What can I expect from couples therapy?
We ask to meet with both partners first to understand the problems/concerns from both of your perspectives as well as to observe how the two of you interact. We will then schedule 1-2 individual appointments with each partner so the therapist can get a better understanding of your individual histories and symptoms that might be contributing to the overall couple issue. We also commonly use the Gottman Relationship Check-up, and evidence-based assessment, that allows us to more specifically and objectively evaluate your strengths and challenges as a couple. These results guide treatment planning and provide a better understanding of which interventions might be most useful for you. After the individual meetings, your therapist will meet with you and your partner together again to solidify a treatment plan and begin the couples therapy work together.
Once couples therapy work begins, you and your therapist will explore individual emotions (surface and underlying), negative interaction patterns that happen in the relationship, how past relationship hurts or family of origin experiences may play a role in current couple dynamics, direct communication between each of you, and sexual dynamics. Your therapist may also ask you to complete homework assignments or to observe your own behaviors during the week.
What type of approach do you use?
We conceptualize cases and treats couples using attachment, systems, and relational psychodynamic theories. We pull heavily from Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Les Greenberg, as well as elements from Gottman Method Couples Therapy, developed by Dr. John Gottman. EFT is a research-based and empirically validated couples therapy approach that views relationship distress as being maintained by absorbing states of negative emotion. These emotions manifest in unhelpful and constricted interaction patterns that make safe, emotional engagement quite difficult. EFT works in three stages: 1.) Deescalate negative interaction cycles/patterns; 2.) Change interaction patterns to include identifying your own feelings, needs, and wants, accepting those of your partner’s, and expressing emotions, needs, and wants to each other; 3.) Find new solutions to old problems and strengthen new interaction cycles. Gottman Method Couples Therapy is also empirically-validated based on over 30 years of continued research that both addresses emotion and provides couples with structure and tools to achieve connection and fulfilled relationships.
What experience do you have working with couples?
Our therapists regularly attend continuing education programming to stay up-to-date with the latest evidence-based practice methods for most effectively treating couples. Dr. Hanzlik has completed a 32-hour (4-day) externship in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy facilitated by Dr. Sue Johnson, and Dr. Hanzlik, Dr. Gronbach, Dr. Weaver, Dr. Sutker, and Dr. Kahn are all trained in Level 1 Gottman Method Couples Therapy, and routinely attend AASECT-sponsored continuing education to address treatment strategies integrating couples and sexual therapy.
All supervised therapists at IPCI obtain specific training and supervision by our doctoral-level providers in couples and sexual therapy.
What type of couples do you work with?
At IPCI, we see couples from a wide range of backgrounds including racial, religious/spiritual, and cultural backgrounds. We also work with couples of varying sexual orientations and gender identities including heterosexual; gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer sexual orientations; couples where one or both partners are questioning their sexual orientation; and couples where one or both partners identify as transgender or gender diverse.
Do you feel like your relationship is at a standstill? Are you and your partner stuck in the same argument loop every night? Do you feel like you and your partner are drifting away? Do you desire more intimacy between you and your partner?
All things can be improved, changed and bettered, with just a little support, no matter how big or small. With couples therapy, you’ll learn how to communicate your feelings and needs, and get what you want out of your relationship.
Some issues that bring couples to therapy are:
- Addiction/Partner Addiction Support
- Balance (Work/Life/Family)
- Blended Families
- Chronic Illness
- Extended Family
- Mental Illness
In our couple’s therapy sessions, we help people develop the necessary skills needed to maintain sustaining love.
If any of the above relate to you and your partner in your relationship, contact us today for a free consultation. We would love to speak about how we may be able to help reconnect and rekindle your love for one another.
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