Here is another great question I have received from a person who emailed me looking for a couples therapist in Long Beach.
What should we expect from you in couple’s therapy?
In couple’s therapy, it is very important to me that both people feel heard (by me and their partner) and that I am helping them to reach the goals they want to reach. From there, it is a lot about me observing/learning how each person in the couple communicates so I can guide communication and help teach skills to work out the issues they are coming in with. Sometimes I will notice a reaction in a person trying to listen and the talker is oblivious. Therapists are trained to observe things that you might not notice. When we (therapists) find out why they (the listener) react in such a way, often time the therapist can help the talker recognize it for themselves. When they learn to do this, they can stop and ask “are you okay”, “did I say something that hurt your feelings”, etc. Then the talker can learn different ways to talk so the other person doesn’t have the same adverse reaction. It’s always easier to identify a problem when you are an observer rather than a participant (years of school and training also come in handy). I can often catch things as a therapist that someone in the argument won’t notice because they have a different focus than I do. In couples therapy, even though one person might dominate the conversation in a session, overall throughout the therapy sessions it should be fairly equal in terms of the goals we are addressing (so each person should feel like the goal that they want to accomplish is being worked on equally to the goal their partner wants to work on).