“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” ~~~ Fred Rogers
Approaches to Therapy
Communication and conflict resolution are the most common issues brought the couples into therapy. I often share with the pair that, I am not on either one of your sides but your RELATIONSHIP’s side. I strive to engage with both partners but, more importantly, to help both partners to work together for the utmost benefit of their relationship.
Because of my extensive experiences working with adult survivors of childhood family trauma as well as combat veterans with combat trauma, I am specialized in working with couples when one or both partners experiencing mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
I am also experienced in working with couples working through the transitions of their family life cycle, e.g., pre-marital counseling, bringing the first child home, co-parenting issues as biological parents or stepparents, and empty nester.
As a bi-lingual therapist (English and Mandarin Chinese), I am also experienced in working with couples when both partners are from different cultural backgrounds to assist them in creating the shared meanings of their relationship.
Ideally, I would like to work with the individuals in the couple’s context. Let’s face it, at the end of the day, a therapist only sees the client for an hour a week, but your partner is with you majority of the time throughout the week. It is important for the partners to understand each other’s triggers, moods, and communication styles to become the healing agent for each other.
Couple Therapy Session
I provide standard weekly couple therapy sessions, weekend couple’s intensive therapy, and engaged couple’s premarital group.
Weekly Couple’s Therapy
The standard couple’s therapy session is 50 minutes on a weekly basis. Due to the insurance and financial considerations, most couples choose to have the couple’s therapy on a weekly basis. The advantage of the weekly couple therapy is to allow the couples to have time throughout the week to digest and to follow through the conversation from the couple therapy. The other advantage is that, if your insurance does cover the couple’s therapy, your cost is the copay, which is affordable for most of the couples.
You will need to check with your insurance to see if they cover for the couple’s therapy (CPT code 90847). However, please do remember this, from the insurance perspective, the insurance is to cover the treatment for the MEDICAL issues, and the couple’s conflict is NOT a medical issue. The conflict between the couple’s caused the stress in the individual’s mental health, such as depression, anxiety, etc. that requires you to come to therapy. Or, it could be the individual’s depression and anxiety that cause the couple’s issues. Either way, one of the partners in the couple’s relationship has the mental health diagnosis that requires the couple to come to therapy. That is the drawback of using the insurance to cover for the couple’s therapy.
Weekend Couple’s Intensive Therapy
Many couples who have had long-standing issues, they often choose the weekend couple’s intensive therapy. The advantage of the weekend couple’s intensive therapy is enough time to process the issues without having the problem lingering around throughout the week.
The standard 50 minutes per session is for individual therapy. However, in the couple’s therapy situation, we have three people, you, your partner, and your relationship, in the room. The standard 50 minutes per session often is not enough. It takes a while for the couple and the therapist to get to know each other and the individual and relationship history. As a result, the standard 50 minutes/session often results in frustration as the couples come to therapy without having enough time to resolve their issues.
Because the insurance will not reimburse the intensive couple’s therapy, the cost will be out of pocket. The financial burden is often the reason most of the couples shy away from the intensive couple’s retreat. In the meantime, many couples find the intensive therapy helpful in resolving the issues they have been struggling for a long time in a short period of time.
Many couples also find that weekend intensive therapy resolves the issues of trying to find time to come to therapy. Many couples are a double-income family with children. Fiding a time in joint outside work and having a babysitter to watch children every week can be difficult, and often the reasons why couples do not follow up with the couple therapy. Weekend intensive treatment is useful in resolving this issue.
Congratulations on your engagement. Preparing the wedding is a stressful but happy process. A wedding is one day and the highlight of your relationship. It is also the beginning of the rest of your life together.
The premarital couple’s group is designed to help the couples understand and prepare the tasks for the rest of their lives together. The group is for the couples who are engaged to be married and often run from May to October, the wedding season. The group is usually a weekend with six couples and 12 hours. The topics discussed in the group are communication style, conflict resolution, finances, household responsibilities, and time management.