ROBERT D. GREENE, Ed.D
Things are not well in your marriage. You’re wondering if marriage counseling would do any good. Maybe you’ve tried it before, but here you are again. Or, maybe you’ve never been here before and now are reaching out for any kind of help that may be available. You’re on the right track, and you are in good company. It’s rare indeed, to find a marriage relationship of any length that hasn’t experienced the strains and difficulties that could be helped by marriage counseling. Your issue may have been years in the making, or you may have suddenly been confronted with a problem that is shattering and has left you wondering if there is any hope. Your thinking is likely confused, compounded by well-intentioned friends and family who are giving advice. Resentment is controlling your thinking. Your emotions are dominating your reasoning capacity and leave you feeling like a victim trapped by circumstances that offer you no positive way forward. Your body may be reinforcing your emotional state resulting in noticeable changes in your eating habits, digestive health, and sleep patterns. You want to escape, to get out, to find some relief. You know that something has to change.
The good news is that help is available to you and your spouse. Things may not be as bad as I described, but you know that something has to change. You know that what you’ve been doing isn’t producing any long-term benefits. Your next logical step is to find a marriage counselor who can help you sort out the problems, getting to the root of the issues, and work with you to chart a course toward the positive outcomes you are longing for.
At least two major obstacles enter the picture here for many potential clients. First, the awkwardness and embarrassment of meeting with a complete stranger to talk about your problems, and second, worry about the cost. Let me speak to those concerns. You will find that the angst you are feeling about the first meeting is far worse than anything you will encounter in that session. I love working with couples to solve their marriage problems. I am both a realist and an optimist. I am compassionate and fair. I am honest and direct. I am a counselor and a coach. My approach is both cognitive and behavioral. I will help you gain insight and understanding, and work with you to develop an action plan birthed out of your motivation to make your marriage better. We will know by the end of the first session whether or not we are a good fit. I will then give you the option of scheduling a second visit. If you choose to move forward we will discuss the frequency of our sessions and the specific things I want you to work on before we meet again. I do not accept any insurance; I do charge a fee. I have a set hourly fee, but I am willing to negotiate my fee to a point that makes it doable for you and fair to me. We will discuss this when you make your appointment. If you are ready to make an appointment you may text me or leave a message at this number (850) 972-8184, or email me at Bob@Think2BWell.com.
GETTING STARTED. One of the first things we will do is an emotional assessment. I will want both spouses to complete the following assessment. Using the pairs of words, circle the one that best describes where you are in this moment. If you can be more specific, pick the spot between the words that most accurately expresses how you are feeling. It is up to you whether or not you compare this with your spouse’s responses. If doing so would only make the tension worse between you it is better to just bring it with you to the first session. We will unpack your responses together.
Lonely – – – – – – – Oneness
Afraid – – – – – – – Peaceful
Disconnected – – – – – – – Connected
Confused – – – – – – – Confident
Angry – – – – – – – Glad/Happy
Disappointed – – – – – – – Content
Resentful/Bitter – – – – – – – Forgiving
Unfulfilled – – – – – – – Satisfied
Disrespected – – – – – – – Honored
Unloved – – – – – – – Loved
Hopeless – – – – – – – Hopeful
Wavering – – – – – – – Committed
AT YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT we will focus on your current reality; the reason for coming to a marriage counselor. What is the presenting problem? We will discuss this emotional assessment to clarify the intensity of emotions on both sides that may have contributed to and/or be the result of the issue at hand. This will provide me with a rather clear picture of what happened, why you think this happened, how far apart you and your spouse are, what you value most, and how motivated you both are to make the changes necessary to repair the damages, learn from the experience, and start moving forward again.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Marriage counseling is by nature an intense process. You wouldn’t be meeting with me if you weren’t stuck in a problem you have not been able to resolve. I’d like to tell you that there are three easy steps to solving your impasse. There aren’t. But there are three essential areas that will always be on my radar. First, your THINKING, along with the emotional and physical effects produced by it. Next, your HEART, your values, truth, and your will—decisions and choices. Then, your BEHAVIORS that follow. We will work toward congruence, harmony in these areas. You may never notice this framework, but it will always be in the background while we work through the issues at hand.
What Happens Next
The process that follows will have these goals in view:
- PERSPECTIVE. Your problem is almost all you can currently see. I will help you understand that it has a context and fits in a bigger picture. I will help you look at it from 10,000 feet, or 30,000 feet, instead of just at treetop level. As we gain perspective I will be listening for and pointing out patterns I see that have contributed to the problem. I will be observing and pointing out defense mechanisms and behaviors I notice. I will be listening for and pointing out cognitive distortions that have followed emotional distress, but which now are barriers to moving forward. Together we will explore these things until we can see your situation in a way that gives room for you both to breathe and consider ways to move forward.
- CLARITY. We will talk about your Values and the Truth that shapes them. The changes that must take place in your marriage won’t have lasting effect unless they are grounded in a value system that is larger than your feelings. We will talk about your basis for Truth that informs your values. We are looking for your TRUE NORTH, that which doesn’t change, the stack-pole upon which you can make decisions that will be good and right. All of us think and make decisions based on something. We will clarify what that is for you and your spouse.
- FOCUS. This is the introspective part. What is your part in this problem? How have you contributed to it? What are the keys you hold that will lead to a breakthrough in the impasse? Are you willing to take responsibility for what has happened? Are you willing to change? Do you have the resolve to do the hard work necessary to see improvement in your marriage?
- ACTION PLAN. I will help you customize a logical plan for taking steps toward a positive outcome. You will have homework and we will talk about how you are doing and what needs to be changed as we go. This plan may include having you STOP doing some things, START doing other things, and perhaps CONTINUE doing some things that are helpful.
Should You Be Hopeful Marriage Counseling Will Help You?
Yes, you should. Both of you agreeing to come in is a hopeful sign. However, the speed of progress and the amount of progress will always be up to you and your spouse. The sessions will be engaging and hopefully, insightful. The process will be highly interactive. But the hard work is what happens outside the sessions when you two are back home. Then you will be putting into practice the things you are learning.
Help is Available
Let me know if you’re ready to get started. You can text me, or leave a message at (850) 972-8184, or email me at Bob@Think2BWell.com. I’ll get back to you the same day.