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When Should I Seek Help

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Therapy Providing Tools For Your Marriage

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Couples are often coming into my office wanting “tools” for their marriage. Often they want “tools” to help them communicate better, solve conflict and have more peace. They are want “tools” for a better sex life.


Individual Counselling or Relationship Therapy does provide people with tools, but they are perhaps different than what they are thinking they are.  Today “coaching” is hugely popular and gets confused with therapy.


Coaching, simply, understands at a superficial level what people want. The coach will then instruct the person what to do say or do in a particular situation. The coach may have some basic training in various therapy methods, however they lack deep clinical training. The coaching then repetitively tells the person what do or say in a situation.


Coaching for relationship as described above doesn’t work. Common coaching strategies may be to tell the person, to count to 10 before getting anger and then to use the phrase like “I feel that…” or “I need you to …”


These are short term lifts in a relationship and then old patterns usually come back. Why? Because the underlying relationship dynamics and thinking and belief that the couple hold are not addressed.


Therapy goes deep. Usually the fights and problems the couple are dealing with are not really the issue but rather the symptom. Therapy is moving to the core of the issue to true resolve the complex issues that erupt in unresolvable fights or consistent misunderstanding and communication problems.


The therapy tools that are delivered and taught in therapy may include but not limited to:


·        ACCOUNTABILITY: In marriage people are not being accountable for what they say and do. Often people have good INTENTIONS but the outcome and associated behavior do not match. Therapy starts to highlight this, which can be painful, but helps people to own their intentions and outcomes and make them match.  Until people are accountable for their own saying and doing, nothing will improve regardless of magical phrases

·        Reality Checking: Often what people want is not realistic. Either because it is simply not realistic or because the person is not willing to do the work required to get what they want. Therapy starts to help people examine assess what is realistic for their relationship or the individual. Often problems stem from unrealistic expectations or wants. If this is the case therapy then starts to help couples figure something more realistic and sustainable

·        ACCEPTANCE: This is a critical yet unbelievable tough place for individuals to get in their own life much less a relationship. Acceptance is not the same as giving or resigning to a fact. It is a deep and spiritual understanding that this is what is. Often couples make mistakes in the early days of their courtship. They think the person will change, or they will change or be able to live with something. Later in the relationship 2, 5 or 10+ years later, this issue sneaks up. People make choices that affect their future self and the future self must. Therapy helps individuals and couples deal with accepting themselves and their partner to create peace and change

·        Translating Awareness to Behavior change: Many people think being aware is all that is required. It is not. Awareness does not lead to change, it leads to choice. Sometimes people are aware but they do not want to change. Therapy helps people take awareness, understand their choices , and assess what they want to do about them and then push forward with change.

·        Existential Issue Resolutions: Existential issue are the issues all of deal with and yet systematically live in denial. The 3 main existential issues that arise in a relationship and that create so much problems are: 1) The fear of being alone 2) the fear of death 3) purposelessness of life. These a HUGE issues. People stay in bad marriage or resist changing them because they fear being alone. Individuals in a relationship once they hit 40 start to realize they will die and have less years left to live then they live. They question the validity of their early choices, such as their marriage, career and may want to make HUGE changes. These issue insidiously come up in a marriage

·        CLARIFY THE REAL PROBLEMS IN A MARRIAGE : many times people diagnosis their relationship problems. If you get the problem wrong the solutions will also be wrong. We help go deeper and get to the real issue of the relationship.

·        Emotional Regulation and Relationship Framework: Therapy doesn’t tell couples how to live but rather we start to help them develop a framework to organize their relationship around so they can manage differences and dilemmas better. We also start to teach couples how to stay calm during difficult discussions.

·        Identifying and differentiating between Emotions and Thinking. Many times couples do not know how to handle each other emotions or feelings. This can lead to many great misunderstandings


Therapy also provide higher level skills like problem solving and communication skills. Therapy really helps couples understand more important power dynamics and clear out incorrect patterns so that couples can resolve issues and get closer and have better sex.


For more information please visit our facebook page for videos about therapy


Or please whatsapp Tammy Fontana at +6590307239


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