Sarah was 7 years old and it was a late winter night. She should have been fast asleep dreaming wonderful childhood dreams. Instead Sarah was lying in bed, crying all alone under the heavy covers, yet again listening to her parent’s shrilled voices in the adjacent bedroom.
She couldn’t quite make out the words, but the pattern was all too familiar. Mom would complain about something, dad would become defensive, an argument would ensue and Sarah would hear that ultimate question, sparking fear into mom and ending the argument. In a loud, commanding tone, Sarah’s dad would question, “Do you want a divorce?”
This of course scared Sarah, as she hid beneath the covers wondering if dad might leave and abandon her as well.
Sadly, this story happens all the time. But it doesn’t have to!
Relationships are so difficult because most of us didn’t get the opportunity to witness a constructive one in our formative years. Since children live what they learn, we may be simply repeating history – our parent’s history, unless somewhere along the way we took the time and put forth the effort to unlearn old patterns and replace them with new, productive interactions.
If you have ever said to yourself, “I will never be like my mom,” or “I will never be like my dad,” then this probably applies to you.
If, on the other hand, you had a great role model in that arena, call home immediately and say THANK YOU!!! But for those of you who were not so fortunate (as most were not) then stop and ask yourself this question:
Do I want to continue on this path, or do I want to discover a new way to communicate with my spouse?
If you chose to discover a new way, CONGRATULATIONS!
The Gottman Method
The average couple waits six years before seeking help for their problems. With most marriages ending in the first seven years, well… you do the math. It’s imperative to discover the proper skills and incorporate them now. And if you are engaged or newly married, consider learning these skills before real issues arise!
The therapy I utilize was developed from more than 40 years of research. John Gottman and the Gottman Institute have discovered what makes marriages thrive and exactly what leads to divorce.
The Gottman assessment process pinpoints where the couple needs to work in their marriage and discovers their strengths as well. The interventions are developed specifically to deal with each type of conflict and reach beyond surface communication techniques to help the couple really understand their partner and enhance the friendship.
Where trust has been broken, Gottman's modality offers the opportunity to rebuild that trust and the relationship can actually become better than before!
There are three levels of Gottman training and I have completed each of them. The final training being Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couple's Therapy with Drs. John and Julie Gottman in Seattle, Washington.
If you have been to counseling in the past, don't give up! Give yourself, your partner, and your family the chance to succeed with counseling based on more than 40 years of research.
You CAN discover what makes love last and have a long-term, healthy relationship!
GET THE 5 Magic Hours Handout HERE
What should I expect from couple’s counseling?
Counseling is a process that has distinct stages. The initial stage is joining and assessment.
Joining takes place over the first several sessions and is the time when the counselor and clients get to know each other and begin to feel at ease with this new relationship. The counselor begins to understand the clients and the clients start to trust that the counselor has their best interests at heart.
The initial assessment stage occurs alongside the joining process. The couple’s areas of strengths and weaknesses are ascertained. The Gottman assessment method is used to discover this and begins with an initial joint interview that sometimes exceeds the standard 90-minute session and lasts for about two hours. At the end of the first session, the couple is given questionnaires to fill out individually and bring back to their individual session. These questionnaires take approximately an hour and a half to complete.
The individual sessions are an hour each. They can be scheduled back to back or at different times. At this session questionnaires are returned and we discuss individual histories more in depth.
At the third session, the principles of the Gottman Sound Relationship House are explained, areas of strengths and weaknesses within these principles are discussed, whether to begin the intervention stage of therapy is determined, and if continuing then the treatment plan is reviewed.
Why might we choose not to continue therapy?
At this point, I must determine whether therapy can be of help. And the couple must determine if they want to work with me. Not every counselor is a good fit for every client. The couple needs to consider the following:
- if they think the counselor genuinely cares about them,
- if the counselor is knowledgeable to help them,
- and if the therapy modality meets their needs.
The reasons the counselor may determine not to provide services are:
- Firstly, if someone is having an ongoing affair that they are not willing to discontinue, then therapy will not be productive.
- Secondly, if there is physical abuse taking place then therapy may be contraindicated for safety concerns.
- And lastly, if the couple has waited a long time to obtain help and there are no strengths currently within the relationship, then it must be acknowledged that therapy may be a long process if the decision is made to proceed.
If the decision is made to engage in treatment and proceed, what’s next?
Then we discuss the speed with which you would like to proceed, select a session package, sign the treatment plan, and schedule appointments.
During the treatment process interventions are utilized to meet the client’s goals. From time to time we will also discuss the progress being made. We may decide to modify the treatment plan, perhaps add goals, reduce or increase sessions, and discuss how we will know when therapy is complete.
Commonly during this middle stage of therapy, after some relief has been achieved, couples and individuals alike tend to begin missing sessions because things seem to be going well. This is not a time to relax! However it is a time to celebrate. Celebrate successes and determine to continue learning before more struggles arise. The better prepared you are, the better you can handle life’s next difficulty.
The ending stage of counseling is…
When the established goals have been attained, appointments will be reduced to once a month, then once every two months, then two follow-up sessions are scheduled 6 months apart. Of course clients can always come back for additional counseling when they desire, but the goal of counseling is for the couple to achieve duplicating the interventions on their own.
Initial Evaluation Session: To ensure that Gottman therapy is the modality a couple wishes to engage in and to see if the couple and counselor are a good match, a single 50-minute evaluation session may be conducted in office or online for $130.
Accepted Forms of Payment: Silver and Gold Eagle coins, cash, Walmart money orders and most credit cards.
The Gottman Relationship Checkup Online Assessment is a separate fee of $29. This allows the couple to take all questionnaires online and provides the clinician with the scores. This online service has greatly reduced clinician evaluation time thereby saving clients hundreds of dollars!!
IN OFFICE AND ONLINE CLIENTS
Initial Couple’s Assessment to be paid in advance:
600 Three 80-minute sessions @ $200 each
200 Evaluation of Gottman Survey (approximately 1.5 hours)
105 Production of Treatment Plan (TMT) (1 hour)
29 Gottman Online Relationship Checkup Survey
Continuing Therapy Sessions to be paid in advance for each month
$130 50-minute Sessions
$200 80-minute Sessions
Out-of-Towners – Marathon Sessions (Usually on weekends)
Weekend Marathon Assessment
Joint and Individual Sessions on Saturday @ 200 each 400
Evaluation of Questionnaires Saturday/Sunday 200
Assessment Session on Sunday including TMT Plan 325
Premium for Weekend 300
Gottman Online Relationship Checkup Survey 29
Off-Site – Case by Case
Clients may need to have a therapist come to their location and usually this can be arranged. The $130 hourly rate applies including travel time; along with mileage, and expenses beyond 10 miles.
Call 214-326-4466 for more information.