The purpose of this paper is to examine the efficacy of my work as a co-therapist during the fifth conjoint session with the simulated couple; Katy and Michelle. I will discuss our therapy agenda and the goals we hoped to attain during the session. It is prudent to begin by giving a brief outline of the couple’s presenting problem and the patterns of dysfunction that I have identified within their relationship. In my opinion, it is the therapist’s job to recognize patterns and behaviors that disrupt the intimate bond between the partners. It is also important to recognize that it is vital that therapists remain self-aware and avoid judgments based upon their own understanding. This session is my first opportunity to work with a same sex couple and to see therapy unfold over the span of the quarter.
I have based my approach on the data that was presented to me through intake forms and viewing prior sessions with the couple. To protect the couple from any negative counter-transference, I filtered my observations through the theories of Gottman’s Married Couple Therapy (2008), Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy (2008) (EFT), and David’s Integrated Model of Couple Therapy (2013a) (ICT). The bulk of this paper will then examine my therapeutic approach, the supporting theoretical concepts, and my strengths and weaknesses as a therapist during the session. The latter will include peer feedback, instructor feedback, and self-critique. This paper will conclude with a brief discussion of the future direction of therapy were I to remain their therapist.
Both Michelle and Katy came to therapy with complaints of an increasing frequency of arguments. These arguments began almost a year ago and, as time passed, have become more emotionally intense. Michelle reported that during these arguments she often cries. She complained that Katy leaves the room during the arguments and often sleeps on the couch. Katy stated that she becomes overwhelmed by Michelle’s emotional outbursts and withdraws so they can both calm down. Both reported that she had been sleeping on the couch most nights for almost a year. They have been married approximately eight months.
Most often, their arguments include Michelle’s perception that Katy is “never home”. She stated that Katy spends most of her time either at school or on schoolwork. Michelle complained that Katy’s absence from the relationship was not part of the agreement to support her education but also reported that she had agreed to financially support them while Katy completed her degree. Katy agreed that her studies took up a lot of time but that they had agreed on her return to school. Michelle complained that Katy spends all of her free time with a classmate and believes it is a romantic relationship. Katy stated that they are just friends and that Michelle’s idea was crazy.
The couple had a list of complaints about Michelle’s family but could not agree on a solution. Michelle’s...