Most singles and couples that I treat ask me about my philosophy on relationships and couples counseling. It really is a great question and one that all clients deserve to have answered by their counselors, psychotherapists and coaches.
My beliefs are pretty simple and fairly humble. I'm not some grandiose "expert" who believes that he knows more about the couple than they do. Yes, I DO know a few things and possess a few tools from my training and twenty years of practice in the field of couples counseling. And I AM pretty gifted when it comes to assessing the dynamics of a relationship and translating it into language that EACH partner can understand (I'm sure you're aware that our partners often speak different languages than we do!).
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My philosophy is one of trusting the process. The psyche of the individuals and the collective psyche of the couple know what is best for them. It would be quite presumptuous of me to think that I know what is best for a couple, that I know more than they do about what is right for them.
So, I’m not there to judge or decide what kind of relationship they have or could have. I’m there to put partners into deep connection. I’m there to engage the couple in their own process together, to help them remove what is in the way of clarity and truth, so that they can deal with what needs to be dealt with and decide what needs to be decided.
What I believe is that Couples are seeking connection. They want to feel that connection with each other, that aliveness, that excitement, that sense of well being. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual connection.
So even though it sounds a little strange, I believe that CONFLICT is the motivating force for healing and growth in relationships. I believe the conflict couples experience after the “honeymoon period” of their relationship is actually necessary. Conflict points out where we don’t get our needs met. Unmet needs create a breakdown in connection, destroying the passion and intimacy.
And here is the challenge, as many couples don’t navigate this “power struggle” phase well and eventually break up or settle for a less than satisfying relationship.
To get back to connection couples need Safety and Passion. They want the emotional safety to be themselves, to be open and honest, to feel accepted and understood. With this safety, comes deep connection. From this nurturing environment, passion can arise and be sustained. I mean sexual passion, of course, and also, emotional passion. The freedom to be spontaneous, to express they we are, to be intimate and excited by their lives.
THIS is what I believe couples counseling is about and this would be MY philosophy of couples counseling. I hope that this has been helpful.
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Dr. Adam Sheck