Friday, July 31, 2009

Relationship Stage Analysis During Marriage Counseling

Why do I do what I do as a Marriage Counseling Professional?

This article continues the theme that was discussed in and
As an effective Psychologist, Relationship Advice provider, Life coach and Marriage Counseling practitioner, while working to save a relationship, I find it very helpful to form an opinion as to the current “stage” of the relationship.

This article will explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind this practice.

Many scholars and practitioners agree that relationships generally go through five phases of development: Honeymoon, Accommodation, Challenge, Cross Roads, and Rebirth.

Phase 1: The Honeymoon
This is the romantic, passionate, stars-in-the-eyes phase. I either get the impression that sex is good and there is never enough of it, or I stop and ask about it. There ought to be plenty of attraction and sexuality between them and if not, it becomes a priority in my discussion. The Psychologist role is leading here.

Phase 2: Accommodation

We all have to deal with the day-to-day realities of life. In the Accommodation stage, compromises are made regarding the fulfillment of our needs and expectations. As a result we engage, from time to time, in power struggles when our partners’ habits, needs, anger and withdrawal patterns become uncomfortable to us. It is important for me to question the proportion of these struggles to the entire marriage experience.
A few examples are “how soon’, ‘how much’, and ‘how intensive’. I have an
opportunity to learn from this stage the potential strength of the couple in problem
solving, managing conflict, and their communication patterns. The Life Coach role is the leading one here.

Phase 3: The Challenge

Starting a new job, dealing with unemployment or the unfortunate occurrence of an accident or family illness are events that allow me to assess how strong the relationship is. It is fair to say that challenges are usually unwanted but nevertheless necessary for the couple if they really want to know what to expect from each other. I also need to know these expectations also. Raising children is a positive challenge; I definitely need to know how it reflects each partners’ qualities and their value system and ability to prioritize the family’s future needs. I’m a typical Marriage Counseling professional here…

Phase 4: The Crossroads
When a couple reaches this stage they have experienced a number of challenges (e.g. medical or money problems). In addition, more life decisions will be made (e.g. to have children, where to live, spending habits). This stage is different from the Challenge Phase because the couple has learned how each responds to these situations. This is the stage in which I learn how mature their emotional patterns are in dealing with their differences. It is most common at this stage for serious problems to develop. Typically, I expect to hear one or more from the following three: debates and regrets regarding the relationship, emotional withdrawal as a survival mechanism and attempts to force the other person to drastically change. When both individuals clearly see this progression I am able to offer a therapeutic strategy. Here I can fully exercise my role as a Relationship Advice provider.

Phase 5: Rebirth (New marriage lifestyle)
70-75% of all couples whom I have counseled have reached this positive stage of a “new beginning”. At this point, folks really know the person they have married; couples feel once again appreciated and loved. It is my scientific Psychologist role practice to arrange a one-year follow-up consultation either in person or by phone to gather the qualitative as well as quantitative data in order to identify the couples’ continued ability to positively communicate with each other their disappointments, hurts, frustrations and most importantly their sexual intimacy.

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Online Psychologist and Life Coach: Marriage Counseling, Relationship Advice and Management Consulting. Life Coach and Marriage Counseling and Small Business Advice

Marriage Counseling
Life Coach
Relationship Advice

Save Your Relationship with Six Marriage Counseling Steps

'Save Your Relationship’ - Marriage Counseling Guide

Six steps of my marriage counseling processes are reviewed; the various qualities of being a marriage counselor, a psychologist, a life coach and a relationship advice provider are outlined.

Step # 1: I ask to speak loud and clear; to lay the problems on the table. I want to fully understand as quickly as possible. Describing a recent fight in detail often helps partners begin to identify core problems. Most couples fight about pragmatic issues, laundry or paying bills, for instance, but it's the emotional needs underlying these tiffs that need my attention as their marriage counselor and life coach. Is it sex? Need for emotional support or career expectations?

Step # 2: I help couples to recognize the cause of their detachment to each other and try to identify their inner needs and fears that are not being met. As couples more carefully explore the underlying source of their arguments, they begin to realize that the enemy is not the partner but their own unhealthy or too vague communication style. This awareness is the first relationship advice they get. In this step I ask the couple to use “I want”, “I need”, “I would like to have” sentences. Ultimately my questions will uncover their needs, fears or expectations they might have (sexuality, recognition, equality, rejection, failure, temptations) which are driving the negative dynamics of their relationship.

Step # 3: I assist couples to articulate their emotions and perceptions regarding their spouses and link it to their own behavior. Both partners have to be non-judgmental while explaining to each other their disappointments. It is my job as their marriage counselor to teach them and keep them listening while a positive feedback process is taking place. This is the second relationship advice they get.

Step # 4: The transformation process begins here. Partners realize they're both hurting and that neither is to blame. As the couple begins to see the negative dynamic as the source of their problems, they become more aware of their own needs for attachment, as well as those of their partner. My part is to nurture the move towards empathy. I’m the psychologist here. Partners can now approach their problems with a less combative mind-set. Sometimes their honesty makes them feel increasingly vulnerable, and my job is to encourage and support them and to help them remain responsive to each other. Here I play the life coach role.

Step # 5: Partners create new solutions to their problems by analyzing their past processes and viewing their history in a different light to allow newer, healthier ways to surface while approaching pragmatic problems. At this stage of I do not hesitate to be an active facilitator; I will offer creative ways to get the couple moving in a new direction. This solving problem stage also calls for my qualities as a life coach.

Step # 6: In conclusion, I employ my psychologist role and help the couple to reflect what got them off track in their communication and how they found their way back. The therapeutic circle could be completed.

Dr. Joseph Abraham, Director, Center for Human Growth and Business Insights, Mechanicsburg, PA Tel 717-943.0959 Online Psychologist and Life Coach: Marriage Counseling, Relationship Advice and Management Consulting. Life Coach and Marriage Counseling and Small Business Advice

Marriage Counseling
Life Coach
Relationship Advice