Relationship counseling is the process of counseling the parties of a relationship in an effort to recognize and to better manage or reconcile troublesome differences and repeating patterns of distress. The relationship involved may be between a couple or members of a family, employees or employers in a workplace, or between a professional and a client.
Family counseling brings into the therapy session various family members to nurture change and development. It tends to view the problem in terms of the systems of interaction between family members. It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. As such, family problems are seen to arise due to the systemic interactions of the family members, rather than to be blamed on individuals in the family.
IMAGO is a specialized therapy that focuses on couples’ relationships. This theory and practice of therapy was developed by Harville Hendrix and is outlined in his book, Getting the Love You Want. This therapy has often been featured on Oprah as a very successful means of improving couples’ communication. Where most forms of couple’s counseling is based on a form of negotiation, IMAGO therapy addresses the individuals’ emotional hurts underlying the hurtful behavior or communication. Once a partner understands the other’s source of pain, they usually change their typical response, which changes the tone and energy of the relationship. The outcome is that each person in the relationship feels heard and understood increasing his or her commitment to a positive and mutual relationship. Partners find that they look forward to discussing all matters of the heart and that no topic is ‘off limits.’ When couples use the IMAGO tools of empathic listening and validation it increases their love filled energy and connection to one another. With most couples, one of the partners initiates the therapy process. The other partner often feels like therapy is ‘a trip to the dentist’ or ‘like going to the principal’s office’. But with IMAGO therapy, no criticism is allowed. Both partners in the relationship are engaged in a process that expands the magic of the relationship and is a safe learning experience for both.
Moving forward following a divorce can be one of the biggest challenges that a family (adults and children alike) can face. Family members must deal with the grief and loss of losing their identity as a family. They must face the possibility of losing relationships. They face new financial challenges. Parenting must occur in new and different ways. Each individual must build a new social life. Children encounter divided loyalties and the uncertainty of not knowing what to say or who they can talk with. The adults must adjust to being “ex-”. They must adjust to seeing an ex-spouse with a new mate or with a new life style. At aha NOW! Counseling trained therapists can help family members move forward and face the future with confidence.
Developed by John Gottman, PhD, this type of marital and relationship therapy is based on Dr. Gottman’s three decades of research on all facets of married life, including parenting issues. He and his wife, Julie, have developed an approach that strengthens happy marriages and committed relationships and supports and repairs troubled ones. The lessons learned from Dr. Gottman’s research allowed him to develop specific training methods and education of behaviors, which improve relationship functioning, and the avoidance of certain behaviors, which deteriorate relationships.
The parent and child relationship is the most important intimate relationship that human beings develop. These relationships can be positive and nurturing for both child and parent. However, not all parent and child relationships are conflict free. Due to the intimate and long-lasting nature of this type of relationship, conflicts may arise at any point in a child’s development. The psychotherapists at aha NOW! Counseling have expertise in helping parents and their children navigate these conflicts. Whether the issue is due to a child’s acting out behaviors during their younger years or changes occurring during adolescence, we can help you understand the developmental complications that might be occurring and provide assistance to both parents and children as they work through these difficult issues.