discussions over whatever issues you encountered during your week. If nothing specific happened in your week that needs addressing, we will attend to the goals on your treatment plan directly, using our approach of education and practical intervention.
We will check in with you regularly on your symptoms, therapy goals and how you feel the therapy is working for you.
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