28 Years of Clinical Experience
PhD Counseling Psychology
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Certified Addictions Professional
What is couples therapy?
It takes two people to create a healthy relationship. Relationships can be the most transformative journey throughout our lifetime. In couples therapy you will gain the tools to help you and your partner turn this journey into a positive one where you can learn about yourselves, increase your self-esteem, heal wounds through learning how to resolve conflicts, understand and listen to each other.
About couples therapy
In couples therapy Dr. Zebel will be your guide, as you learn to:
- Approach your relationship as a learning experience. All relationships teach us vital information about ourselves; do you find that you re-experience similar emotions within your relationships? We are attracted to people who we can learn the most about ourselves, sometimes the lesson is to let go, or to break through old worn out and self-defeating pattern. A healthy relationship is when both partners are interested in learning and expanding within the relationship so that it continues to grow and improve.
- Be responsible for your own happiness. Make yourself happy then share it with a partner. Accept yourself, respect yourself, take good care of yourself and continue to find new ways to make yourself happy today. If you are not happy before you are in a relationship, your relationship will not change that. Your partner cannot fulfill all your needs; it puts unfair pressure on another. Take control of yourself for yourself.
- Make and keep promises/agreements. Reach agreements and follow through, if your partner repeatedly makes excuses or gives you reasons why they failed to keep their promises, you should reconsider this relationship with professional help. Keeping promises builds trust and safety and shows respect for yourself and your partner.
- Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Stephen Covey said it well, “First strive to understand, then to be understood”. Allow for different points of view and communicate without blame, criticism or judgements. Listen with kindness, not to just hear, but to understand and implement, no one is right and no one is wrong. The saying goes, “would you rather be right or happy”??
- Tell your highest and best truth. Be truthful to yourself and your partner. Lies do not protect others feelings, lies disconnect you from your relationship even if your partner never finds out. Your feelings are always true, no one can deny, (they may try) your feelings, feelings are never right or wrong. EX: I feel sad when… I feel angry when…, I feel sad…etc…
- Keeping score is for games not relationships. Never remind your partner of all you have done for them. All the things you do for your partner should be because you want to do them with no expectations of any return. Tit for tat never works and is a very low level of handling your relationship.
- Identify your expectations for your partner. Be very clear about acceptable and unacceptable behaviors and attitudes. Everyone needs love, intimacy, affection and validation. Expecting your partner to fulfill all these needs is giving them responsibility for your happiness and is simply unfair, use your circle of friends for some of these needs. Your partner is not responsible to fill your deficits from childhood that was your parent’s job. If you are feeling deprived, empty, and lonely, work with a professional to sort out your part in the relationship.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is a process and a decision of letting go of the past and staying in the present. Forgiveness is not bringing up the past when talking about a current issue; it is about talking through your thoughts and feelings with your partner to learn from the experience, so as not to repeat it in the future. If you are repeating the same issues and conversations, you are either not forgiving or need to improve your conflict resolution skills together.
- Be Responsible. This does not mean blaming yourself or your partner. It means owning up to your part, apologizing if necessary, then reflecting back on your behaviors or attitudes, and discovering your emotional repetitions, so you can make permanent changes in your way or relating. It does not mean trying to change your partner or their personality.
- Spend time together sharing activities, enjoying your partner and trying new things together. When the challenging times come around you will need to look back and appreciate the good things about your partner and the fun and playful times you both shared.
Couples therapy treatment
Dr. Zebel utilizes psychodynamic couples therapy, conflict resolution skills and education to assist you in improving the quality of all your relationships. Together you will have the opportunity to explore what each partner brings consciously and unconsciously to the relationship. The result of treatment allows each partner to develop effective methods of understanding and resolve the unique challenges of their relationships.