You may have gotten through the stresses and strains of this past holiday season with marriage or relationship still intact. But are you wondering what your next steps might be to enhance that relationship? It’s a new year and a new opportunity for growth for both you and your marriage. Whether your marriage is in need of a complete overhaul or simply a tune up, there are several popular and evidence-based counseling approaches that my colleagues and I find beneficial to our clients at Dunham Counseling.
When there are marital problems there are also problems with communication, and both parties are responsible for this. Our counseling for couples is influenced by an approach called emotionally focused therapy (EFT) developed by Susan Johnson, Ph.D. Her university-based research claims a success rate of 87%. Johnson has identified 3 basic patterns of couples communication (which she calls ‘demon dialogues’) that are obstacles to greater intimacy. We quickly help couples identify the communication obstacles in their marriage so they can move beyond them and into more satisfying ways of meeting intimacy needs.
Another approach that I use is influenced by Imago Couples Therapy. Couples that I have worked with find the Imago Intentional Dialogue to be useful. It quickly neutralizes the demon dialogues that can get couples into trouble. The therapist facilitates building empathic communication between couples in a structured and calm manner. This approach has been especially useful when there is considerable emotional turbulence between the couple. This method gives a compassionate structure to facilitate understanding in the relationship. If there is understanding, then appropriate adjustments can be made. Couples often try to make adjustments in the relationship without mutual understanding, which is like putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse.’ I have seen spouses literally let out a sigh of relief to be in a setting where they could finally be heard and validated.
Marriage counseling is acknowledged by counseling professionals as a challenging craft. At Dunham Counseling all of our counselors specialize in marriage counseling and have an average of 20+ years of experience. We have seen a wide variety of marital and couples circumstances, and have the confidence to address these situations effectively. Call us today at (630) 799-0100 to see how we can help serve your marital/couples relationship needs.
Jeff Lucas, LCPC, CADC