Couples Psychologist and Counselor

Being in a partnership is both wonderful and growth producing. Unfortunately, couples can get stuck, and without assistance, they stay mired down in the same old patterns. They begin to feel that the only way out is to divorce. The rate of divorce in Arizona is the highest in the nation. Sixty-seven percent of couples divorce in the state compared to the 48% national average. Divorce is devastating for individuals, and families. It takes a toll on your self-esteem, your children, and your wallet. In many cases, couples can grow through their difficulties, and develop an even better relationship with each other.

Couples therapy provides hope, and concrete assistance. Using a research-based method of couples therapy Dr. Ferrick begins with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework and interventions to be used in your sessions. The initial assessment consists of a conjoint session, followed by individual interviews with each partner. Couples complete questionnaires and then receive detailed feedback on their relationship. The therapeutic framework is then determined by the couple and the therapist in which they determine the frequency and duration of the sessions.

The interventions are designed to help couples strengthen their relationships in three primary areas: friendship, conflict management, and the creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Interventions designed to increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. Relapse prevention is also addressed.

The research-based therapy teaches couples to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. Together with Dr. Ferrick, you will learn:

How well you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes?

The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship. (To strengthen fondness and admiration, express appreciation and respect.)

State your needs, be aware of bids for connection and respond to (turn towards) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of a relationship.

The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.

We say “manage” conflict rather than “resolve” conflict, because relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.

Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions and aspirations.

Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.

This is the state that occurs when a person knows that his or her partner acts and thinks to maximize that person’s best interests and benefits, not just the partner’s own interests and benefits. In other words, this means, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”

This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it). It implies cherishing your partner’s positive qualities and nurturing gratitude by comparing the partner favorably with real or imagined others, rather than trashing the partner by magnifying negative qualities, and nurturing resentment by comparing unfavorably with real or imagined others.

Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments
  • Poor communication
  • Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation
  • Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting

Even couples with “normal” levels of conflict may benefit from these research-based methods. Dr. Ferrick aims to help couples build stronger relationships overall and healthier ways to cope with issues as they arise in the future.
Please contact Dr. Ferrick to set up your assessment.

If your partner is unwilling to accompany you consider Individual Therapy, often if one person in the couple can make changes then the relationship dynamic can shift toward the better.

Principles of Great Relationships
Extraordinary Relationships
Synergistic Relationships: Are Superior
Role Awareness Improves Relationships
Intimacy in Relationships through Deeper Human Connectedness
Love like a Stallion
Character Matters to Relationship Quality