Couples therapy made easy is about having an approach to therapy that is simple to use and doesn’t need complex thought or deep insights (which most people find difficult to use and apply). It is not, however, for couples who are so stupid as to refuse support when they need it or who are too blameful to accept it when it is offered to them. It’s also not for freshly qualified therapists who are obligated to listen to and engage in finger pointing and insanity in order to prevent disappointing their clients. Spencer Chernick, LMFT – ADHD, Couples, Teens, Children has some nice tips on this.
After years of seeing partners who were too quick to blame and make excuses, or who saw themselves as victims who bore no responsibility for their problems… Couples therapy has become much simpler and clearer after becoming exhausted at intervening to prevent them from acting on a self-destructive or couple destructive impulse. It is not, however, ideal for all.
It is not for couples who, rather than committing to strengthening and improving their relationship, believe that each or either of the partners must be right and must get their way. It’s normal for people to want to be right and get their way, and it’s natural for them to be upset if they don’t. It’s even normal for some people to feel compelled to be right and get their way, and to be disappointed when they don’t.
When one of the partners has to be right and get their way, however, any possibility of being wrong or not getting their way is perceived as an attack, and they will do all they can to protect their place, resist, and fight back.
The focus of counselling then shifts to teaching each partner how to react to their relationship’s unavoidable conflicts, disappointments, upsets, and complaints by not being frustrated or angry at each other, or shutting down or avoiding each other. It also entails refraining from berating oneself.
Instead, each partner is taught and coached about how to confront and thoroughly resolve disputes when they occur. Most people, it turns out, avoid confrontation not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know how to deal with it. More to the point, they feel that confronting conflict will only make it worse, and they have no faith that it will improve things.