Research shows that the average couple usually waits six years after the beginning of conflict in their marriage to seek professional help. Sadly many couples are on the verge of separation or divorce and feel there is no hope to salvage their relationship.
As a therapist, I can help to bring hope to your marriage. I invite couples to the neutral ground of my office, where I do not takes sides, but bring therapeutic suggestions for both partners that can create healthy changes in your relationship. I facilitate creating a positive environment in marriage counselling sessions.
I utilize Gottman Method couples counselling in conjunction with Emotion Focused Couple Therapy. The Gottman Method is a research based couples therapy approach based on more than four decades of research by psychologists Drs. John and Julie Gottman. Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) is also a highly researched, effective and evidence-based theory that helps couples understand and respond to each other’s needs. EFT has been validated by over 30 years of empirical research
Gottman Method therapy emphasizes an assessment phase to better understand the strengths of your relationship as well as target areas for change. In the assessment phase I learn about your history as a couple, we review your reasons for coming to counselling, and your expectations for the relationship and for therapy. At the end of the session I invite you to complete the Gottman Relationship Checkup questionnaire online.
This clinical tool consists of 480 questions about friendship, intimacy, how well you know your partner, how you manage emotions and conflict, how you share your values and goals, and what gives meaning to your lives. There are additional questions about parenting, housework, finances, trust and individual areas of concern. The questionnaire is completely confidential and I (your therapist) will be the only person to see your responses. The Gottman Relationship Checkup costs $39.00 in United States currency. This questionnaire is not intended to predict the outcome of your relationship, but help us get an in depth picture of your relationship strengths and challenges.
Once the Gottman Relationship Checkup has been completed I provide feedback by combining the results of the Checkup with Emotion Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
EFT studies indicate that when we can’t find a safe, loving way to stay connected to our partner we go into a state of emotional pain and alarm. We automatically respond by protesting or withdrawing (fight or flight) even when we aren’t aware of our fear or panic. Partners will then respond with their own protest or withdrawal. Each person is impacted both physiologically and emotionally, which creates a negative feedback loop. In EFT, couples are helped to create love, empathy and connection in their relationships. Couples learn to identify their cycle, the emotions underneath their reactions and their parts in the feedback loop as they come up in the session and at home.
Problems are reframed in terms of attachment needs. Couples learn to regulate their emotions and send clear signals of their needs. They also learn how to respond in a healthy way to the signals that are sent to them. Once we can send clear signals we actually pull our partner closer when we are in need. We learn to reach for our partner to help us to solve the emotional upset that we are feeling. By working together couples create the safety, trust and support that they have been yearning for. EFT is a collaborative model that encourages couples to be involved in the deconstructing of the negative cycle and the creation of a new, secure relationship.