web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Marital Therapy: Solo Or Joint?

Respler-032213

Dear Dr. Yael:

During joint therapy, when the therapist asked my husband and me to discuss why we were seeking help, we both began speaking negatively and saying things that were hurtful. After speaking for a while, the therapist said the session was over.

Upset and angry, we wondered if we should ever return for another session. My question to you: Is this the way marital therapy works? Does the scenario I’ve described make couples more upset and angry at each other? What is your approach?

We both discussed all of our faults – and it was so painful. Please help us.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

The difficulty with marital therapy lies precisely with the issue you’ve brought to the fore. An obvious question is: How is a therapist expected to help a couple improve their marriage if they are allowed to speak disparagingly about and to each other?

I usually handle marital therapy by speaking with the wife and husband separately. I try to hear their individual views and then attempt to help both of them work on themselves – separately. This way, both the husband and wife can feel comfortable talking about what is bothering them, followed by my attempt to find a way to help the spouses – independently – change certain behaviors. My goal is to not hurt them unnecessarily. As a therapist, I have the ability to help each spouse work on areas that need improvement by using their strengths to help build them up.

Therapy can be a painful process at times because part of it is working through things that have happened to you that may be hard or difficult to share or deal with. But, generally speaking, a couple should not leave therapy feeling angrier and more resentful of each other than before they began the process. When a couple goes through therapy together, as you did, they will likely hurt each other. These hurtful comments cannot be taken back and may, in the long run, damage the relationship.

Thus, I always try to minimize the pain by seeing the couple separately in order to hear and work on the problems in the marriage. When the marriage is on the mend, I may request that they come in together so as to give both husband and wife a forum to practice compliments as well as to perform some of the positive changes each has been working on. Here’s an example: Shani and Yossi have come to see me because Yossi is often anxious and will snap at Shani for perceived infractions. Shani gets very insulted and will start to cry and scream in response. This often results in a fight, whereby hurtful things are said. Shani and Yossi want to work on improving their communication and minimizing the fighting.

In this scenario, I would see Shani and Yossi separately. I would listen to their grievances and try to help them work on the relevant issues. Had I, at the outset, seen them together, Shani and Yossi would likely have spoken about all of the terrible things they had done to each other. This would have caused a lot of embarrassment, possibly causing both parties to become enraged and spouting a barrage of complaints against the other. All that would have been accomplished is more of the same fighting that occurs at home, resulting in more pain for the couple.

Seeing Shani and Yossi separately often leads to greater therapeutic success. In that circumstance, Shani can describe to me what is going on from her point of view – without hurting Yossi. And for his part, Yossi can do the same regarding Shani’s feelings.

Then the real work begins with each focusing on his or her separate issues. As the mediator with no anger toward either party, I am able to be gentle and positive when articulating what improved actions are required. I am able to pick up on Yossi’s and Shani’s strong points and, as a result, help build up their self-esteem and self-positives. And I can use their strong points to help them work on their weaker points, helping make their marriage more successful.

Although joint communication is the key, Shani and Yossi need to work on their individual communication skills before coming together in session. Once they are equipped with new communication proficiencies, they can practice their newfound skills at home. Afterwards, they can boast their new skills by participating in the joint therapy session.

On my end, I share all of the progress that both are making and encourage them to keep up the good work. If setbacks develop, I discuss them in private with the appropriate party. I find that these private discussions prevent future damage to what could be the fragile beginnings of a beautiful relationship.

This technique works very well with most couples. It allows the therapist to tell both spouses all of the positive things that the other spouse said about them. And it strengthens the marriage by focusing on these positive points.

Just like Aharon haKohen promoted shalom bayis by sharing with couples all of the good things that his or her spouse said, a therapist can encourage shalom bayis in this same way. Please speak to your therapist about this technique or look for a new therapist who might deal with your situation differently – hopefully, for the better. Remember that nothing gets fixed by speaking badly to and about each other.

May you have a chag kasher v’sameach and may this time of year give you and your husband the mazel to renew your mutual love and respect. Hatzlachah in your quest to find the right tools to help you improve your marriage!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Marital Therapy: Solo Or Joint?”

  1. Now that is upsetting. It's as if your paid for nothing. It even made the situation worse. I think it's best to do some research first before hiring a therapist. The best ones out there usually have positive reviews from different people. – http://www.relationshipreality312.com/

  2. Sometimes you have to let the therapist know what is it that you need his or her help with. Air out everything to the therapist so that he or she will know the best way to approach your specific problems. – http://www.relationshipreality312.com/

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.
‘Benign Neglect’ May Be Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-092614

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

Respler-091214

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

I recently met a wonderful woman who writes poetry. With her permission, I am sharing a poem she wrote about time.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

Upon hearing that he did, the owner sent him the atarah – all shiny and new – to be returned to me. I was reunited with my father’s precious gift.

A prominent shadchan recently articulated a dilemma she’s facing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/marital-therapy-solo-or-joint/2013/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: