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Couples Therapy

Would you like to improve your romantic relationship? You’ve come to the right place.  Couples are often refreshed by Carmichael Psychology’s solution-focused approach to couples therapy.  We are deliberately selective about the types of couples we accept, because we know we get the best results with a very specific type of couple.  We work with couples that are:

Open to feedback.  One of the most frequent compliments we get from couples is that our therapists do more than just “listen and reflect” back to the couple.  We offer specific interventions and ideas for you to try at home, starting from the very first session.  If you’re a couple who is seeking more than a “venting session”, you have come to the right place.

Ready to transcend the basics: Carmichael Psychology only accepts couples that are already fully capable of interacting without risk of physical harm to one another.  We work best with couples that have a baseline level of health such that no one is threatening to harm himself/herself or his/her partner, even during your most stressful moments.  Passionate behavior is one thing; domestic abuse is another. If domestic violence is a current or past concern, we encourage you to seek help with a specialist in that area because we work exclusively with couples who are never a danger to self or others.

Time Conscious:  You will get the best results if you and your partner are able to attend your appointments on time so that you can actually use the full session time.  We understand that coordinating schedules between busy people can be a challenge, so we offer video appointments as well to offer maximal flexibility.  Similarly, we also respect your time: At your first or second session, we’ll offer guidelines on how many sessions seems to be an appropriate ballpark figure for your goals as a couple.  We’ll be happy to revisit and revise these goals with you anytime– we encourage transparency on all sides (at least in terms of “time goals”:).

If you’ve read the points above and you think we might be a fit, please see below for some of the most popular areas of focus at our couples sessions!

Here are some popular areas of focus for couples therapy or couples coaching at Carmichael Psychology:

– Infidelity: Has your relationship experienced “cheating” or infidelity?  Whether it was an emotional affair, a physical affair, or somewhere in between, we have experience helping couples to work through infidelity.  We focus on helping both sides feel heard, understand the circumstances or triggers that led to the current situation, and have productive discussions about moving forward in a way that centers around trust, honesty, emotional healing, and mutual respect. We help couples avoid toxic martyrdom, while simultaneously requiring personal accountability and true ownership of mistakes so that the couple can restore integrity, authenticity, and joy to their relationship.
– Dating and unsure of next steps: One of the best things about our clients is that they tend to be careful, thoughtful, intelligent people.  Sometimes, they can be very concerned about if and when to transition from dating into engagement and marriage.  This decision is obviously incredibly important.  Carmichael Psychology is very good at helping couples to reflect together as they consider their current and potential future relationship status.  We frequently see couples where one member is more desirous than the other for marriage, or where one member feels stuck between wanting to commit but also not wanting to feel rushed or pressured.  We think you’ll be happily surprised how helpful it can be to meet with a supportive third party who wants to help both members of the couple to discover and/or express their feelings about the very important yet delicate subject of commitment.  While it can feel cumbersome or expensive to get professional help on the topic of dating, we encourage you to remember that the choice of a life partner is one of the most important choices of one’s life.

– Searching for boundaries: When two people join as one couple unit, whether or not they are interested in marriage, the concept of “boundaries” takes on a new meaning.  Carmichael Psychology recognizes this.  We will be glad to help you and your partner find your “happy place” in balancing unity and individuality.  Some couples have questions about how much intimacy feels appropriate, how much caregiving (or “taking on your debt/ depression/ anxiety/ temper/ commitment issues/ family/ insecurities/ job demands/ FITB” feels appropriate/healthy) feels optimal. We recognize that for many people and committed couples, a healthy bond pertains a healthy self; and a healthy self pertains to a healthy bond.  We’re glad to help each person and couple find (and communicate!) their own healthy balance; and to provide individual counseling too if either or both members of the couple would like.

– Premarital Counseling:  Once a couple has decided to enter into a formal pathway to marriage, whether in terms of religious or civil ceremony (or both or neither!), new feelings of openness, responsibility, excitement, overwhelm, and everywhere in between can arise.  Carmichael Psychology is here to help you and your partner to navigate these feelings as well as the traditions, expectations, hopes, and beliefs behind them.  The process of marriage can be full of wonderment, legality, spirituality, personality, desire, and many permutations/combinations of all these elements.  We are here to help you blend all or none of these elements as you work together to define/create your dream marriage.  The idea is simply to be intentional and honest, while also leaving room for the unknown and even potentially mystical elements of life.  Carmichael Psychology has experience with heterosexual marriage, gay marriage, arranged marriages, religious marriages, civil marriages, and nearly every other sort of marriage that involves two respectful and consensual human beings.  We’re a safe and accountable resource where you are encouraged and assisted as you enter this important chapter of your life.

General communication: You might be surprised how often “opposites attract”, in terms of communication.  Or how sometimes a very deep “couple bond” can translate to over-personalization of tiny disagreements.  When we really care about someone, the need to communicate well is elevated.  The good news is that improving your communications skills is almost always a good thing, no matter your current or future status as a couple.  In other words, couplehood offers a special “bonus zone” of communication where we can communicate deeper and more authentically than ever before; while also strengthening ourselves as individuals.  If you want this, call us so we can help- it’s that simple (as long as you meet our criteria for clienthood; if you don’t then we’ll still be glad to refer you to the right place)..

Parenting: Ah, parenthood.  There’s almost no other way in which two people can be more intimately bonded.  Whether you’ve adopted, biologically created, or otherwise taken on some other endeavor in which you collaboratively parent a human life together, you can expect to encounter differences.  Generally speaking, the key to successful navigation is to understand, appreciate, respect, and judiciously blend your approaches.  This process can be one of the most fulfilling and/or one of the most personal processes of your life.  It can also be one of the most painful.  It’s definitely one in which you (imho) should seek support if you’re feeling the need.  Step parenthood, half-parenthood, divorced-parenthood, and even “normal” (whatever that means) parenthood can/should stimulate us to new levels of self awareness and intentionality as we work together with our co-parent to delineate an optimal and enjoyable parent/couple approach.

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