In order to have a comprehensive picture of relationship difficulties, the initial joint appointment is followed with separate appointments with each of the partners. The aim is to eventually share all the information that was discussed in individual appointments during joint sessions. Individual appointments are necessary as persons experiencing conflict tend to express their needs and observations in a way that is hurtful and potentially damaging to the relationship they are trying to maintain.
Couples whose goal is to preserve their relationship are guided through exploration of ideas that each partner may have about a “good relationship”, practice of communication skills and reintroduction of activities that are indicative of mutual commitment and affection. Sometimes new relationship rules and expectations are developed.
Couples who decide to separate are assisted with making the process less damaging. This is an important consideration when a separated couple shares parenting responsibilities or is likely to see each other in professional or social settings. However, please note that I am not qualified to provide divorce mediation or to make parenting assessments and recommendations.
Sometimes couple therapy is sought by persons who are not sure whether they want to stay in the relationship. This represents a unique dilemma as expressing ambivalence about relationship is often experienced as rejection.
In those cases it may be more beneficial to opt for individual psychotherapy instead.