Once couples finish couples counseling, the majority of couples don’t need to return. Most address their current issues and learn the skills to address future issues. However, a small group of couples return for booster sessions.

Stephen and Theresa are one such couple. They finished their first round of couples counseling successfully but returned two years later when some of the underlying relationship dynamics reappeared. Theresa talked about not being heard. She wanted to spend time quality time with Stephen but was met with Stephen’s defensiveness. Stephen said he was willing to have a dialogue about Theresa’s needs but felt criticized for not spending quality time with her.

They returned to a blame loop with each other—Theresa was critical, and Stephen was defensive. The more critical Theresa was, the more defensive Stephen was. The more defensive Stephen was, the more critical Theresa was.

This was a familiar pattern from our first stint in couples counseling. However, for two years they were able to address issues on their own, but this dynamic showed up when negotiating time together. I anticipated that it would only take a few sessions to get them back on track. I was pleased that they returned for booster sessions, in order to restore the amazing progress they initially made.