If you come to Heart Strength Coaching for marriage counseling, what might you expect?
After a few “housekeeping tasks,” the first thing that happens is the coach asking a few simple questions and listening to you. “What brings you here?”
You will likely tell about who you are and what is going on presently. Each couple seems to have a way of telling their story between them that is uniquely them. The telling of that story usually includes what seems troubling, a bit of history from each individual’s growing up experience, and places in life where each individual excels.
At this point the first session may be close to the end. We may close with trying out a few thinking exercises and or planning together where to go from here.
How many sessions will we need?
Usually anticipating at least four sessions is to be expected. At the fourth to sixth session we evaluate together if we have reached a satisfactory stopping place or find it valuable to continue. For some couples one or two sessions gets them over the “stuck place” that brought them in for help. For others it is clear that theirs will take more time.
What kinds of things happen in those sessions?
Couples usually come because they want help. Many have been trying their best, and need a fresh perspective. Some want the other person to get a fresh perspective! You can’t really blame them. It never hurts to try!
As couples tell their story, they give a bit of their heart and tell about life as they experience it. Sometimes the two different perspectives hardly sound like they are both talking about the same relationship! Yet both are ever so genuine.
The coach’s job is not to serve as a referee or judge, but to help each individual understand their own thinking better. How we see life and interpret what others are doing may have lots to do with life that happened before that other person ever walked into the picture.
Sometimes we spend time exploring what is at the root of the hurt or pain, defining, “Just what is it that is bothersome?” Nicholas Carr reports(in Discover Magazine’s fall 2010 issue: The Brain) that our brains work on problems even when we are not focusing on that particular thing, but it will only work on problem solving something that has been clearly defined. So we look more closely not to intensify the pain, but to clarify the problem which then can lead to solutions.
Clarifying the problem seems to have another function. Many times it is not until the disappointment is clearly defined, that lies become evident.
What kinds of lies might a person discover in their thinking process?
Lies might include things like actively fulfilling a role that is not necessary to maintain any longer. Some people find they have been protecting themselves from a danger that no longer exists.
A careful look can reveal that one or more acts in a role more like Mom or Dad. While this is a valuable role in the proper setting, their partner signed up for romance. Intimacy can be dampened sorely when the other person seems more like a child or a parent.
Sometimes we find skills in active operation that were essential survival skills as a child, but wreak havoc as an adult in an intimate relationship. It can be that a person was in a weak position as a child in dealing with a parent or sibling, and never has seen the strength and skills they execute skillfully now that they have grown up.
Can I get “Christian Counseling” here?
If those who come to Heart Strength Coaching want to also include a Christian perspective in the process, this can be very helpful, enlightening, freeing, and comforting. This is our favorite approach, but included only when the clients are seeking this dimension.
Our thinking has a huge impact on how we go about problem solving.
Each of these approaches (and more not covered) are aimed at generating new ways to light up more brain cells! More brain activity allows for greater creativity and new learning. Successful relating takes constant new learning and curiosity.
Almost everyone uses excellent thinking in several areas of their life.
The goal is to identify how we do that good thinking, how to put it in place quickly, and how to expand it to more and more areas of life including relating to the people closest to us in our day to day life.