Aug 24, 2020
In this episode, Dana McNeil and Nancy Ryan speak about how to be a successful couple's therapist. A couple's therapist needs to be compassionate and connect with the pair. Plus, a couple's therapist has to control the room and not be afraid to make mistakes. If you're looking for a private practice niche, couple's therapy can be an excellent tool for your practice. However, if you find out that couple's therapy is not your specialty, please refer to another therapist. Tune in for more tips about couple's work!
Dana McNeil is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is the founder of a group practice called The Relationship Place located in San Diego, California. Dana’s practice specializes in couples’ therapy and utilizes an evidence-based type of couples’ therapy which is known as the Gottman Method. Dana is a certified Gottman Method therapist and Bringing Home Baby instructor. Dana’s practice works with all types of relationship issues from pre-marital counseling, dealing with the aftermath of extramarital affairs, partners working through addiction recovery, the military deployed families, parents of special needs children, LGBTQ, and polyamorous clients.
Dana has been featured on many relationship podcasts and in publications such as the Business Insider, Authority Magazine, Eat This-Not That, Parade, Oprah Living, Martha Stewart Living, Ladders, AARP and is the resident relationship expert on the Cox Communications show “I Do”.
Nancy Ryan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is the founder of a group practice called The Relationship Therapy Center in Roseville and Fair Oaks, California. Nancy's practice specializes in couples therapy and she is a Certified Gottman Therapist. Nancy's practice works with all types of relationship issues from pre-marital counseling, all types of couples, divorce, and uncoupling, affair recovery, sexual issues, and codependency. Nancy has been featured in the media and in publications such as the Psych Central, Bustle, Elephant Journal, Marriage.com, KFBK News Radio, Fox 40 Sacramento, and Cox Media "Main Street Living".
Do you want to talk about money while you're in the session? It is better to have someone else talk about business aspects with your clients. That way, the therapists do not need to ask their clients for the money. When you go to medical practice, the doctor doesn't ask you for the money; there is a separate person. Having a buffer is enormous.
You have to be the presence that carries hope and the demeanor. Internally, therapists could be thinking that it's a mess. However, it should never come out in the room. Both partners need to be able to feel like you're on their side. There is a way for you to get the couple to talk to one another. It would help if you were a therapist for the relationship, not for each individual. When one person is talking and sharing, look at the other partner's face, and see how they react.
If someone is aggressive, there needs to be a pause, so you remain in control of the room. When someone is aggressive, then they are not tuned in to the other person's body language. As a therapist, you need to show them what is happening with their partner. A therapist needs to be brave enough to call out emotions. It's a talent that you have to learn because sometimes you get it wrong. It would help if you were comfortable with correcting yourself and making mistakes. There's a dance that happens when you're a perfect couple's therapist.
Couples aren't in therapy because they can't figure things out. Couples are in therapy because no one teaches them about the couple's communication. Couples should be in therapy because they need to learn the tools. A therapist should also relate to their clients – we all have struggles. A therapist can talk about conflict at their house. That way, the couple will start to feel safe.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast wherever you listen to it. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn, and Pinterest, “Like” us on Facebook.