Information about the coaching and counseling that I provide.
Maintaining personal and communal responsibility are fundamental to the work in couples coaching. Personal responsibility involves ownership of our words, actions and the consequences of all that we say and do. Personal responsibility also involves self-forgiveness for whatever has gone wrong. If we make a mess, we clean it up and move forward. After that guilt is not necessary. Communal responsibility is the essence of partnership, collaboration, complementarity and teamwork in relationships. Communal responsibility requires mutual support, honest and courageous communication, and openness to mutual accountability. Couples coaching supports couples’ growth in learning and developing communal responsibility.
Relational growth is the expanding capacity to be vulnerable, connected and open to spontaneity when in relationship with another person. Being open to spontaneity means you do not know what will happen and that is okay. When you do not know what is going to happen and it is okay means you trust yourself and your ability to maintain personal integrity, personal responsibility and personal safety, and you trust your partner.
Relational growth has ingredients. The ingredients are:
- An innate compulsion to move forward in life.
- A willingness and commitment to meet the forces of resistance both inside and outside of ourselves.
- A desire for health, love, and happiness.
- A commitment to take full responsibility for past and present actions, in order to create a partnership of mutual respect and accountability.
A Strength Based Approach to Relationship Change
If we are willing to focus on our strengths and honestly acknowledge our weakness, we will notice that the weaknesses show up less and less. Adding to what is positive in a relationship begins to outweigh the negative. Couples coaching focuses on existing strengths as well as developing new ones
There are many possible perspectives. We often consider only the one we hold. Being open to different perspectives is part of the solution for growth in relationships. Despite our life-long tendencies even optimism and pessimism are choices. A change in perspective creates opportunities for creativity and growth. The couple’s coach calls out the individuals in the partnership, to step out of their customary way of looking at their situation and choose a new way of looking at it. This is a process of stepping out into unknown territory, developing a new level of trust and overcoming fears.
Creating harmony in relationships often starts with personal growth work. This means learning to manage oneself and be in harmony with oneself and one’s surroundings. Harmony starts within. If one is grounded and self-confident then internal harmony can rule when the world outside is in chaos. Unverified assumptions and secret expectations are sources of relational dissonance. Speaking up about your expectations and assumptions serves to preserve mutual understanding and creates clarity within the relationship.
Learning Communications Skills
Communication skills are learned. Effective, respectful communication has several components. There are different levels of listening and some people only listen at the first level. The first level means everything said by others is in someway directly connected to me and I respond that way. Within the first level of listening exists quick assessments and snap judgments. The second level requires suspending all judgment and pushing off the ongoing internal dialogue of assessment and analysis long enough to understand the other person’s perspective. This requires ongoing active curiosity, which leads to an understanding of what the other person’s words means to them. Words often mean different things to different people. Real listening involves hearing what the other person is saying; understanding it word-for-word and then letting the speaker know what you heard. This creates a sense of satisfaction within the speaker. That person will feel respected, taken into account, important to you and satisfied because they feel heard. Then comes a process of verifying what the speaker meant by those words. Reviewing and teaching listening skills are an ongoing part of the relationship coaching process
Commitment and Resolve for Growth
The distractions of life and complacency in a relationship both result in a kind of coasting towards boredom. A strengthened and renewed commitment is called for in couples coaching. Moving forward requires pushing through the resistance. It means standing up for what you want and being your own strong spokesperson. Courage and commitment are what move couples through their fear of confrontation, their hesitation about being “selfish”, their compulsion to be “selfless” and their doubts about success in relationships. Renewed commitment leads to the creation of new ground rules for the relationship.
The most potent and powerful thing anyone can do to deepen intimacy is to become vulnerable. This requires letting go of control, tuning in to your body’s intuition, speaking your truth, letting go of judgments about yourself or your significant other, taking your partner into account, and showing up fully present and approachable. Success in this area requires encouragement, coaching, and practice. It can be achieved by a variety of means. Coaches offers one means and often prescribes other adjunctive methods
The couples coaching process often involves rebuilding trust. If trust is broken then repair is in order and necessary for the couple to move forward. The essence of this healing process is described in these two articles, both available on this website:
- Rebuilding Trust: The Loving Salve for Relational Betrayal or Other Relational Injury
- Behavior Guide for Respectful Relationships, Building Trust and Resolving Difference
Cooperative, Collaborative Parenting
Couples sometimes find collaboration around parenting to be a challenge. Having been raised by different parents, they have different experiences and ideas about parenting. Since parenting is an evolving process that changes as children age, couples need to find a collaborative style early on to avoid years of stress and resentment. Collaborative parenting means finding a new way that encompasses the best of both styles and the changing needs of the children. Couples coaching can help young couples establish collaboration early in the family development. Couples coaching can also help parents with older children to create new patterns of mutually supportive parenting around the challenges that arise.
Life is always changing. The unexpected happens: career interests shift, jobs end, schedules change, children age and move on with their lives, and health and prosperity have peaks and valleys. Facing transitions means tapping into relational commitment, communication skills, trust and personal strengths to achieve success and positive transformation. Coaching brings a fresh perspective and helps couples see the many possibilities that can be the results of shifting circumstances. The best time to create new positive and lasting habits of relating is in a time of transition or crisis
Recovery from Relational Collapse Caused by Addictions, Affairs, Abuse or Neglect.
Recovery from the consequences of addictions, affairs, abuse or neglect involves a process of stepping into the unknown. The process requires courage, honesty, vulnerability, openness and commitment to recovery. Other necessary ingredients are: love, desire, compassion, respect, and a strong sense of personal responsibility for past shortcomings. The process involves accepting differences, healing emotional wounds, repairing trust and taking action to create and protect ongoing safety within the relationship. The essence of the process is described in the article, Rebuilding Trust: The Loving Salve for Relational Betrayal or Other Relational Injury. This article is available in the Resources section of this website. This process often combines the use of couples coaching and individual coaching.
Successful Parenting and Discipline
Children challenge their parents to work together. Discipline styles and attitudes often differ because of how the parents were treated when they were children themselves. The article, Successful Parenting Discipline (available in Resources) is meant to serve as a guide for getting parents on the same page regarding parenting and discipline. The principles in this article are an integral part of parent coaching.
Personal growth pegs to occur when we are parents. The child within us (the inner child) is awakened by our own children as the live their lives. It is as if there book inside us with a page for every day we have lived and the experiences of each day have been recorded. If we had a particularly difficult time when we were three years of age, then when our first child turns three we begin to feel those feelings from our past. Whether we are conscious or unconscious of the process it does occur and can impact our parenting.