Couples Counseling

The focus of couples therapy is to identify the presence of dissatisfaction and distress in the relationship, and to devise and implement a treatment plan. The objectives of treatment are to improve or alleviate the symptoms and restore the relationship to a healthier level of functioning. The reasons for distress can include poor communication skills, incompatibility, complaints of intimacy, or a broad spectrum of psychological disorders.

The foundation of my approach is Emotionally-Focused Therapy. This therapy assists patients to acknowledge, assess, and express emotions that are related to distress. This model views emotion and cognition (thinking) as interdependent and that emotion is a primary “driver” of interpersonal expression. The primary theme of emotionally focused therapy is that coupled distress stems from unexpressed and unacknowledged emotional needs. The dysfunction arises from negative interactions from emotions that have been withheld from disclosure from each partner.

However, depending on the couples’ needs and situation, I also tap into the following modalities:

  • Behavioral Marital Therapy – Focuses on improving relationships between a couple by increasing positive exchanges and decreasing the frequency of negative and punishing interactions.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Marital Therapy – A couple’s emotional and behavioral dysfunction are related to inappropriate information processing (possibly “jumping to conclusions,” for example) and negative cognitive appraisals. This models attempts to discover the negative types of thinking that drive negative behaviors that cause relationship distress.
  • Integrative Behavioral Couples Therapy – Improving behavior exchange, communication, and the couples’ abilities for problem-solving skills. This approach examines problems and interactions that are repetitious (acts that are repeatedly done causing relationship problems).
  • Structural Strategical – Challenging existing negative perceptions and present alternative possibilities and behaviors. These alternate behaviors encourage positive perceptions by role-playing.

Regardless of the approach, I strive to create an environment where both partners feel understood and validated. I actively try to help the relationship and create a sense of hope that the couple can resolve their problems. This involves challenging each partner’s contributions to the problems and facilitating the individual to make these changes to resolve them. I may offer you reasonable and helpful perspectives to help you understand the sources of your problems, in addition to specific strategies for changing your relationship, and coaching you on how to use them.

Ryan Long, MSW, LICSW


verified by Psychology Today

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