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  Marital Family Therapy

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We provide couples counseling and marital and family therapy to couples and families in distress.

Marital and family therapy involves working with couples and family members in intimate relationships to help facilitate and promote positive change and development. The focus is on patterrns of interaction--identifying positive resources and strengths in the family/couple system to change dysfunctional and self defeating behavior patterns. The emphasis is on meeting everyone's needs within reason, and the counseling/therapy process often involves negotiation so that everyone's needs can be met realistically without ignoring anyone's needs. Family therapy has been used effectively where families, and or individuals in those families experience or suffer from:

  • serious emotional or psychological disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma, psychosis, personality disorders, addictions, eating disorders, ADHD, etc.)

  • transitional crises in a family's life cycle (e.g., loss, bereavement, grief, divorce, serious injury, trauma, loss of work, affairs, separation and divorce, child and adolescent issues)

  • the need for support to help them make positive progress in individual counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatric medication therapy

As a clinical psychologist, I have been trained in a number of proven approaches. These include: conflict resolution, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, rational-emotive, reality therapy, multimodal, psychodynamic, object relations, systemic, strategic and Ericksonian approaches to marital and family therapy. After over 25 years in practice, I understand the importance of flexibility, and the necessity of drawing from a range of techniques from different schools of counseling and psychotherapy in order to address the often complex problems that couples and families in distress present.

As a behavioral and cognitive-behavioral psychologist, I understand that promoting the change of self defeating and dysfunctional behavior is a primary goal in both individual and marital and family therapy. As a hypnotherapist and psychodynamically trained therapist, I understand the important role of the Subconscious and the Unconscious in motivating and determining behaviors.

In many cases, behaviors can be changed through direct methods and educational interventions. In other cases, it is necessary to change underlying cognitions, attitudes and beliefs in order to promote behavior change. Each member of the family who is involved in a problem has their unique perspectives and beliefs that have to be addressed and subjected to reality testing. A key question is: Is this belief useful? Is it helping or hurting the situation? In still other cases, Clinical Hypnosis and clinical trance work can be used effectively and strategically with couples and members of a family system to promote positive change. When indicated, and with informed consent and permission, I might utilize hypnosis with everyone in the room to promote positive change, productive insight, and empower everyone involved.

Often, seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved and impasses circumvented when one member of a couple or family system changes their behavior. This is because when one person's behavior changes, the other people involved must change their behaviors and attitudes in order to accommodate and adapt to the first change. Change promotes change. First order change promotes second order change and so on.

Depending on the situational circumstances, I might point out to the involved participants interaction patterns that they might not have noticed, or I might suggest different ways of responding to other family members. These changes in ways of responding then trigger repercussions in the system, often leading to a more functional and satisfying state for all members of the family.

The number of sessions depends on the situation, but the average is 5-20 sessions. Often couples and family work need to be alternated with working individually with the involved persons.

Couples and marital therapy can improve quality of life, help relationships become more functional and satisfying, and help the involved parties make informed decisions that can benefit everyone in the system. After a course of successful treatment, conflicts can get resolved, hidden or unconscious motivations and agendas can be clarified, past experiences can be re-examined, worked through, reframed and resolved, unhealthy identifications can be changed, punishing interactions can be changed, and new hope can often be restored.

Bruce Eimer, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

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