'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