Did you know that most couples wait 6 years after a problem starts before coming to couples counseling in Atlanta? That’s right. You have a problem. You wait six years. You let it fester. It becomes rooted in all of your interactions.
Why do people wait for so long? Well, I don’t know that there’s one particular answer. What I do know is that our relationships are sacred, and vulnerable, and most couples try to protect their relationship from outside judging, opinions, dangers….and so sometimes that means they don’t want to bring a stranger into their issues.
And that makes a lot of sense. The challenge is that it takes so long for couples to seek out an Atlanta couples counselor, that many of them come to my office frustrated, fed up, ready to throw in the towel….and I don’t have quick fixes. Couples therapy isn’t a quick fix.
So, to make it easier for you to understand what you can expect from Atlanta couples counseling, I’ve decided to detail some of it here.
- You have years, years, years…most of you have years of history, commitment, heartache, and joy. We cannot fix your marriage or relationship in one session. I take three sessions to really hear you out (because I follow the Gottman Method for assessment and couples therapy). After those sessions, we start doing work that is specific to you as a couple. Some couples are strong in communication but struggle with trust. Some are strong in friendship but struggle with communication during conflict. In my Atlanta couples counseling office, we work to really hone in on the things you need to work on as a couple.
- Research backed approaches are the best, and I recommend you see a therapist that has training and experience using a research backed approach. In my sessions, my couples can expect a structure that is backed by 40 years of research conducted by the Gottman Institude. They’re not my opinions or guesses, although you’ll definitely see my personality and style shine through everything I do in my Atlanta couples counseling office, they’re methods and concepts that are backed by what actually works for couples based on research.
- Expect to work…hard. This is a tough one for many of my couples to deal with, but in my Atlanta couples counseling office you will do hard work. Your relationship is a partnership. You are both responsible. You are both capable. You can expect to work hard.
- Expect me to ask you to change….well kind of. I think the word change is scary, but the truth of the matter is if what you were doing was working you wouldn’t be coming to my office. So, I will teach you methods that are research backed, and ask you to implement them. If you want to see results, you will need to implement them (my softer way of saying you will need to change.) Don’t worry though, it takes practice and no one is perfect. In fact, I like to reassure people that I will not ask you to do things like ‘not fight.’ Fighting isn’t a predictor of divorce. So, breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not all fruffy stuff (not sure if that’s even a word.)
- Plan to connect with your emotions and those of your spouse. I will ask you to express your emotions in healthy ways, and I will ask you to honor and validate your spouse’s emotions too.
- Plan to disconnect with your emotions. I know!!!! It’s a twist. I just told you I would ask you to connect with them. What I mean by this point is that sometimes I will ask you to do something you don’t feel like doing, or ask you to not do something that you feel like doing. This will be entirely based on what is healthy and effective for relationships.
- Understand that not every couples counselor in Atlanta will be a good fit for you. We are human. We all have our personalities, our quirks, our strengths, and our areas of needed improvement. Many couples have come to my office and said they’ve tried multiple counselors over the years. What I share is that if you don’t like the counselor, find someone else, but do not quit putting effort into the relationship.
- You can expect me to not take sides in my Atlanta couples counseling office. As a couple, you are my client. I think men sometimes fear I will take the woman’s side. Or, a person that had an affair will expect me to take the other person’s side. I try really hard to avoid this in my office. You are both my clients and taking sides isn’t productive. What I will do is challenge you to step up in an area you may need to step up in. But you’ll see me do that to your spouse too so it’s all good.
- You will be asked to make your marriage a priority. This is actually a difficult one. Kids take time. Careers take time. Money is important. Keeping up is important. And, I will ask you to set aside time to make this marriage work. Gottman teaches a 6 hour/week formula and I ask my couples to consider this concept.
There’s so much more that I could share about what to expect from Atlanta couples counseling, but I’ll stop there. If you’re considering counseling, don’t wait another 6 years. Give someone a call. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, find someone else.