Marriage and Couples Counseling
with Edie Stone, MA, LPC, in Boulder, Colorado.
Helping couples reconnect and deepen their relationships since 1997.
BoulderCouplesCounseling.com and EdieStone.com
What Happens in Couples Counseling?
Discover the first four steps on your path to strengthening your relationship and creating a positive future.
What needs to change in your relationship?
- Poor communication, lots of misunderstandings.
- Bickering or fighting. Hurtful words or actions.
- The same old conflicts, nothing changes.
- Too much drama.
- Increasing isolation.
- The fun is gone. Losing interest in each other.
- Decrease in sexual intimacy.
- Lack of emotional intimacy. Emotional wounds.
- Lack of trust, betrayal, infidelity.
- Losing hope for a better future.
Angry silence between this couple creates emotional distance. She is sad and anxious about their relationship. He is too, although he holds those feelings in. I am not as hopeless about their situation as they seem to be, because there is a lot of caring between them and they are willing to learn and change.
Couples counseling can help you:
- Develop communication skills.
- Resolve conflict respectfully.
- Improve self-control and manage anger.
- Heal old wounds.
- Develop deeper physical and emotional intimacy.
- Revive curiosity, love, and joy.
- Renew your commitment and co-create a new future together.
FAQ – What Happens in Couples or Marriage Counseling?
There are several main themes that we may focus on during a course of couples counseling.
Stage One includes learning 1) communication skills 2) conflict resolution and 3) self-regulation skills as needed. It also includes 4) powering up the positives in your interactions. These steps will give you a more secure platform to do the heart-to-heart, therapeutic work of healing old patterns and wounds from personal history or family dysfunction in Stage Two.
Together, you can develop a conscious, more heart-centered, more fulfilling relationship.
Conscious relationship can be a deeper path to personal and spiritual growth. It starts with taking the first step. Please call me at 303-415-3755 to schedule a free consultation.
1. Communication Skills.
Conversations are not contests.
Winning an argument over your partner is a loss for the relationship.
These statements may seem counter-intuitive, because most of us have been trained to compete in sports, business, or some forms of education. But in a relationship, a collaborative, win-win attitude is the goal, because a win-lose mindset creates pain and is a loss for the relationship.
FAQ: What are Conscious Communication Skills?
This way of sharing personal information is also called Active Listening, Active Speaking, Reflective Listening, Empathic Shared Meaning, Mirroring, or Non-Violent Communication.
These are similar terms that describe skillful use of conversation to deepen your understanding and move your relationship forward
Benefits of Conscious Communication.
Having a conscious conversation will give both of you an equal chance to express what is important to you. You get to feel heard and appreciated. In turn, you have the opportunity to really understand your partner’s concerns so that you can move forward to a mutual solution
Conscious Communication in Action
ACTIVE SPEAKING: For some people, speaking up for themselves can be scary. This is particularly true if you came from a family or former relationship where it wasn’t safe to express yourself. I will be there to support you emotionally, and help you find the words if you are stuck.
I will be coaching you in how to speak up for yourself using I-Statements and other tools. I will also teach you how to avoid conversation sabotage and catastrophes. For example, “I feel like you are being a jerk,” is not an effective I-Statement! It is a You-Statement in disguise. It will lead to a predictable defensive reaction in your partner, and you will both be back in the same old win-lose pattern.
I will help you fine-tune and pace your Active Speaking skills, so that your partner will have an easier time taking in your viewpoint. I will also encourage you to delve a little deeper into the feelings below your thoughts, and encourage your partner to listen to what your heart is saying.
Speaking up for yourself effectively is not easy for some people. But I will support and guide you, and encourage your partner to give you lots of appreciations!
ACTIVE LISTENING: For other people, the listener’s role is the harder part, because you are asked to refrain from going into a natural “Yes, but..” reaction. Instead, your job is to listen as clearly and as undefensively as possible.
Remember, as the listener, you also have the right to ask the speaker to slow down, repeat, or break their long statements into smaller chunks that are easier to remember and digest. I will model this new way of listening if it seems hard at first. I will coach you until you get it and start to reap the benefits of deeper listening.
Active Listening is not easy for some people. But I will support and guide you, and encourage your partner to give you lots of appreciations!
The actual skills in Active Speaking and Active Listening are not complicated. Most people can learn this in one session. The hard part is learning to slow down and use a conscious communication tool when either or both of you are getting upset. See skill #3 Anger management and self-regulation, below. link xxxx
Speaking one’s truth and listening with respect are both acts of love. MAKE THIS A MEME/IMAGE
There are three effective ways to learn Active Listening and other conscious communication skills:
- Private couples sessions link xxx
- Workshops link xxx
- Private relationship seminars link xxx
Please call me at 303-415-3755 to schedule a free consultation and discover how you can deepen your conversations.
2. Conflict Resolution Skills.
I think I have always been a helper and a mediator. I was the kid on the block who could see both my friends’ viewpoints when they were mad at each other. I would play with them on different days until they calmed down. Then we would all play at my house. ♥ It is a little harder with couples, of course. But if you still hold a basic sense of love and respect for each other, you can learn to play together again.
Often, just following some simple rules for a structured conversation can get you to a place of renewed respect and appreciation. I have instructions and handouts to make this type of conversation easier.
Tools such as a Couples Dialogue or Behavior Change Request help you to focus on what you really need, and let your partner understand how important it is for you. You can clear up misunderstandings and more easily negotiate a solution that benefits both of you.
In the beginning of our work together, if you have frequent, unproductive arguments, angry outbursts, or stoney silences, I will help you reset the tone of your conversations. But the goal will be for you to learn the skills to manage this yourselves. This will include practicing a Time-Out procedure, and learning other skills of self-regulation mentioned in the next section.
3. Finding Balance:
Self-Regulation, Stress Management, Anger Management, and Mindfulness.
Everyone can benefit from learning skills to come back into balance emotionally, mentally, physically. Self-regulation and self-care are gifts you give to yourself, regardless of what your partner is doing.
I will share tools to help you stay present in the moment, calm down, and breathe. I can teach Relaxation Skills and Stress Management Tools that you can use together or individually.
I will also share Mindfulness practices that you can use as a couple that help you retrain your brain to move from reactivity to responsiveness.
Some couples may wish to learn some simple physical exercises drawn from Energy Medicine that help to lower stress, increase stability, and open the heart.
If you get into arguments that escalate into hurtful words or angry outbursts, one of the first things we will work on is establishing an effective Time-Out, in order to avoid further damage to the relationship. Some couples may need to focus on Anger Management before they can move on to deeper couples work.
NOTE: If criticism, sarcasm, contempt, or stonewalling have become chronic patterns in your interactions, please don’t wait. The sooner you learn to stop these patterns, the better chance you have for your relationship to succeed. See my article, How to Rein in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Your Relationship. LINK xxxx
4. Powering up the Positives
4. Powering Up the Positives.
Creating more opportunities for positive, loving interactions is every bit as important as reeling in the negatives. Developing a daily habit of sharing gratitude and appreciation with each other is like making a deposit in the love bank.
Research actually shows that couples who express positive, connective communication (verbally and through body language) in a ratio of at least 5 positives to 1 negative are the couples whose relationships survive long-term. (John Gottman, xxxx) (it is also brain science ….)
Everyone has their own Love Language. It is possible to expand your Love Language to include new ways of expressing your connection and appreciation. Some people prefer tender words, others respond to tender touch. For some, flowers open their hearts. For others, an offer to clean the bathroom may sweep them off their feet. Some people like to be fussed over when they are feeling ill or sad. Others need more alone time before they can reconnect. The important point is to explore what your partner wants to receive, which sometimes is the opposite of what you tend to give from your own Love Language. (The concept of Love Languages is from xxxxx More in upcoming blog xxxx)
IMAGE OF HAPPY COUPLE <3
Take your next step to a successful relationship.
I offer a free consultation with you as a couple to help you decide on the next steps in strengthening your relationship.
I have afternoon and evening hours available. Please call me at 303-415-3755 and let me know the 2 or 3 best times that work for both of you, so that we can meet together soon.