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Are you a couple or family therapist? How can a therapist and the clients work together to strengthen the marriage? What are the important red flags that you need to notice in clients during therapy?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about Gottman Level 3 couples therapy on infidelity with Anne Burkart.
Podcast Sponsor: Blueprint
Providing great therapy day after day can be challenging – even for the best of us!
At Blueprint, they believe that nothing should get in the way of you doing your best work, which is why they created a platform that provides therapists with an array of clinical tools – things like therapy worksheets, intervention ideas, and digital assessments – that are designed to help you and your clients can stay connected and confident throughout the care journey. Even better, Blueprint helps streamline your documentation so that you can spend less time on your notes and more time on the things that matter.
To learn more and request a free 30-day trial, visit blueprint-health.com
Meet Anne Burkart
Anne is a Marriage & Family therapist in Charlotte, NC. She specializes in working with couples, healing and strengthening their relationship, adult individuals strengthening the relationship with themselves, and leading groups and workshops on self-esteem and communication. Anne believes that healing the relationship with ourselves allows us to heal and more fully experience or relationships with others.
Visit Embrace Relationship Counseling and email Anne at [email protected]
In This Podcast
- Implementing the Gottman method for infidelity and trauma
- Important red flags to notice
- Using Gottman training in everyday life
- How to strengthen and maintain a marriage
- Allow for silence
- Anne’s advice to private practitioners
Implementing the Gottman method for infidelity and trauma
What was going on within the marriage before those moments occurred? … What was happening? What [is] each person bringing into the relationship?Anne Burkart
The first step that Anne takes in therapy when treating a couple that’s recovering from issues with infidelity is to go back to before the events happened to unravel the story. What are each person’s little or big traumas?
Are they bringing some past into their marriage? Which parts of their past did they bring into the marriage, and could they possibly be triggering these situations or feelings?
We peel back to that a little bit and get to some vulnerability and understanding of who we are as a person and how that’s affected us, sometimes down to our core.Anne Burkart
A part of this therapeutic approach is to help the partners get to a place where they can see each other in a new light, accepting what was, and what is, and then finding a way to decide from there.
Important red flags to notice
One of the biggest red flags that Anne notices in her therapy with some couples that might be too far gone after an event of infidelity is complete rigidity, and a refusal to change, where one person only sees one solution or one option.
That to me is, very often, the person’s trauma speaking and that indicates to me [that] while one person may have hope and is saying, “I’m willing to be here”, being there to only present that rigid stance … indicates to me that [it might be] counter-productive to begin couples therapy at that point.Anne Burkart
There may need to be a lot of individual work and healing that needs to occur first for that rigid partner before both people can be present and vulnerable in the room together at the same time.
Using Gottman training in everyday life
Being a therapist, I find that I listen to conversations differently than I did before. As a couples therapist, I feel that I am much more in tune with watching dynamics between people.Anne Burkart
Being a therapist, as well as having Gottman training, allows Anne to see and understand more subtle meanings and moments in daily life.
Additionally, she can lean into uncomfortable feelings – both her own and those of other people around her – without abandoning herself.
This skill can be used not only with clients but also with friends and family, making daily life with loved ones rich and intimate.
How to strengthen and maintain a marriage
Often couples will come to therapy to improve their communication. However, the underlying meaning to this is that one person – or both of them – wants their voice to be heard by the other.
That’s what we work on; how to speak in a way that our message is heard.Anne Burkart
Sometimes people trip themselves up when they want to deliver a message, and so communication as a skill is not only about talking to someone else but about learning how to clarify and express yourself better.
Allow for silence
As the therapist, you are protecting and directing, and holding the environment wherein your clients can navigate their emotions and words. Sometimes there might be silence, and you should allow it.
You do not need to “say the right thing” or give some wise words every time there is a lull in the conversation because that silence can be an invitation for a client to keep going, perhaps to a place where they have not gone before without interruption.
We feel like we have to have these nuggets of wisdom or prove our worth [but] really that makes it about the therapist rather than [saying], “Let’s just take our time here and sit with what you just told me”.Joe Sanok
Anne’s advice to private practitioners
Be true to yourself! Following what feels right for you will guide you to powerful connections and success in your life, so stick to it! The opportunities will come when you are being your authentic self.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
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- To learn more about Blueprint and to request a free 30-day trial, visit blueprint-health.com
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Visit Embrace Relationship Counseling and email Anne at [email protected]
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- Check out practiceofthepractice.com/invite to join Next Level Practice
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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