How will I know if you are the right therapist for me/us?
Therapist’s are not one size fits all. Nor do I expect to be the right fit for everybody. I make it a practice to speak over the phone initially with all new clients to assess if we are a good fit. It is during that phone call we can connect and exchange information that is needed to decide who you would work best with. It will be important to discuss schedules, insurance/fee, identifying your issues, and factoring in my style as a clinician. If for some reason we determine that we are not able to work together, I will offer you a couple of referrals.
How often will the client/couple need to do therapy?
That is determined on a case by case basis. Some relationships have long-standing deep hurts and wounds, so that healing process could take longer than others. Setting realistic expectations of the length of time one will be in the therapeutic process is set by the client. In the initial session with the therapist you can discuss what will be the focus and goals to be addressed in therapy.
Will Marriage Therapy end my marriage?
The best way to answer this question is to ask “what are your expectations of marriage therapy?” How committed are you to your marriage? Have you already planned an exit? Do you have one foot in and one foot out? Do you have secrets? Do you hold your partner in contempt? Do you understand that there are 2 wounded people in the marriage not just one? Marriage therapy is intended to discuss the hard conversations that we typically avoid. It is a place in which you can explore what is not working and put into action new ways of connecting. If the marriage ends it is often due to a pre-existing condition that was not addressed, a partner that is not committed to change or prior to arriving there was a decision to end and the therapeutic setting becomes the venue in which that becomes revealed. However, if you have 2 individuals willing to commit to therapy, it can be extremely effective in changing patterns that were most likely the culprit to ending the relationship.
Does the Marriage Therapist get to decide if you should get a divorce, decide what is right or wrong for the couple or determine what the values should be in the marriage?
In my opinion, given my experience and the years of working in this field I say “NO”. It is not up to me as your therapist to determine whether or not you get a divorce, stay in the marriage after an affair, and identify values or behaviors that should be embraced as a couple or tell you what to do. My job is to listen to the needs of the couple and the individuals in the marriage, to offer a safe environment in which we can explore what is of value, to teach the tools necessary to communicate and make room for differences. If we discover there is a deal breaker happening in the marriage, it is my job to support you in articulating that piece, but it is not my job to declare what is right or wrong.
In circumstances in which there is child abuse, elderly abuse, domestic violence or potential harm to oneself or others; I will take a definitive stance as to the provisions outlined in my state license as a Marriage Family Therapist.
Will you see client’s individually and as a couple?
Once I start seeing you for couples counseling, I remain in that role as the couple’s therapist. For the simple reason, that it makes for a safe environment and allows the couple to explore issues without feeling the therapist has bonded individually with either partner. If you need individual work I can refer you to a colleague. Family Therapy is different because I can see you as a couple, as well as a family if you choose, due to the nature that I am not splitting individuals up and working separately.
What if my partner stops coming in- can I choose to see you for individual?
If for whatever reason, couples counseling is terminated and one of you wants to continue individual counseling, I can see you individually, provided that both partners are aware of this arrangement. If in the future, both partners want to resume couples counseling, I will need to refer you to a different couples therapist for reasons mentioned above. In some cases, we might determine it’s in your best interest to do individual work with a different provider all together.