Alyssa initiated couples counseling when she was questioning whether to continue her marriage. She was quite withdrawn from her husband Tim. Tim was constantly critical over the years and she was sick of it. Tim seemed to adore her but was barely aware of the impact of his words.
The couples counseling started with Alyssa sharing her dissatisfactions. In the couples counseling, she would at least be heard.
But for Tim to change, he required feedback on his critical comments. Alyssa attempted this earlier in the relationship, but Tim’s defensiveness prevented change. Eventually Alyssa checked out of the relationship.
If Tim was critical to Alyssa in session, I could give Tim feedback. But it was the ongoing criticism outside of the sessions that was so damaging.
Alyssa agreed to write down Tim’s critical comments between sessions. With these real life examples, I could teach Tim how to express himself without being critical. Hopefully he would be a good student.