web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


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.

About the Author: Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Respler will be on 102.1 FM at 10:00 pm Sunday evenings after Country Yossi.


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.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-062615

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

Respler-061915

When they all try to speak at once, I will ask them to stop and speak one at a time.

In America one has to either be very rich or impoverished to receive care – the middle class seems to get taken advantage of.

Growing up, I saw the respect my parents had for each other. Then I got married…

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Unfortunately, the probability is that he will not see a reason to change as he has been acting this way for a long time and clearly has some issues with respecting women.

Returning to visit my family for Yom Tov has become torturous for me.

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: