MyTherapist New York therapists use two styles of psychotherapy in couples counseling and individual therapy. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) helps get a handle on identifying your thinking about a particular situation and challenging it with more balanced thinking. Imago therapy gives couples insight into what influences their relationships, and how they can better communicate their frustrations to each other in a more empathetic way. These two styles of therapy overlap nicely by giving a bit of insight into relationship difficulty as well as some effective tools to change the relationship patterns that don’t seem to be working well.
These two interventions focus more on the here and now than on childhood or unconscious desires (called psychodynamic or psychoanalytic therapy). Couples often come to therapy expecting to talk about every fight they have ever had, putting the therapist into the role of judge and jury. Fighting your usual fights with a therapist in front of you is not therapy. Couples therapists sometimes alternate between individual and couples sessions in order to give each partner the chance to express their pain in a safe way, but the ultimate goal is to work with the relationship with each partner present, focusing on solutions and creating new, more effective patterns instead of rehashing old fights and opening old wounds.
Couples therapy is also not about confessing every secret of your relationship “to a complete stranger” (we hear that one a lot). Couples therapy is about starting with what you want in your ideal relationship, and moving from right now towards that ideal relationship, if you’re able to do it with what you have right now. The implication here is that although we are called “marriage and family therapists”, we have no moral attachment to the word “marriage”, and saving your marriage at all costs. A marriage, like any relationship, is a commitment, and if you can prove to yourself that you are still invested in this relationship, great! If not, then we want to work on dissolving the relationship over a handshake (or ideally, a hug and a kiss), rather than using attorneys for more emotional jousting.
People often become comfortable with their suffering, finding ways to cope with their unfulfilling relationships, sometimes for years. You don’t have to suffer. Move towards achieving your ideal relationship and take a step towards happiness!