Frequently Asked Questions
My spouse refuses to go for help with our marriage. What can I do?
It is very common for a spouse to feel hopeless when their partner refuses to get help.
The good news is that one spouse going for help can make all the difference. After over 37 years, my experience has been that often by one spouse making changes, the whole relationship turns around. The reason is that by one person changing the way they act, the other is almost forced to also change their ways or responses.
The other thing that happens is the spouse who is not going for helps sometimes becomes curious and wants to come along to the appointments.
When I was younger, I used to think the other spouse would want the same number of separate appointments. I’ve found that is not true. Often after one or two appointments, the other spouse reports feeling understood and is very ready to join in on the couple appointments.
How long does it usually take to bring a relationship/marriage to a better place?
It depends on a lot of things. One issue is how long the problems have gone on. For example, if a couple is very willing to do things differently than usual, get out of their comfort zone, a change can begin fairly quickly. I have seen things begin to turn to the positive in as quickly as two to three weeks.
I’m trying to decide whether coming will help our marriage problems. How can I know?
The good news is that in my experience if a couple is truly willing learn, make some changes, and will keep coming for a few weeks to two or three months, they do see positive results.
However, if a spouse is only attending and pretending to be sincere, or to cover their guilt, obviously it won’t be helpful. You probably really can’t know without trying.
I always say, what can you lose by making a real effort? At least if you do end up divorcing, you can feel good if you gave it your honest effort. You, of course, cannot make decisions for another person, but you can influence them greatly by your own new actions and attitudes.
What is your unique approach to helping marriages or helping people make positive changes?
If you read the About description you notice I take a very positive but realistic approach and do believe everyone can change. If I didn’t believe that, it would be impossible to work with people with problems daily.
Additionally, I also take a very practical and pro-active approach and introduce tools that people can actually begin to use right away in their daily life. I work as a team member to help the couple find ways to solutions and to help one another feel loved, cared about and important.
Are you one of those professionals who thinks it is necessary to go back and spend lots of time deeply working through each person’s childhood history in order to help someone change?
No, I am not one who spends a great deal of time on old history. At the same time, I do believe history can become the pair of glasses through which a person views life. Helping others learn or find new perspectives can be helpful in understanding those who are very different from ourselves and our histories.
How is your approach any different than other professionals?
I believe I am probably more pro-active and solution-oriented than many others. I’m one who not only listens but gives feedback and helps people look at their own instinctive ways of reacting. I also provide many practical, pro-active, helpful tools that many couples have never learned and but find both fun and easy to use.
What actually happens during a counseling or coaching session?
I can’t answer for others, however, my goal during our first session together is to understand the current situation and some of the past, and begin to build hope for change and share at least one to three “tools” that can be used right away.
To speed up the process I have each person fill out a four page form telling me their life story and what they would like to accomplish while working together. I also check on how they are feeling, what they are thinking, support system, health, etc. I ask also how they will know when things are better.
Many people come in thinking I will serve as judge and jury, decide who is right and who is wrong and straighten out that other person! Of course, that is not how it works. We work as a term to understand what each person needs and how we can move ahead in positive ways.
I’m a big believer in damage control and not adding any more pain to what has already occurred. If things are not working, we find actions that can turn things around quickly in daily life. Then as we continue to work together to change the dance or the patterns in their behaviors, we begin to work on healing and moving beyond all that pain.
How long do I need to come to make real changes?
It depends a lot on the severity of the problem(s) and how much effort is made between appointments.
During a big crisis, I occasionally do two times weekly. Much of the time, I do weekly sessions for at least four or more weeks. If things are going well, we may try every two weeks to see how that works.
Sometimes people slip back and return to weekly. When people reach the time where things are going well consistently, couples sometimes want to come monthly at least a couple times to keep things on track.
I’ve had couples who want to come in occasionally just to stay on track. Because we have worked together it is much easier to keep on track with someone who already knows their story.
I have some additional questions you have not covered. How can I get the answers I need?
I am always very open to answer your questions and in fact welcome them. Please feel free to either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.