There are many reasons why couples seek out counseling.

Some couples are looking for help with day-to-day gridlock. They’re frustrated with the perpetual disagreements they seem to return to again and again. These may include differences over parenting, finances, plans for the future, or other difficult issues. For others it may be deep hurts left over from past events that they just can’t get past. Still others find themselves at a crossroads, confronted with more intense fighting, an affair, separation, or even the threat of divorce.

Common Issues

  • Chronic disagreements 
  • Intense arguing
  • Differences over parenting
  • Tension over finances
  • Infidelity
  • Diminished sexual intimacy
  • Emotional distance
  • Abusive behaviors

It’s never an easy decision to seek the help of a professional. It’s often difficult to know if or when to bring in an outsider’s perspective. Whatever state you find your relationship in, from moderately contentious to all-out-war, there’s a good chance that couples therapy can offer some valuable tools. The earlier you access those tools the more likely you can use them to prevent further problems.

Our couples counseling is rooted in the work of Dr. John Gottman, who has conducted over 40 years of solid research into what makes relationships last. The evidence-based tools that come from Gottman’s work include several essential skills that you can use to break out of old patterns and develop new habits that are predictive of relationship success.

With these tools and the guidance of a trained therapist, you can gain insights into your relationship, learn new ways of interacting with each other, and begin rebuilding a loving bond.

Common Skills Learned in Couples Counseling

  • How to stand up for yourself without leaving your partner feeling pushed down
  • How to respond more effectively when your partner is not treating you well
  • The habits that successful couples use in times of disagreement
  • How to have healing, stress-reducing conversations about past hurts and present stresses
  • How to successfully repair damage both during and after an argument
  • How to divorce-proof your marriage

 

As you gain experience using these tools outside of therapy sessions you will be able to work through betrayals, repair old hurts, manage conflicts in ways that strengthen your relationship instead of damaging it, and build shared dreams for the future.

Regardless of how far off track things have gotten in your relationship, the sooner you get help the better. Our therapists have extensive experience working with couples who are going through a wide variety of problems, and generating solutions that will make a difference. Call us today.

Common Outcomes

  • Improved communication
  • Deeper emotional connections
  • Better conflict management
  • More productive arguments
  • Increased admiration and affection
  • Enhanced intimacy and closeness
  • Increased trust

Andy Young, LCPC, CADC, CPAIP
New Prairie Counseling Center

Those wrestling with addiction

Struggling Teens

Frustrated Parents

Families Affected by Substance Abuse

Infidelity is one of the most devastating things that can happen to a marriage.

An affair shatters trust and dismantles the most basic security we expect in a committed relationship. The fallout from spousal betrayal can be even worse than seemingly greater traumatic events such as a criminal assault by a stranger. After all, the safety of one's most intimate relationship is the last place we expect to be harmed in such an unthinkable, confounding way.

"He already took away my dignity. That's gone. If I walk away, I'm also losing my best friend."

An affair does not necessarily mean the end of a marriage. Some who have been betrayed simply know they can't continue with the relationship, while others feel that ending their marriage would only compound this already overwhelming loss. As one woman recounted to me, "He already took away my dignity. That's gone. If I walk away from him, I'm also losing my best friend of twenty years."

For most, this decision remains very unclear, and what happens in the days, weeks, and months after the affair will help determine the viability of the marriage. In any case, decision making after an affair should happen slowly with time to first establish safety and consider priorities.

Common Steps to Healing

  • Establishing safety
  • Setting non-negotiable rules to help navigate the recovery process
  • Allowing for an honest accounting of grievances
  • Making sense of the affair in the context of your relationship


Whether you stay with your partner or end the marriage, recovery is possible. While your recovery path must be your own and must incorporate those elements unique to your situation, there are several common, well-established steps that most people find essential to healing.

Establishing safety, honesty, and a few rules to guide early recovery can go a long way toward setting the stage and making a difference in whether or not the relationship heals.

 

There are also several common tasks that are specific to each partner. For the betrayed partner these begin with developing skills to cope with distressing emotions in the wake of the affair. These skills have a well established track record of helping to manage emotions, thoughts, and flashbacks and working with a therapist to hone them can help to avoid derailing the recovery process.

Common Tasks for Betrayed Partner

  • Maintaining your own emotional and physical self-care
  • Learning ways to manage overwhelming emotions, obsessive thoughts, and intrusive flashbacks
  • Giving yourself permission to ask every question you feel you need to have answered
  • Identifying your responsibility, however small, in the loneliness or isolation that may have led to the affair
  • Avoiding pitfalls such as destructive outbursts or overcritical interpretations

 

For the person who committed the affair, there is also a set of common tasks that greatly determines whether healing will occur. This is often where the hard work of recovery begins. It is essential that these tasks are accomplished in such a way that the betrayed person feels confident their partner is sincere and diligent in trying to rebuild trust.

This is also where having a trained, professional therapist involved can greatly help keep things moving in a positive direction. Emotions are more likely to run high while confronting the issues and details surrounding the affair and, without structure and guidance, there is greater potential for inadvertently reopening wounds.

Perhaps the worst thing a couple can do after the disclosure of an affair is do nothing. For some, this may be tempting. But sweeping things under the rug is seldom, if ever, helpful.

However, working with a strengths-based therapist will help to provide a safe structure within which you can confront the reality of the affair and the problems related to it, while not losing sight of the equally real assets that exist in your relationship. Those positive resources within your relationship, long overshadowed by the presence of infidelity, are likely still there and can often be leveraged toward returning the relationship to an even stronger place than before the affair. 

Tasks for Offending Partner

  • Sever contact with the third party
  • Be completely honest with your partner
  • Face and take responsibility for the pain your actions caused
  • Answer all questions asked
  • Prove that you hear and understand your partner at the deepest level
  • Take actions to demonstrate you will not betray again in the future
  • Vigilantly protect your partner's emotions and avoid causing more pain
  • Show care for your partner by meeting important emotional needs
  • Practicing patience while your partner slowly heals

Don't wait and hope things will somehow get better. Take control of your own healing. Our therapists have extensive experience working with couples in this very situation. We would be glad to help you navigate the difficult terrain of recovering from infidelity. Call us today.

Andy Young, LCPC, CADC, CPAIP
New Prairie Counseling Center