Coming to see a couples therapist can be a very intimidating experience. One partner may be more enthusiastic or motivated in seeking getting help. There might be a sense of hopelessness and doubt that significant change is possible within the relationship. These are all common themes that come up for couples. While therapy can be expensive, going through a separation or divorce can be a much more significant expense both financially and emotionally. As a therapist who follows the Gottman approach, I focus on making the relationship work. If this is not realistic or possible I will try to help you negotiate how to end the relationship in the most amicable way.
The first most important step within the Gottman approach is do do an extensive assessment to to determine where you are at within your relationship:
First session is as a couple gathering some general information and developing a therapeutic relationship. I will explain that the “client” is the couple and the limits to confidentiality for individuals within the relationship. I will then get separate email addresses so that I can send each partner an extensive questionnaire that takes each individual a couple of hours to complete.
The second and third session is going through information gained within the questionnaire each individual in private. Issues are clarified and additional issues may be explored in more detail to ensure each individual is ready to do the work.
The fourth session is bringing the couple back together and providing feedback about strengths and areas to improve on within the relationship. There will be a discussion as to how to prioritize therapy and focus on agreed upon goals.
For couples who have busy schedules or who are coming in from out of town, these four steps can be all completed in the same day.
As well where a recent infidelity has come to the surface and there is a crisis within the relationship a half day or full day session may be more appropriate. Please contact me for more information to assist you in determining the best course of action. Please note that I do not regularly schedule appointments on the weekend, however half or whole days can be scheduled on either a Saturday or Sunday.
Here are additional online resources on the Gottman approach: