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Couples Therapy

Dr. Chantal Gagnon provides couples therapy aimed at improving communication and understanding in relationships. Often, our relationships don’t work well because we don’t understand how our partners think, we feel confused by their behaviors, and how we communicate with one another doesn’t seem to be effective. Drawing from the methods of marriage counseling, individual psychotherapy, and life coaching, Dr. Chantal uses a variety of techniques and interventions to help couples change their dynamic and improve their relationships.

Image of happy couple after participating in couples therapy

Couples Therapy is a great way to improve relationships!

What to Expect in Couples Therapy

For the first session, couples attend together and in a relaxed, casual atmosphere we talk about what you see as some of the main problem areas in your relationship. Together, we also identify your goals for your relationship. Then, I begin to formulate a plan that I think will give you the best results in your particular circumstance. This usually involves a combination of meeting together (couples sessions) and meeting individually (individual sessions). I also typically give suggested short assignments in between sessions to help you learn and practice new ways of relating to each other. Couples therapy is useful in addressing a variety of relationship problems, such as communication difficulties, learning to resolve arguments in helpful ways, jealousy and anger, infidelity and trust, improving closeness and intimacy, learning forgiveness, improving relationships with in-laws, and developing a common vision for your future together. Couples therapy can also be useful for couples dealing with mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, adult attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

How is Couples Therapy different from Marriage Counseling?

While marriage counseling and couples therapy are similar in many ways, in some ways they are different. First, the commitment level is not exactly the same. In a marriage, a promise has been made to stay together for life. In a relationship, even a “committed relationship”, sometimes the level of commitment is not the same for each partner, and therefore one of the reasons the relationship may not be working well is that each person has different expectations. Secondly, a serious relationship is one of the later phases of dating – it is the stage of dating that comes before getting engaged. This means that part of the purpose of this phase of the relationship is to help determine whether or not each partner shares a common vision for their future together.

Image of hands showing strong emotional connection in a couple

A connected couple is a happy couple!

Couples therapy and marriage counseling are similar in that I use many of the same counseling techniques used in marital therapy, which are designed to help you improve your understanding of one another, your communication, and the quality of your emotional connection.

Is going to a “Couples Retreat” the same as Couples Therapy?

No, a couples retreat is different than therapy. Couples retreats can be helpful to your relationship, but they are designed to give you an intense emotional experience in just a few days. Retreats are not always conducted by therapists and there is generally no follow-up care after the retreat. Retreats may be helpful to enhance a relationship that is already healthy, but they are not necessarily the best solution for relationship problems. For example, the retreat facilitators would likely not be able to recognize and treat mental health and personality issues that may be affecting your relationship, such as adult attention-deficit disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, substance abuse and addictions, and domestic violence.

Does Couples Counseling Work?

It is difficult to independently measure the effectiveness of couples counseling because most couples do not participate in counseling long enough to see good results. Often, when I interview couples and ask about their previous experiences with relationship counseling, I generally get an answer along the lines of “We went a few times and it didn’t work so we stopped going”. In my experience, couples who participate in at least 12 to 16 sessions see a significant improvement in their relationship satisfaction and their communication.

Relationship Counseling in Plantation Florida

I offer in-person couples therapy in my Plantation, Florida office conveniently located in midtown Plantation near Westside Regional Hospital, Westfield Broward Mall, and the West Broward Regional Courthouse. My office is about 15 minutes away from Weston, Sunrise, Cooper City, Davie, Tamarac, and Fort Lauderdale.

Relationship Coaching Services Nationwide via Skype, Phone, or Google Hangouts

For clients who live outside of South Florida and Broward County, I offer relationship coaching via skype, phone, or google hangouts. Please contact me directly to learn more about this service.

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