Differing from traditional couples counseling, our approach begins with establishing prerequisite skills prior to deeper work into the content of conflicts between partners. Couples often have one or two of these skills in place even before seeking help. Those skills are strengthened while others are acquired through coaching and training. Then with the guidance and encouragement of Kathleen or Daniel or sometimes both, couples approach hot button areas with more confidence and empathy.
One of the key skills coached in couples sessions and in workshops is the ability to disengage effectively. Our workshop “When to Stop Talking and How” has been enthusiastically received by clients, colleagues, and a national EAP.
Stress levels in marital conflict have been compared to those in combat yet little training has been available to help couples focus on their reactions during such conflict. At Group by Design we provide specific tools to help partners move productively through conflict toward their shared values.
Our work begins with a Couples Consumer’s Consult. In keeping with our value of transparency, this consult helps couples make informed decisions about their counseling. Implications for medical records, confidentiality, legal issues, and the therapeutic alliance are addressed directly. Though we might loose some clients in the short run as a result of the consult, we believe our full disclosure strengthens the foundation of our work for those who choose to proceed. Orienting clients to how we focus the work with a “Mindful Marriage” lens is another goal of the consult.
Because the couple relationship is our focus rather than a “mental disorder” most couples work proceeds on a fee for service basis rather than a claim to insurance basis. Occasionally insurance claims are filled if both partners are seeing an individual therapist who assigns a diagnosis and goes on record that the couples work is part of an integrated treatment plan. More details regarding this approach will be reviewed prior to or in the initial Couples Consumer’s Consult.