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Philosophy: Why Couples Therapy or Family Counseling


We are all part of many complex relationships and relationship systems, for example families, couples, friendships, work groups, and communities. Within these systems our choices, behaviors, beliefs, moods, etc. influence the other individuals and in turn we are impacted by everyone else within our relationship systems. This means that when you, as an individual within a system, go to counseling to heal or to learn to behave or experience your life differently, the relationship system must resist or adapt. Despite what the system says it wants, there is often unconscious resistance to your progress – it’s human nature for human systems to resist change.

When, despite all resistance, you are successful at growing and changing, something else may “go wrong” in the relationship system to compensate. This is why I encourage clients, when possible, to do their counseling work with their partner or with their family members. Another benefit of working this way is that it can help set straight the notion that one family member or partner is or has “the problem”. All of us have roles in our communities, in our family, and with our partners and friends, and so we share responsibility for the health of those relationships: There is healing work for all of us to do that is often best done together.

If doing your work within the framework of individual counseling is a better option for you, check out my Philosophy of Individual Counseling section.