THE MARRIAGE HEALING CENTER COUNSELORS
Carole Thomas, MSW (Alexandria Office, Online Therapy)
I am dedicated to supporting couples on their path to relationship healing and strengthening. Because I believe that therapeutic rapport and alliance are paramount to therapeutic success, my goal in therapy is to hold a compassionate, safe, and non-judgmental space where clients feel seen, heard, and understood.
When working with couples, I emphasize that the relationship is my “client” and strive to create a non-partial, cooperative environment to honor the “space between them” by helping each assume responsibility for its sacredness. I appreciate the Gottman 3-prong approach to couples’ work: solidifying the friendship and positive regard so there is a solid foundation for healthy interactions, introducing effective conflict resolution techniques, and providing hope in the relationship by building life dreams, purpose, and shared meaning. By helping clients recognize that “the past is always present” and that there are two “subjective realities” (both equally true) in play, couples are able to reach a greater and more empathetic understanding of where the other person is coming from and how to incorporate that understanding into compromises that better meet the needs of both partners. I try to help couples shift their perspectives of conflicts from a “win/lose” proposition to a strengthening, “win/win” opportunity to use productive communication techniques while learning more about each other’s inner world and finding solutions to issues.
In couples’ work, I often incorporate different short quizzes, assessments, and exercises to help clients understand their values, strengths, and tendencies to gain greater awareness of themselves and how those come into play in their relationships. It’s very rewarding to help my clients reach their own insights and feel empowered to take accountabiliy of positive change and healing in the “space between us.”