Over the past six months or so I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of calls I receive for people interested in couples counseling.
When I speak to them, one thing consistently mentioned is the relationship strain brought about by COVID and the associated restrictions and change in how daily life is/was lived.
The situation of the past couple of years seems to have either drawn couples closer together or exacerbated the difficulties present.
Far too often in couples counseling, people show up when they are already on the brink of divorce and counseling is a last ditch effort. The negative sentiment override present in a relationship with unaddressed problems for years or decades can be substantial. Often, I and the couple recognize that intervention a year or two earlier could have made a huge difference in the amount of resentment present, and the eventual outcome of the relationship.
This is why I decided to become a certified leader for the Gottman Institute’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work program: to help couples enhance their relationship so hopefully it never gets to the point of needing counseling, or if it does, the counseling can come sooner. The scientific research of couples over the past four decades points to key ways to help troubled marriages/relationships improve and good relationships get even stronger. These keys are addressed in the course, as well as a segment on what I refer to as ‘The Los Alamos Problem’ of attempting to navigate a relationship where one partner is desperately wanting emotional connection and the other is attempting to address this need through a rational, intellectual approach.
These emotional soft skills are increasingly required not only in relationships, but also in the workplace and society. The world is shifting, so gaining the skills necessary to succeed is beneficial for couples, children and communities. The relational skills modeled by our parents (especially if you are a Boomer, Gen X and maybe even a Millennial) are typically insufficient for today’s reality. Furthermore, societal mores during our formative years may have actively discouraged emotional connection in favor of competition and ‘being logical,’ leading to a neglect of the potential emotional learning opportunities.
The 12-hour psycho-education course is offered over two weekends in February. It is not counseling and no personal difficulties will be shared with the group. Registration is limited to eight couples and closes Jan. 27. Contact me or register online.
For more details, visit this link.