What can I expect from counseling?
Significant Changes and Results
Whether you work with one of our therapists or go with a different counselor, the goal of counseling is results, not just talk. You want, and should expect, your relationship to improve as a result of your investment in relationship counseling.
New Skills and Resources
A large part of our role as relationship counselors is to teach couples how to change the way they currently conduct and manage their relationships. Our goal is to provide the skills, tools, insight and inspiration to make lasting changes for a lifetime of love and caring.
The Latest and Most Advanced Research
When it comes to understanding relationships, Dr. John and Julie Gottman, a husband-and-wife research team in Seattle, have been industry leaders on “what makes marriage work” for over 40 years. We lean heavily on all the latest research, training, and therapeutic methods in the industry – including the work coming out of the Gottman Institute.
A Documented Plan of Action
Without a plan, you might as well be venting about your relationship to a friend. Positive Steps therapists will gather objective and subjective information from both partners before documenting a personalized plan for success. That plan then becomes a kind of roadmap for moving your relationship forward through the counseling process
Specialists, Not Generalists
Couples therapists, like those at Positive Steps, have specialized training and experience to effectively diagnose and treat the challenges relationships face. Similar to other healthcare professionals who specialize, they tend to be exceedingly good at one thing rather than being moderately good at many things.
All of our therapists here at Positive Steps have chosen to focus their training and skills on the narrow task of helping couples achieve happier, healthier relationships. It’s what we do – it’s the only thing we do – and we love it.
What to Look for in a Couples Counselor
Specialist. You want someone who has extensive training and experience working with couples. This is important. Couples therapy is very different from individual counseling and requires different skillsets. Positive Steps has been dedicated to developing and delivering couples counseling since 2004.
Plan. You want a plan. And we’re not talking about a “treatment plan” that exists as some vague idea in the therapist’s head. You need a plan written for you, that is shared with you, and that describes what you hope to achieve, how you will achieve it, and how long it may take to get there. Think of this plan as a road map to get you from point A to point B (or for those of you too young to remember road maps: think of this as the GPS that will get you from where you are right now…to where you want to be next).
Strengths-Based Approach. Your marriage has strengths, and your therapist will need to leverage them if you hope to improve your relationship. Your therapist is there to help you discover, re-discover, and utilize those strengths to your advantage.
Your Story. You want a therapist who pays close attention to the stories you tell about yourselves and your relationship. An experienced couples counselor will take the time to fully understand even the smallest details of your relationship story. –
Decide if Therapy Is the Right Call
It may be time to seek outside help if you experience any of the following:
- When you or your partner look at one another and see mostly negatives
- You engage in frequent arguing that never gets resolved
- You start to avoid arguing altogether because nothing ever changes
- One or both of you constantly criticizes the other
- You feel so much contempt for your partner (or from your partner) that is feels like they are determined to keep you from being happy
- You are growing increasingly distant (emotionally and/or physically) from one another
- You know or suspect infidelity (could be an emotional affair, a physical affair, an online affair, etc.)
- There is some form of addiction in the relationship by either or both partners
- You feel like you have to defend yourself all the time
- You start to think about what life could be like if your partner wasn’t around or was no longer your partner
- You no longer believe that your partner is the good and loving person you married
- You are lonely
- There is physical or emotional abuse in the relationship