This group is intended for couples who want to gain tools for improving their communication and conflict resolution skills. Since unacknowledged shame derails the most well-intended attempts at resolving conflict, I will start by explaining what shame is and how it impacts intimate relationship dynamics. Participants will learn to recognize its presence and how to remedy it. Then, I will teach you the following skills that will transform how you interact to increase your level of intimacy:
- Asking Open-Ended Questions – how to convey interest by being open and curious about what your partner is saying.
- Giving Empathy – how to listen for the emotional content of what your partner is saying and convey that in a way that makes your partner feel understood and validated.
- Offering Real Apologies – how to recognize and deliver a real apology, and how to take responsibility for doing wrong while still feeling ok as a person.
- Operating from a Position of “I’m ok and You’re ok” – how to interact in a respectful manner that honors the dignity of both partners (adapted from Transactional Analysis theory).
- Fighting Fair – how to avoid communication-busting pitfalls when trying to resolve conflict.
- Addressing the Process – how to recognize when an argument has derailed and get back on track.
When it comes to behavior change, knowledge only goes so far. Real change doesn’t generally happen without a commitment to intentional practice, so this group will be highly experiential and both members of a couple will need to attend. Practicing can seem awkward and forced at first, but I will set a comfortable tone where you can feel free to make mistakes and be gentle with each other. Because these skills are ones I eventually cover with all my couples therapy clients, this group is a very cost-efficient way to get started, especially if you can’t use insurance for couples therapy.
Cost: 6 1.5 hour sessions, $420 per couple for the series