Couples who come for Couples Therapy want to stay married, even after an affair or an emotional affair. They recognize the tension between their domestic responsibilities and the lure of the erotic life. They know affairs are not primarily about sex, but about the person feeling alive again, erotic, confident, outside of the realm of diapers, pick-ups and drop-offs. They know they don’t have to destroy a marriage, but to declare this marriage over and begin a second marriage to their same spouse.
People in couples therapy want to deal with issues of intimacy and trust, of communication, and money, connection and staying “vital” and “alive” in spite of the myriad of responsibilities they have as parents and often as “parents” of their parents — the “sandwich generation”. People in Couples Therapy know that their work is going to be longer than those who opt for couples mediation in which a discrete issue is dealt with or even for those in decision making mediation who need to make a discrete decision. People in couples therapy often chose to do some vital changing, even bringing about change in their own personalities or characters to be able to live harmoniously as a partner. Couples therapy is not for sissies, but for people who truly want to craft an alive life-time partnership.
Couples work has been the “Centerpiece” of Janet Miller Wiseman’s Private Practice, The Negotiation Collaborative. Whether the couples are married, partners, pre-married, in a decision-making mode, parents and their parents, parents and their children, Couples Therapy is designed to strengthen individual self-esteem, competence, taking responsibility and to strengthen the ability of pairs to stay separate as individuals, not merging together, or projecting their own weaknesses onto their partner, while joining with and caring for the other, communicating his and her desires and needs in a way that may be heard and deeply understood.
Janet Miller Wiseman LICSW, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, and Certified Family and Divorce Mediator was trained from 1969-1972 at the then Boston Family Institute as a Couples and Family Therapist and has been working with all manner of couples since that time. Janet began her work as a divorce, couples, and decision-making mediator in 1979.
Janet learned as a professional “neutral”, to equally hold and embrace both parties’ perspectives, values, interests, and desires. She is not incapacitated by the need to see everything through the lens of one individual. There are always two sides to every issue. While being “right” or “wrong” is necessary in scientific endeavor, Janet urges couples to talk about their own and the other’s perspectives being different, not one “right” and the other “wrong”.
Too much time is wasted in people’s search to place “blame” on the other partner, in essence pointing a child-like finger at the sibling, when Mom says “Who let the cat out?” — “She did!”. Janet encourages people to live in a “no fault/no blame universe”.
Each person makes his and her “contribution” to a relationship’s difficulties, or even its downfall, but no one person is to “blame”. In a relationship that seems to be becoming unglued, Janet encourages people to reach the highest level of mutual agreement or at least understanding as possible. There need be no “victims” and no “victimizers”. Childhood patterns of thinking in terms of blacks and whites, rights and wrongs, it’s a “catastrophe” if some one thing is out of order, are identified and traded for new, more rational and adult thinking.
Of course, the goal or goals with which the couple entered the therapy is the most important agenda, and when they have achieved their goals, the therapy naturally evolves to an ending. Ms. Miller Wiseman has been trained and provides training in brief, goal, and solution focused psychotherapy and decison-making mediation and mediation. Most clients’ intentions are not to continue treatment over a long course, but many clients do return for “tune ups” over the years and some do want to make core changes in the way they interact in their relationships and in their communities, taking a longer period of time.
Couples coming for marriage or relationship counseling have staying together as their goal, along with strengthening their relationship, deepening their connection and intimacy, building or rebuilding their trust and radically improving their communication.
Couples Therapy Lexington Ma. Janet Miller Wiseman Mediation and Counseling Services