People usually don’t go onto the web and search, “couples counseling near me”, unless they have already tried to solve their problem on their own. The number one reason people search for a couples counselor is because they are looking for professional help with their communication and conflict resolution in their relationship. It has been my experience over the years, that regardless of what brings a couple through my door, my first job is to make each partner feel safe, comfortable, understood, and respected. Many times it will seem as though the couple begins therapy with the assumption that I am the referee or the judge and it is their job to get me to take their side. I can assure you, this will not be my role.
What Is the Counselor’s Role in Session?
My job is to listen to each partner and get the story of how things came to be the way they are today. This will include exploring the story of how the couple met one another, brief histories of their respective upbringings, and learning more about the families in which they were raised. We then will go through the couple’s interaction style, and see how they are currently speaking to one another, how each partner expresses his/her feelings and needs, and how each partner responds to the expression of those feelings and needs. One of the most important roles I play in session is to help keep the emotional climate safe. Tough subjects are brought up in counseling, there is no escaping that. And, there is a way to talk about these difficult issues honestly, and openly, without attacking or blaming our partner’s or ourselves.
How Long Does Couples Counseling Last?
??The obvious answer here is, it depends. I talk more about what to expect in terms of the length of treatment in my Frequently Asked Questions page. In addition to what I’ve written there, I would say that how active a client is in (and out of) session also makes a big difference. Clients who come to me for advice, or a quick fix will be sorely disappointed, I’m afraid to say. Being in counseling takes work. It takes active effort on your part. Sometimes I will assign out-of-session work for a couple to do. This helps to supplement the work that we are doing in session. I’ve worked with couples who come in to tackle something specific in their marriage, and after they’ve met that goal, they want to continue therapy because they see the value it brings to their relationship. Other couples finish their goals, and want to schedule a “Relationship Check-up” in 6 months. It really varies from couple to couple.
If you’ve been feeling tension in your relationship and are not sure how to get past this current “rut” that you seem to be stuck in, it may be time to give a professional a call. If you live in or around the Bethesda area, feel free to call my practice and schedule your first appointment. I absolutely love the work that I do, and would be honored to get to work with you and your partner.