Can couples therapy save my marriage?
Very likely yes. This is particularly true if you choose a therapist who is specifically trained in couples counseling and adheres to proven, evidence-based relationship therapies such as Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, also known as EFT Therapy. If you and your partner are both committed to saving your relationship, couples therapy can give you the necessary framework and structure you need to move forward.
I am scared to try marriage counseling. Is it really going to help?
The prospect of seeking outside help with your relationship can be daunting, especially when you don’t know what to expect. And if your marriage feels like it is teetering on the edge of a cliff, you want to know that your counselor isn’t going to inadvertently push you over the edge.
I understand the risk you are taking and I take it very seriously. I enter into my relationship with couples knowing that they are entrusting me with both their deepest emotions and quite possibly the fate of their marriage. I do not judge, blame or take sides, and I don't let the arguments you have at home escalate in my office. I help you and your partner work to understand and change your negative cycle and move beyond the conflict and distance you feel today.
When is it too late to save a marriage?
In most instances it's never too late. Certainly the sooner you begin to address the negative cycles in your relationship the easier it may be to change course. But no matter when you make the decision to seek help, most couples experience meaningful and lasting change, especially if they are both willing to continue to try and engage in the process.
It is very common for couples to experience significant distress in their relationships for long periods of time. According to a marital research study by the Gottman Institute, the average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. Yet many couples are able to transform their relationships in meaningful and lasting ways, particularly when they work with a therapist who is specifically trained in marriage and relationships.
We’ve had a lot of tough fights. Isn’t that a sign that we’re just not compatible?
As much as arguments and conflict might seem to signal a fundamental incompatibility, in many cases the opposite is true. When you are fighting with your partner, you are most likely fighting for the relationship. Unfortunately it is often not in a way that brings you close again.
Couples tend to fight precisely for the reason that their love and commitment to one another is so strong. Deep down both parties have a deep need for connection, but negative cycles can develop that cause a disconnection and prevent emotional safety. With proper guidance, this pattern can be reversed and important new connections formed.
In cases where relationships that have become physically or emotionally abusive, it may be necessary for one or both parties to seek therapy individually before deciding whether to continue in a partnership.
Do you work from a Christian, LDS or other religious point of view? What about LGBTQ?
I have experience working with couples from most religious backgrounds, cultures, and sexual orientations and knowing the context of a person's beliefs and cultural background is always helpful in understanding the whole of the relationship.
One of the great benefits of the approach I use with couples is that it spans all cultures, religions, backgrounds and sexual orientations. It is based on an attachment model and addresses our need as humans for a secure connection with our partner. Most of the time we are focusing on identifying and interrupting the negative cycle that stands in the way of that connection rather than the surface level complaints and conflicts.