Couples counseling is a very specialized and often complex area of treatment. Before you begin couples counseling, make sure your therapist has been well trained and has experience working with a variety of couples. Generally, qualified therapists will have graduate level coursework and supervised clinical experience in working with couples before beginning to practice independently. There are many approaches to working with couples; ask your potential therapist how he or she works to make sure it fits with your needs.
My graduate degree is in family social science, where I specialized in marriage and family therapy. For the first five years after graduate school I worked primarily with families and children to address issues commonly seen in childhood: ADHD, childhood depression and anxiety, parenting concerns, and family stress. During this period I saw time and time again how the quality of the parent relationship affects a child’s well-being. At that point, in order to have the greatest impact I could on the health of the family overall, I transitioned to work more often with parents and couples. I now have over 15 years experience and have met with hundreds of couples looking to improve the quality of their relationship. I am trained in Emotionally-Focused Therapy with Couples, the Gottman method, and regularly participate in ongoing education to stay sharp. Additionally, I am an Approved Supervisor for the MN Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, and have trained many graduate level students and therapists in training in methods for couples therapy.
I tend to take a “pro-marriage” and practical approach, and work hard to help each member of the couple learn the things they need to become a better spouse. Couples therapy sessions are typically 60-90 minutes in length (50 minutes if using insurance). The couple may meet together the entire time, or I may ask to meet with each spouse separately at times. Through insight, practice, and patience, many couples experience success.