Working with Couples

When meeting with a couple their stories are told.

As their story is related, each member tells a tale that is almost always true.

The events are as reported, or very close.

Offenses committed are generally, accurately communicated.


Why then can’t the other person see, hear, and understand the situation?

The ability to answer that question with accuracy and sensitivity is what allows my work with couples to be effective.


The First Step

I am listening for the “off” note. It is the moment that signals there is miscommunication present. Danger Ahead.

I am able to hear and identify that note.

How and when to intervene is a decision that will be made.

What is crucial though, is that the moment has been identified.


What Happens Next? 

A couple enters the office with a myriad of strengths and a history of caring.

Something has gone wrong. There is pain present and the path to figuring out exactly how to remedy this situation is blocked.


The Role of the Therapist

I can see both the depth and complexity of the presenting problems.

I am able to explain what it is I have seen and heard to the clients.

I am able to do this in a manner that clarifies the situation.

As a result, the hopelessness experienced by the couple is immediately reduced.


These problems, once defined and communicated to each member of the couple, can then be experienced more objectively.

Clarity, a necessary ingredient for working through a problem has now been introduced.

A possibility is now visible that had been previously unseen: a solution.


Disappointment reigns, feelings are hurt, in a way that is similar to being in a free-fall. There seems to be no bottom.

The person who has promised to care, not only is failing to do so, but they are causing and exacerbating the problem.

Conclusions drawn at these moments have a range from numbness to fright.


What seems most certain is that both wish to exit this nightmare.

What is it that can be done to first stabilize the situation, and then proceed safely towards finding a solution?

The answers to those questions are often simple in concept.

In an arena that is safe, it is possible to hear these explanations.


In my office both are available. It is safe, I can explain.