Would you like a guidebook to transform your marriage? Would you like to do it quickly? Maybe even in 2 days? Or a month? It took years to get it in disrepair, but with Accelerated Couples Therapy we can regenerate it very quickly. Here’s how…
The Problem with Traditional Couples Therapy
Years ago, I struggled with effectively helping couples move into a contented, respectful, and even a happy place in a short period of time. The problem is that couples wait an average of 6 years from the time they know they have a problem before they go to therapy. So thinking we could do anything quickly was not something to easily contemplate, let alone solve.
Many couples did well in therapy. But in the early days of my practice, I saw too many couples struggling year-after-year to repair their marriage. Some got discouraged and dropped out. More and more I was seeing couples coming from other therapists, sometimes two or three, with little success.
I knew there had to be another way to help couples transform their marriage effectively and quickly. After attending years of annual conferences, numerous advanced trainings and reading enough couples therapy books to fill my library, I realized I had to pull together my years of experience with couples, my abilities, intuition, and all the research I could apply to come up with a practical and successful treatment plan.
I love a challenge! And that’s when Accelerated Couples Therapy was born.
Why Accelerated Couples Therapy Was Developed
Early in my career, we sourced methods and interventions of Reality and Regard Therapy, Fair Fighting, Active Listening, among others. Most methods were all about individual therapy. We used Positive Regard Theory, Gestalt Therapy, and Virginia Satir’s work.
But we lacked clinical trials and real research. Thanks to John Gottman and others, we now have the clinical trials that tell us what works with couples – and it works 70-90% of the time.
For years, I had tried to move couples into a breakthrough in which they experienced unconditional love from their partner. Doing that seemed to take months of traditional marriage therapy – grinding out many hurtful situations in their history.
Trying to move them into that place was difficult in weekly therapy. However, I found that in marriage retreats, it was much easier. So I tried to find the key issues or topics to get us to that breakthrough moment.
The problem I needed to solve was how to get couples close to that breakthrough in the first 90 minutes of knowing them.
The Magical Moment of Synthesis
The solution seemed to be a process of no longer listening to many hours of the couple’s complaints. The blame had to stop. It was unnecessary and even detrimental to the healing and restorative process. The key was in getting the couple to discuss differences rather than share criticisms.
Then one weekend I had the opportunity to test this out. I worked with a couple from Georgia during my Marriage Happiness Retreat. The results were amazing!
It was so easy to move them right into the joy of their earlier married days, ferret out the reasons for Greg’s conflict avoidance and need to always make Ellen happy (no matter the cost to him), and understand Ellen’s eagerness for control and quick response with anger.
In just the first hour, they immediately were understanding one another and feeling compassion, instead of distain. By the end of the first day they were crying with joy at the shared memories and savoring the goals for their future.
They went to their hotel at the end of the day and reported they had the best sex ever!
I knew we could get this success in marriage retreats! Now, I had to translate this into an accelerated program of just a few couples therapy sessions.
My first challenge is to get the couple to see their individual childhood patterns. Then I show them how these have become the couple’s new pattern! They own it and then fix it!
Each person has to be open and trusting: open to self-reflection and understanding himself or herself. Then they need to see what they are doing to their partner and how it affects the other. There is no room for blame or criticism.
But that was not enough.
We had to reconnect them emotionally with the deepest level of recognition and appreciation that we could. And finish with the joyful connection of unconditional love, even if only for several seconds.
Because of all my years of experience, I was able to quickly see the obstacles and the sabotaging. Then I help move the couple into deep understanding and compassion. We then add positive memories and intimate feelings to reconnect them in a breakthrough of unconditional love. The emotions will carry them there if I provided the foundation.
To give the couple hope and help them understand their relationship in an entirely new perspective, the first session needed to NOT be about complaints or history.
We needed to include these steps:
- Each person needs to take responsibility for their patterns of relationship and communication. While each person needs to say what their concerns are and their complaints, the way to cut to the quick on it seems to be looking at their own behaviors and mistakes, triggers, feelings, and the history or stories of those patterns. And then the reactions of their partner. Not to delve into the content but to understand the pattern between the couple.
- In exploring self-reflection and responsibility, we have to talk about childhood and comprehend coping mechanisms and patterns that developed with Mom, Dad, siblings and others for childhood survival.
- The couple has a need to connect with some positive emotions. So recalling, feeling, and savoring some of the positive feelings from their earlier relationship must be experienced. They have to tap into some of the deepest feelings of appreciation, which means they have to set aside current negative feelings.
- The couple has to learn to communicate without blame, taking ownership of their ineffective and hurtful relationship patterns and behaviors. They have to understand their partner and their partner’s point of view and move away from blame, right and wrong. The great need is to listen and demonstrate understanding and validation of their partner’s feelings. And each person has to learn to ask for what they want.
Just like in a marriage retreat this entire first session has to be about the couple understanding their partner, seeing things from the other’s perspective, understanding each other’s childhood patterns, exploring their own patterns, sharing some of the deeper feelings with each other, which all contribute to more emotional connection.
They have to see how they sabotage their most precious relationship and that they have the key to stopping the ineffective behaviors. And finally the couple has to learn the skills to demonstrate their care, kindness, respect, honesty, love and intimate feelings. They must be able to affirm the authentic self in themselves and each other.
Each couple receives much education in this first session. They begin feeling hope by communicating about their patterns, see how it affects the other, apologize, be open, accept the other, be kind.
They also need to be understanding, set aside judgment, focus their energy on changing themselves, understanding their partner, validating the other, expressing positive feelings to each other, and experiencing hope that their love will connect more and more, restoring and deepening their connection with each other.
Tall order? Yes.
In 90 minutes? Yes.
Having them experience love in that 90 minutes? Yes.
And then we have to continue the therapy and practice at home the kind and respectful conversations and deepening emotional connections and friendship so intimacy will freely flow between them again.
The couples in on-going Accelerated Couples Therapy transform their relationships in just a few sessions. And then develop and polish skills with more time. They do it just like the couples in a marriage retreat! And it’s much faster than traditional marriage counseling.
When I work with couples in a two-day Marriage Happiness Retreat, we can get to these moments of understanding and love many times. Then we do lots of practice for loving conversations, and with some follow-up work, couples have transformed their relationship in two days.
Marriage Counseling that Actually Works
Accelerated Couples Therapy has wonderful success with committed couples who are willing to be open to the process and work at having kind conversations.
Here are some examples of the amazing results couples have achieved with Accelerated Couples Therapy. (Names and specifics have been changed to protect individual privacy.)
Sam and Emily
Sam saw how growing up he protected his single mother by being quiet, never arguing with her or disappointing her. He saw how he did this pattern with Emily. She saw how sensitive Sam was and how he recoiled and shut down from her criticism. She saw how gentle she needed to be. Even though her Italian ways worked well with her family of origin, they didn’t work with Sam. He could not fulfill her needs of sharing and communicating with her.
They were two able hotel executives without the skills of dealing with real issues in their personal lives! They came to see me after 11 years in a relationship. I was able to connect them to their unconditional love in the very first session, and they then continued with long-term therapy. Less than a year later, they married and now have had their first child.
Yes, they are happy and communicating with peace and joy. They don’t have turkey for Thanksgiving any more (the content of one on-going argument), and they seldom argue or avoid talking with each other. The truth is on the table now, and sex is in the bedroom.
Ira and Nancy
Ira drank too much and had a job which required a lot of entertaining. He also got a little too friendly with the women at these marketing functions. Nancy was insecure and jealous. Ira’s mother let him do what he wanted as a teen, but she controlled as much of his life as she saw.
Ira was single for many years, kept Mom as his primary significant other, and never wanted to settle down until he met Nancy. But he could not make Nancy happy or stop the arguments.
She was Daddy’s girl and came from an Asian family where there were no bad behaviors seen or acknowledged. But Nancy knew she was much loved and was a good girl, expecting Ira to be like her father. Ira was far from it. The last thing he wanted to do was come to therapy and have another woman tell him what to do.
Once he stopped or cut back on the drinking, he was willing to cut back on the flirting. Nancy was willing to loosen the harness and let him do his job with proper behavior. Once Ira stood up to his mother and took control of his life from her, Nancy felt more loved. She saw changes and became more secure.
Although they felt love in the first three sessions, it wasn’t until after he stopped drinking and after the confrontation with his mother that they could connect in their unconditional love, about 4 months into therapy.
They saw how they were still living in their childhoods and came into their 40-something adults. They flew off to Europe and got married. Then they told their families and kids the news. They are in present time with their love: sober, with new expectations, without rebellion, and without perfection.
This is what Accelerated Couples Therapy is all about: teaching, leading and providing opportunity for mastery for the couple with proven guidelines for emotional connection, great friendship, governing their personal growth, managing differences and conflict, and developing shared goals and meaning for their future love and intimacy.
Your job is to affirm the person you have pledged your love to. Affirm their being, their positive behaviors and qualities, support them while they heal from the difficulties in their life, assist them in becoming a better person, all while you are becoming the best you can be. The Affirming Relationship™ helps you to affirm with understanding, compassion, empathy, pleasure, engagement, meaning, joy, and mostly LOVE.
I have a 96% success rate with couples who attend long-term couples therapy. And my two-day Marriage Happiness Retreats have a 92% percent success rate with couples reporting they are happily married after one year.
I recommend you learn the mastery of Accelerated Couples Therapy. Become a healthy, proficient, and successful partner in an affirming relationship!
Be a lover – become an unconditionally loving person and affirm their best self. And you will get it back tenfold, having the marriage of your dreams.
Or text me at 1-702-242-4222 for a free 15-minute consultation.
I look forward to helping you transform your marriage in 30 days or less with Accelerated Couples Therapy.