Marriage Counseling is a type of therapy designed to help strengthen the marital bond between two people. At Chicago Counseling Collaborative we see marriage as a partnership and work with married couples to increase understanding and collaboration within that partnership. As strength based, integrative therapists we use a variety of therapeutic styles and techniques. No two couples are the same and there is not just one way to provide counseling to married couples. If you have been in therapy before we will want to take into account the aspects of your previous therapy that were helpful and those that were not. We do not want to repeat a therapeutic process that has proven unhelpful in the past.
We work with couples to explore their past and present in order to uncover the hidden patterns that can keep a marriage stuck. It is important to define and resolve patterns within your marriage that cause unnecessary tension and conflict. Boosting positive experiences you have together is also very important. It is not possible to eliminate all conflict within a relationship, but by increasing positive experiences and feelings we begin to shift focus away from the negative aspects you may have been previously focused on within your relationship. In addition to examining how these present patterns within your marriage were formed we will also look to your individual pasts in order to make your future together a brighter one.
All individuals are shaped by their family of origin and we will often times bring behaviors and patterns learned from the families we were raised into the relationship with our spouse. Some of what we learn from our families of origin can be quite helpful and assist in a healthy and happy relationship; while other learned ways of communicating will perpetuate negative cycles from our past. Through exploration of your individual self with your spouse in the room you will both come to a greater understanding of the two individual lives that make up the foundation of your marriage. It is the understanding of our past that assists in the understanding of our current behaviors in any given situation. We hope to bring you and your spouse to place where you will both greater understand each other’s actions and reactions, as well as your individual communication styles.
We have found that frequently the conflict in a marriage emanates from misunderstanding of your spouse. Often times married couples feel misunderstood by the other but don’t know how to resolve this problem. Marriage Therapy for Chicago couples will get to the core of this issue and strip away the pensiveness you may feel about directly addressing that thought we have all had, “you just don’t get it”. Each individual has a unique way of communicating and at Chicago Counseling Collaborative we are passionate about helping married couples bridge the communication gap and truly achieving a partnership structured around positive, healthy, and most importantly, direct communication.
Benefits of Marital Therapy:
- Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving – Learn to express yourself in a healthy way and gain the skills to better understand and process what your spouse is saying to you.
- Expressing Your Needs – If you do not express your needs how will your spouse ever know how to fulfill them? Practice and master the difficult task of communicating your needs in a clear and direct manner.
- Learn to Let Go – Process and move beyond issues from the past that are holding your marriage back.
- Assertiveness Training – Learn to be assertive within your marriage without being mean or bulldozing your spouse. You need to be able to openly express your feelings without fear of emotionally injuring your spouse.
- Know Each other on a New Level – You will develop a greater understanding and appreciation of each other as individuals and of each other’s needs.
- Refocusing on the Positive – Shift focus from what is wrong in your marriage to the things that are right and build a positive future from there.
- Rekindle the Romance – Reconnecting on an emotional level can help to bring you back together physically as well.
Common Reasons to Seek Marital Therapy:
While every couple has a unique situation, there are recurring themes that we often see and treat in our practice:
- Communication Issues – Couples often seek therapy because communication between them has become negative and the problems are not getting resolved.
- Lack of Romance – If a marriage has gotten stale and there is no emotional or physical romance left, therapy can help a married couple reconnect with each other and re-explore the reasons they fell in love.
- Parenting Issues – Not all parents agree on the ways to raise their children. Therapy can help parents reach a middle ground where they can both agree on how to help their children grow in a happy and healthy environment.
- Financial Issues – Money is one of the most stressful topics there is and couples often times feel extra stress due to financial concerns.
- Infidelity – Couples can work through the issues that lead to an affair in a safe and neutral place.
Types of Therapy Used:
- Psychodynamic – Uncovers and assists in fully experiencing painful and/or traumatic events that have been pushed out of our conscious awareness
- Internal Family Systems – As we move through life our positive and negative experiences contribute to our different “parts” within our psyche that all play a role in self-preservation.
- Narrative Therapy – Our identities are formed by our experiences and it is important to separate our negative experiences (problems) from ourselves in order to resolve them. We have problems, but we are not defined by our problems.
- Object Relations – Our relationships as adults are shaped by our relationships starting as infants. As an infant we identify “objects” as representations of people in our lives. A “good” caring hand that rubs our back when we are sick or a “bad” mouth that yells at us are examples of objects that can eventually grow to represent people that cared for us as infants and young children.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy – Focuses on emotions and their healing power in the here and now while looking at how problems happen rather than why.
- Self Psychology – The therapists relationship with the client is one of empathy and understanding unmet developmental needs are explored and processed.
- Systems Theory / Therapy – Helps a couple, family, group, or community to understand the role each member plays and how they relate back to the functionality of the system as a whole.