Need help with your partner? Hoping to regain some of the closeness you once shared? You are not alone. There are many couples who struggle with problems ranging from money or sex to contempt and bitterness toward each other. There is hope!
“Shawn is exactly what we needed to accomplish our goals. We’re very happy that he’s taken the time to get to know each of us. We enjoy and look forward to meeting with Shawn, we see it as our opportunity to grow individually, as a couple and as a family. Some of the smallest things can really make a difference.”D. M.
“Therapy has absolutely had a very positive affect on my relationship. It helped me focus on communication skills and understanding what was most important to my partner. Shawn is very supportive and I would highly recommend him to anyone.”M. J.
“Shawn has the skills to teach us the “tools” necessary for personal growth & healing. We are very happy with the progress we are making. We have already referred Shawn to others.”C. W.
I am heavily influenced by the work of Dr. John Gottman in my approach to couple’s therapy. The Gottman Method Couples Therapy is based on Dr. John Gottman’s research that began in the 1970s and continues to this day. The research has focused on what makes marriages succeed or fail. From this research, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have created a method of therapy that emphasizes a nuts-and-bolts approach to improving clients’ relationships.
This method is designed to help teach specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in your relationship. To help you productively manage conflict, you will be given methods to manage resolvable problems and dialogue about gridlocked (or perpetual) issues. We will also work together to help you appreciate your relationship’s strengths and to gently navigate through its vulnerabilities.
FREQUENCY AND EFFICACY
There is a growing body of research that shows couple’s therapy to be more effective when it is done frequently in the beginning of treatment and faded out towards the end. Studies completed by Boegner & Zielenbach-Coenen (1984) and Babcock, Gottman, Ryan & Gottman (2013) have demonstrated positive outcomes for couples that participate more frequently in sessions initially rather than spreading them out over months.
There may be times where it will be necessary to schedule 90-minute or two-hour sessions. Sometimes an hour a week does not allow the necessary time to make good progress. Occasionally, I will also request to do one individual session with each of you.
Some of the topics I frequently discuss with couples includes (but is not limited to) the following:
The two steps of communication that most people know are send and receive. The third step is often neglected. This step is verification. When my wife says something to me she intends it in a certain way, but I may take it in an entirely different way. The only way to balance this is for me to verify that I have understood her correctly.
Most couples experience difficulties communicating when emotions are running high. This usually means that content will be communicated in anger or not communicated at all (stonewalling). Neither is a good option. Communication needs to be intentional and done in a specific way.
The very things that attracted you to each other in the beginning have likely been buried under the junk of life (bills, stress, jobs, etc…). Re-discovering these attributes is critical to the future success of your relationship.
Do you feel safe with your partner? Does your partner provide an environment wherein you can be at rest from the stresses of life? The importance of cultivating this type of environment in your relationship cannot be emphasized enough. Helping the couple to create this is one of my goals in couple’s therapy.
This is only a very brief overview of some of the topics discussed in therapy. I always try to be attentive to the specific needs of the couple I am working with. Sessions are one-hour and the duration of therapy will depend upon the unique circumstances of each couple.