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Marriage Counseling Issues: Blame vs Responsibility

Couples often come for marriage and relationship counseling when something has become broken in the relationship (such as communication) and/or /there has been at least one major stressor-it could be an affair, a financial issue with spending, child rearing disagreements, sexual issues, etc.
Usually one party feels "right" or sees him or herself as the "wronged one." In the first session, as each partner explains their side of the story, there is often quite a lot of finger pointing and blaming. I listen carefully to what each has to say, observe their body language, and look beneath the surface for what is left unsaid .I pay a lot of attention to what is right with their relationship as well as what appears wrong. I usually will meet with each partner separately to hear the whole, unedited version of their story from each person's perspective.
One of the key elements in therapy is to move beyond blame to responsibility. By that I mean to refocus the attention of each person from blaming someone else for their troubles back to their own behavior and how they can take responsibility for the problems in the relationship as well as responsibility for the healing of it.
This does not mean that the presenting problem is dismissed or minimized in any way. In fact, taking responsibility it is a key element in changing the unhealthy patterns and behaviors that led to the infidelity, excessive spending, etc. The person who had the affair or engaged in the excessive spending may be unwilling to take responsibility for their actions if their partner does not acknowledge theirs. In addition, it is always easier to identify and analyze what the other person is doing wrong as opposed to one's own behavior.So moving past blame towards responsibility means that both parties accept that they have made mistakes (however major or minor they may be), and focus upon what they can each do to move past the issues towards a happy and healthier relationship.
Please give me a call or send me an email to discuss how I may be of assistance to you in resolving your marital or relationship issues.

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