In just a couple of days I’m going to be hosting the largest Solution Focused Brief Therapy training about using this approach with couples that has ever been done ever. I am so excited. It’s going to be so cool. So amazing. I’m just jumping up and down with excitement. But somebody sent me an email the other day that got me thinking about a topic and I wanted to share it with you in this video.
In the email they basically asked me, how do you know when it’s too late for the couple to make a difference in their relationship? And at what point do you tell the couple that they shouldn’t be together? I thought about this and I know a lot of people have had this question. So I thought I’d make this video so that you understand my stance on this topic.
And my stance is a very clear, very firm stance. And that is never, I never let myself think about whether or not the couples should be together or not. In 15 years of doing therapy. I have never once suggested to any couple ever that they should end their relationship because I view that as none of my business, what the couple does with their life and with their relationship is their business and their business alone. My job is to ask them questions that are likely to make a difference in their lives. That is it. Now I want to give you two examples of this. I’m going to tell you two different stories where the outcome was different, but I viewed the therapy as successful.
So in example number one, this couple came to me, they were actually sent to me through child protection. This couple had been divorced and they had been going at each other throughout their divorce. Co-parenting was a real struggle. And the court sent them to come see me to improve their co-parenting. So suppose you woke up tomorrow and you guys were parenting in a way that you wanted to, what would you notice? And they said, well, we’d respect each other and we’d be kind, and we’d be nicer. And all of the things that you would say, you don’t have time in this video to go into it.
But anyway, that’s basically it. We would be on the same page as we raised our son. Well, after about two weeks of therapy, the son wanted to go see a movie and they asked the son, which parent he wanted to go with. And the son said both. So both parents went with the son to go see a movie. And they described that as almost like a date. So they began to think about their relationship and then ultimately went on a date.
Six months later, decided to give their relationship another go. A year later, decided to get married. And that couple stayed married until the husband passed away. The mom contacted me years later, let me know that they stayed married until the husband’s passing. So even though improving the relationship was not the goal and improving the relationship was not what they came to therapy for. That was the outcome because my job is asking questions that lead towards change.
Now, in another example, clients come to me, this one couple came to me, and they had had serious serious issues in their relationship. And they came to me and they said, we want to see if we can figure out how to keep this relationship going. So suppose you woke up tomorrow and you were keeping this relationship going in a way that was right for you, what would you notice? And they describe what their relationship would look like as things kept going and in a few months later, the couple decided that they no longer wanted to be together.
And they went their separate ways and they both remarried. And they came to see me about three years later. They brought their teenage son to see me. And they came together, the wife with her new partner, the husband with his new partner. And they both said how ending their relationship was the best thing that ever done, because now they’ve gotten into these new relationships and they are better for them. And I consider that also successful therapy.
So in both of these scenarios, one in which I did my work and the couple ended up separating, another, I did my work and the couple that was separating ended up back together, I consider them both successful because my job is to just ask the next question and help the couple to achieve change. Like that’s my singular job.
And I think sometimes we, as couples therapists, we get muddled down and we get confused and, and we take on things that aren’t our responsibility. It’s not my job to save the relationship in the same way it’s not my job to end it. It’s simply my job to ask questions that help the couple be the best of themselves. And then what the couple does with their bestness the couple does, it’s up to them. So anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope this helped you. And I hope you’re going to attend our event because it’s going to be really, really amazing. But anyway, thanks for watching this video.
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