Couples & Marriage Therapy
– Mignon McLaughlin
Love is a powerful force and it can bring the greatest joy in life. However, it can also bring a lot of pain and suffering. Many couples turn to friends and family during these times for advice but often this does little to change the issues within the relationship. Getting outside help is a scary step for many couples but can be one of the best tools available to help you have a healthy relationship.
At Bridges Family Center, we utilize the Gottman Method of couple’s therapy. This method is based on Dr. John Gottman’s research that began in the 1970’s and continues to this day. The research has focused on what makes relationships 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 conflicts, 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.
The Gottman Method Couples Therapy consists of five parts: Assessment, Treatment, Phasing Out” of Therapy, Termination, and Outcome Evaluation. To begin, you and your partner will meet with your counselor to talk about the history of your relationship, areas of concern, and goals for treatment. You will be given some written materials to complete that will further help us better understand your relationship. Then, each partner will meet individually with the counselor to learn personal histories and give each person an opportunity to share thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. After completing these three sessions, your counselor will share recommendations for treatment and work to define mutually agreed upon goals for your therapy. Most of the work will involve sessions where you will be seen together as a couple. However, there may be times when individual sessions are recommended.
The length of therapy will be determined by your specific needs and goals. In the course of therapy, we will establish points at which to evaluate your satisfaction and progress. In the later stage of therapy, we will meet less frequently in order for you to test out new relationship skills and to prepare for termination of the therapy. Although you may terminate therapy whenever you wish, it is most helpful to have at least one session together to summarize progress, define work that remains, and say good-bye.