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When Couples Seek Therapy


At least 50% of Anne Milligan's clients in private practice are couples who seek counseling. They come with a wide range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to immediate problem-solving for relatively simple marriage problems, all the way to recovery from infidelity and marital affairs to divorce mediation and all parts in between. Although they may not realize it, one of the primary needs that couples first bring to counseling is that of clarifying each individual's unique thoughts about the nature of the problem itself. It is often surprising to find, with processing, that the two have very different ideas about the problem. The first step toward solving the problem is to find some agreement on what the problem actually is. Setting priorities for problem-solving, (i.e., what to focus on and what to set aside), is essential in the beginning. Most couples, by the time they reach the counseling office, have spent months, weeks or even years arguing with no resolution, building up resentments, harboring all kinds of notions about the others' thinking and motives that may or may not be accurate at all. Counseling is an excellent way to create new ways to break out of ruts and learn new ways of communicating and sorting out details of a couple's life together.



BRINGING IT ALL HOME:
ATTACHMENT, BONDING, AND CLOSE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

BY, ANNE MILLIGAN, LCSW


Our deepest personal relationships bring up the most intense emotions and create some of the most seemingly uncontrollable behaviors and reactions in ordinary people. Just look at the news, any day of the week, and you'll see a host of different people who've done some pretty amazing things under the influence of rage and jealousy. Maybe you, or somebody you know, has experienced a reaction likethat lately? I'd like to introduce you to a step-by-step process you can use to understand rage and jealousy in relationships, what is actually going on in our minds and bodies when we have reactions like that, and how to gain control of reactive behaviors. I'm not sure if you've notice this or not, but our strongest attempts to try to MAKE somebody we care about ACT THE WAY WE WANT THEM TO TOWARDS US almost never works. All that work and all that time and energy just thrown away, because what usually happensis that the other person really becomes even more distant and we end up with even LESS of what we really want, which is to be loved. So how do you go about saving your energy for what will really work for you? This is one of the first things that often comes up when I see client couples in therapy. The first thing we have to do is to help people understand how the right kind of stress management helps them settle the reactive part of the brain that so often gets us into trouble with mean words, insults, and threats. Then we have to understand how important it is to embark upon a journey of self-care and self-love rather than forcing someone else into the role of saving our wounded inner child. That is undoubtedly one of the most difficult transitions for a lot of people to make, to move out of the intent to use therapy to change someone else. Believe me when I tell you, after having seen thousands of clients in therapy, that will not work and will not bring you what you want. COUPLES CAN LEARN TO BE IN RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE LOVING, SAFE AND NURTURING. I know that deep down inside that is what they really want, or they would not be coming to therapy at all. Don't be afraid to venture into therapy. It will be well worth it for you. YOU ARE WORTH IT!! TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ANNE MILLIGAN CALL 1-502-423-0220 IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY



A NOTE ABOUT BLAME AND SHAME IN COUPLES COUNSELING

If true change in a relationship is to take place, and endure over time, the age-old habit of assigning blame and shame outwardly is just going to have to be un-learned.

The only side of a street we can clean up is our own.


Relationship counseling is a courageous step that a couple takes because it often unmasks all of our own vulnerability - our self-esteem; our need for love, nurturance, attention, and belonging; our fears of abandonment and rejection; our fears of inadequacy in relationship to others.
To the extent that we are afraid to face these things in ourselves, we will resort most often to blame and shame.

Remember this absolute certainty:
What you bring into the counseling office in terms of your true desire for change is what will determine the outcome more than any other factor. Both people in the relationship might spend a little time separately thinking about the following questions prior to your counseling appointment:

1.
What do you feel is the most significant problem right now in your relationship with your partner? How do you FEEL about the problem? Are you most angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, etc.?

2.
What is your own part in the problem? How do you FEEL about that?

3.
And what part might you have in creating a solution to the problem?

4.
What specific results do you want to see come out of marrage/couples counseling? Are the results you are looking for more involved in changing the other person or changing yourself?

Many couples who decide to go to counseling say that it has changed their relationship in very dramatic ways and has helped them break out of ruts that they've felt stuck in for a very long time.

To set up an appointment with Anne Milligan, call 423-0220 in Louisville, Kentucky.







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