The Power of Positive Intention in Couples Therapy
Improvement of the marital relationship involves attention, by the couple, to attitudes, behaviors, and feelings. Of the three, feeling is the dominant catalyst for change in attitude and behavior. I look for a history of resentments, breaches of trust and hidden disappointments. The salient pattern that emerges is often circular. One member of the couple blames the other. The circle continues with each member suffering the pain of unappreciative partner coupled with an unwilling partner to to take responsibility for the difficulty.
My responsibility as a therapist is is to develop the premise within the couple that each partner holds a positive intention toward the other. The initial work is to make this premise durable and predictable. Consider the usefulness of this. When positive intention is assumed, then displeasing behaviors, when they occur do not, automatically escalate into a personal attack. The suspicion by one member of the couple that the displeasing behavior is a deliberate effort to hurt is rejected. The creation of the premise i.e. positive intention toward the other, requires good faith and good will within the couples session and within the assigned homework exercises. This is developed by recollections of past positive contribution to the marriage and past demonstrations of good intentions. When the certainty of positive intention is firmly in place the level of trust for the couple increases and the chance for miscommunication decreases.
Edward L. Oriole L.C.P.C. C.A.D.C. N.C.C.
Staff At The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center
1930 Thoreau Dr
Schaumburg IL tel 847 253 9769