When couple's work helps
- You want to work toward shared goals - When both people want to make a change or grow in a similar direction, counseling or coaching can be constructive.
Individual concerns are affecting the relationship - When one partner is an abuse survivor, is going through a difficult life transition, or is struggling with addiction, depression or another serious mood problem.
You are splitting up - Having space to sort through the tangled web of practicalities and emotions can be very supportive of separation and mediation processes. While divorce is typically viewed as a loss, it can also be a positive transition for a couple. If both people are willing, we work to find a place that honors the life that has been shared and makes space for supportive ongoing connection. Even a breakup can be done with intention, compassion, and good humor. Especially when children are involved, it can be a great advantage to develop a common understanding and improved ways of communicating.
You are staying together - All families go through crises. Once the dust settles and you have decided not to split up, it can feel like therapy is not necessary. However, this can be a time that is rich in possibilities for growth and development and strengthening the bonds that have been strained by crisis, but held.
You are making a new or renewed commitment - Taking steps to make your relationship more "official" or to re-shape a long-standing partnership can be a time of excitement and possibility. I work with couples and families to explore and take steps toward their hopes and dreams while minimizing anxiety and conflict.
Mediation and therapy work together
Mediation is a structured process that helps people make clear agreements about specific things. Often, people seek mediation when going through a divorce, as an alternative to having lawyers battle things out. However, mediation can also be very constructive before marrying or making a relationship commitment, when negotiating responsibilities for children, or when going into business.
Therapy is a process of exploring hopes and plans and understanding the barriers that keep people, groups, or families from reaching those ideals. It is much more focused on the emotions behind actions and working with communication processes to help them be more satisfying or at least bearable for all involved.
Therapy and mediation are a great combination for families or couples going through a transition time. Mediation helps people get clear about what they want to have happen and therapy helps them follow through.