With Experience Comes Professional Confidence
I’ve been working with a couple lately that I’m really enjoying. They’re a young attractive couple with two young children and when they first came for therapy it seemed that there was very little hope for their marriage. Of course it’s never enjoyable to see people in pain or on the edge of divorce, but I think what I’m enjoying is feeling very competent and knowledgeable in working with them and designing interventions and homework assignments that so far seem to be working and receiving positive feedback from the clients.
As a student I remember asking a professor about how long post master’s degree it would be before I really felt like I knew what I was doing? She said about three years and that feels about right. What is reinforced in my work every day is while every individual, couple and family are different, people are generally longing for the same things… to be heard and understood, to be validated and valued, to have meaning and purpose in their lives, to feel special, wanted and safe.
Many people marry the person they believe understands and values them the most, but by the time they seek out couples therapy they are often disillusioned and lonely. In my experience with couples, the ones that fare best are the ones where each member of the couple is willing to own their role in creating their circumstances, is willing to risk being hurt in the positive pursuit of a more fulfilling relationship, and is willing to re-negotiate long held beliefs or expectations about how their relationship or their partner “should” be.
Very often couples therapy gets a bad rap, but when an experienced clinician meets a willing couple and it works, it really works and few professional outcomes are more gratifying.