In my view, it takes courage to enter into couples therapy, and even more to stay the course. Fear of “exposure” of inadequacies or guilt often blocks well-meaning partners from crossing the threshold and doing the work. Often, one member over time “forces” their partner to make an appointment for couples therapy or counseling. Because of the high level of fear and anxiety often accompanying these first visits, it is critical that the process of collaborative exploration begin in as “safe and accepting” an atmosphere as possible.
I view that as my first task in the therapeutic collaboration. Over time, partners can begin to take risks, i.e. reveal feelings that they have striven to hide from themselves and each other for years. As a team of “three”, the couple and I brainstorm and study together what behaviors need to change, what rigid views of self and other need modification and clarification, what distortions and self images from the past have put a blight on the present. A technique that is often very successful when the couple is paralyzed by two opposing opinions on a particular issue is that we seek a third option, a compromise that is acceptable to each member of The Coupledom but needed the presence of a third party to unearth.
My expertise and profound knowledge of human behavior and struggle guides the couple in this investigation and healing and new learning. The effect is liberating and often very exciting for all concerned.
©jill edelman, L.C.S.W. M.S.W.