COUNSELING FOR COUPLES


Relationships, particularly intimate ones, have the potential for offering each person tremendous growth. These relationships can be the most fulfilling and the most challenging of human experiences. Since almost all of us have come from dysfunctional families, we need additional education and new role models in order to become successful partners.


Successful communication is the foundation for intimacy and is rooted in listening. Most couples need assistance developing skill in listening to each other without filters or conditioned responses. Kathryn often coaches couples in the art of listening with empathy and a desire to bridge emotional gaps. These good listening practices open the way for win-win conflict resolution, another important aspect of partnership work.


Frequently, couples will be drawn to one another for things they feel they lack or wish to develop in themselves. As the relationship progresses, sometimes the qualities that were attractive become irritants. In this scenario, these differences often present opportunities for both partners to appreciate and move toward each other’s position. For example, one person may like to save and the other to spend. There are good things about both positions and some of each is the best course of action. Letting go of judgment about the other’s position, and instead seeing the gift that is being offered, becomes the basis for compromise.


Sometimes one or both partners in the couple have had significant abuse in their history and need assistance unloading some of that baggage. Under these circumstances, it is appropriate for one or both partners to do work in individual therapy to address these wounds. It is important for couples to understand how one’s behavior in the current relationship can trigger past hurts. Kathryn shows the couple how to respond in a more supportive way when this happens.


Kathryn’s work with couples is tailored to their specific issues and desired outcomes. Kathryn plays an active role in each session, being an advocate for each partner and the relationship. She also provides exercises, or readings, or video assignments to work on at home.


As with individual therapy, it is crucial that both parties feel comfortable with their counselor. Kathryn offers a free initial consultation to discuss your goals and how she would tailor her approach to your specific journey. Please call or e-mail with your inquiries: 360-738-6884 or kfentress@earthlink.net.