Couple Therapy What Is It and How To Get The Most From It

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 @ 10:12 AM


The main purpose of couple therapy is to help each of you increase your knowledge about yourself, your partner, and your patterns of interaction. The aim is to help you have more choices in how you respond to the demands and challenges your relationship places on you. My goal is not to help a couple stay together. If I were to undertake that goal I would be making the assumption that I know what is best for each of you. Figuring out what is best for you is your task. My task is to help you understand yourself better so that you can determine what is best.

How This Works

There are many ways of understanding your self better. One of them is through understanding what there is about you that gets hurt, angry, disappointed or upset with your partner. What bothers us tells us a lot about our selves. How we respond to what bothers us does the same. We are often limited in how we respond by what we learned in our families. We are often shaped to be bothered by certain things by how we think we are supposed to be. Learning more about your self can help you have more choices and flexibility. Another way of understanding your self is through increased clarity about what you consider to be the best in you. How do you want to be in your relationship? What kind of relationship do you what to have? How will you have to draw on the best parts of you to achieve those goals?

This Takes Effort

For you to benefit from couple therapy you have to be prepared to put effort into your self. You have to spend time thinking about your self in terms of both how and why you respond as you do. You have to be prepared to be honest with your self, to not pull the wool over your own eyes. You have to be willing to take risks in trying new behaviours and in revealing previously hidden parts of your self. You have to be willing to tolerate anxiety and discomfort in order to grow.

How to Prepare

The most common and unproductive pattern in couple's therapy is for couples to focus on whatever problem happens to be on someone's mind at the moment. Another version of this is to focus on the fight/conflict of the week. Usually the goal in each of these approaches is to get the other person to change. Most people resist being told that they should change so these approaches quickly get the couple into a deadlock situation.A better approach is to think about your goals for being in therapy before each session. Think about what you did in the past interval which contributed to difficulties in your relationship. Think about what your responses to the challenges in your relationship tell you about your self. Think about how you handled the anxiety which arose in you. Did you try to get your partner to change so that you wouldn't feel anxious or upset? How could you better manage your anxiety on your own?Try to bring these reflections into focus before the session. Present these as something you would like to work on in your self during the session. I can best help you when you are clear about what you want to achieve. 

What You Can Expect From Me

You can expect me to ask you to honestly reflect on your self. I will share with you any thoughts or observations I have about you. I will tell you what I have noticed about how you seem to respond. I will help you to explore how and why you are constrained to respond in the ways you do. I will line up behind each of you in achieving your deepest goals. I will not give advice or tell you what to do. I will help you see clearly how your relationship is challenging you. I will help each of you find ways to rise to those challenges.

I get the most satisfaction from this work when I witness individuals honestly confronting themselves and finding the courage to try new things. I deeply respect individuals who are working to live with ever increasing awareness and clarity about themselves and who are attempting to achieve ever increasing personal integrity.

James Morgan

21 Lydia Street
Kitchener, Ontario, CA
Office: (519) 745-3602