How can we help you?
Choosing who to work with in therapy is a big decision and of course you have questions! This is a good thing – questions mean that you are invested in the process. We've collected some commonly asked questions here for you to look through. If you find that you have other questions or you need more information, just give our counseling office a call and we'll talk through any of your questions or concerns.
Couples Therapy for One
Clients in individual counseling will sometimes bring their partner in for one or two sessions to discuss issues as a couple, and we strongly encourage this when appropriate. Sometimes an individual counseling arrangement with someone leads to couples work and the individual counseling with the original partner either continues with us or is discontinued while the couples therapy is happening.
However, if you are working with one of us individually and your partner also desires individual counseling, please recognize that one therapist cannot see both members of a couple individually at the same time. We are often referred clients by other therapists who currently work with one member of the couple yet need a counselor for the other member. If you are working with one of the therapists at Clarity Counseling Seattle and you find that your partner would like their own counseling, you can either work with another Clarity therapist or we have a number of other trusted colleagues in the area to whom your partner can be referred.
Absolutely! We have a great deal of experience helping women in counseling and have always enjoyed working with female clients. Though one of our specialties is working with men on men's issues and the man's role in relationships, our experience, training, and interests also include many of the issues women seek counseling for. At any given time a large percentage of our clients are female.
And for folks who prefer to work with a female therapist, we're thrilled to have Paige Geisinger onboard. Paige works with men, women, families and couples, and has been a wonderful addition to our team. She goes in and out of being full (because she's good!) but please check out her profile page to see if she is currently available to help you.
Men enter into counseling for a number of reasons, many of them the same as those that bring women into therapy, but the following are issues we often work with men on:
- Depression & anxiety
- Marriage/relationship problems
- Communication skill-building
- Restricted range of emotion
- Issues with intimacy or sex drive - whether low, no, or overactive
- Controlling or rigid behavior
- Affairs (having had, or currently in, or recovering from the spouse's affair)
- Marriage separation or divorce
- Questioning sexuality
- Alcohol or substance abuse
Not at all, and in fact many sex-related and intimacy-related issues such as low sex drive, problems bonding with sexual partners outside the bedroom, and so much more, have little to do with being in a partnered relationship. And if you are in a relationship but your partner is unable or unwilling to attend therapy with you, we can still work effectively on sex/intimacy challenges as an individual in therapy.
If your partner won't go to counseling it might be helpful to go without them.
Couples Counseling for One
One situation we've seen is that one partner may put off going to counseling because they want some proof from their partner that counseling is really on the table. In other words, they want to see you make some changes on your own before they'll commit to counseling.
If counseling has come up but your partner won't go right now, you have an opportunity to change this by taking the time to focus on your own challenges and begin making your own changes first.
Research shows that couples often enter into marriage counseling about six years later than they needed help. While we cannot guarantee that working with a counselor, either individually or as a couple, can save your relationship (nor should anyone make that promise), we can say that a couple has not done everything they can for an ailing relationship if they have not yet sought professional help. We go to doctors when our bodies are ailing, to lawyers for legal help, and accountants for tax expertise. Couples counseling is where we turn if we find that we need expertise in creating and maintaining healthy relationships.
Couples Counseling in Seattle
Having said this, if our work together, either in individual counseling or with your partner, cannot save your relationship, we can work together to help you so that you can create a different type of relationship the next time around. Anyways that you learn and grow in therapy will benefit the relationship you are in for the rest of your life, whoever that relationship is with.
- Take some time after each session to review what was said and to really think about how to incorporate your therapy experience into your day-to-day life outside the therapy office.
- The most important work of therapy takes place in between sessions when the therapeutic hour is utilized outside of the therapist's office, so be sure to follow up on any tasks that were established in session.
- Be as honest with your therapist as you are willing, as he or she can't help you if you withhold important information.
- Trust that when moments in therapy are difficult, or the therapeutic work you do outside of the therapy session is difficult, that this is growth and positive change.
There are a couple of common reasons why the process of therapy can be ineffective or, at a minimum, disappointing. For some, they may not have been truly ready to perform the necessary work of facing up to and working on the real issues at play in their situation, and this resistance stunted the process of creating lasting change.
It is not uncommon for people, though well-intentioned, to seek therapy in hopes of changing those around them rather than working on themselves. Thankfully, it is usually the case that when we change ourselves, those around us change as well.
Importance of Relationship Between Therapist and Client
For others, the pairing of client and therapist may simply not have been the right match. Though many therapists differ in their specific therapeutic approach, research shows that the single best determinant of success in therapy is the quality of the working relationship between therapist and client. *This applies to both individual and couples therapy.