A husband was talking about his work and said that his job was to solve problems. When I heard this, I thought what a good paradigm for understanding couples counseling. The couple is having problems, and my work with them is to solve these problems.
We do this by creating a safe place for couples to explore how to solve their problems. If their issue is communication, we address this head-on. I am constantly giving couples real-time feedback on how to improve their communication.
If their issue is one of the numerous other problems that couples struggle with, e.g., parenting, finances, in-laws, or connection, we create a safe environment to discuss and then explore solutions to these problems. If couples can talk about their problems without escalating or the conversation shutting down, couples can resolve a majority of their issues.
Couples are not solving their partner’s problems, although an individual may share what’s bothering them. Couples are solving problems that impact them as a unit. They just may need a healthier framework for doing so.