I have a married couple who are in the process of deciding if they want to work to keep their marriage going or if they want to get a divorce. Trust in this couple is poor, both have accused each other of cheating, and neither can trust the other around members of the opposite sex. I began working with this couple about 3 weeks ago and believe they should remain married but change the way their marriage is working.
I had been doing creative counseling with this couple and they are finding out more and more about each other and realizations of how they contributed to the conflicts in the marriage. At one point I had them create a castle out of a bunch of stuff including plastic forks and knives, paper plates, paper clips, pieces of paper, etc.... stuff from around the office. The processing of the way they made the castle was revealing that the wife took control, minimal communication except the husband said to his wife "you are controlling". When we talked about this, she said she doesn't feel controlling she just believes if she doesn't do it won't get done. The husband agreed to this and said he never thought of it that way. We talked about how they took a bunch of non-related stuff and put it together to make something nice, just like they can do in re-building their marriage again.
They participated in a 60 questions game of questions about each other and their marriage and it was very enlightening not only to the clients but also to me. The way they made progress and built powerfully positive feelings towards each other was such a positive use of counseling time. The husband though is more anxious to get back together and the wife is being more cautious... this is only their 3rd counseling session.
I am confident in this couple and the great work they are doing to help save their marriage. I have other married couples contemplating divorce and through this couple I realize how much effort it takes from both parties. I would like for each and every counselor who works with couples to be confident in the process of creativity in counseling. There are several activities that can help the couples with the process and is very insightful and less threatening than just sitting and talking.
If anyone is interested in activities for couples please feel free to contact me through the ACA weblog.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder