Relationship History

By Joann Ellis,2014-05-02 14:52
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Relationship HistoryRela

    Hope Marriage Project


    Couples Report

Couple: Trevor and Liz (this is not a real couple)

    Assessment made by: Joni L. Utley

    Date: 4/2/09

Relationship History

    Trevor and Liz met 2 years ago at an office party. At the time, they were both involved in other romantic relationships, but they began talking to each other as friends. Trevor describes Liz as being everything he wanted and fun to be with. He thought she was “too good to be true,” and

    they quickly decided they wanted to be with one another. The couple began dating and moved in together 4 months later. Liz says that problems began right away as she expected that they were in a “committed” relationship at this point, and Trevor continued “talking” to other girls. Trevor

    has since admitted that he compromised trust by doing this. Liz and Trevor weathered these difficult times and also enjoyed some good times together. They married 6 months ago. Then Liz became pregnant shortly after the couple married. One of the hurts expressed by Trevor during the intake was that in response to being hurt, Liz told him that the baby was not his but another man and that she had cheated on Trevor. Liz did not cheat, but she expressed that she often acts “vindictively” when she gets hurt. Lately times have been really difficult for Trevor and Liz as their fighting is more frequent, their communication is severely challenged, and they struggle to feel basic love and respect for one another. This is Liz’s third marriage, and she has four children.

    Liz works for a large company and reports that work, finances, and children are all additional sources of personal stress. This is Trevor’s first marriage, he also reports a great deal of stress,

    and he tends to want to be alone in order to cope with it all.

Relationship Concerns

    Overall your relationship is volatile. You both indicated on your pre-screening questionnaires that you are considering divorce, and that pattern of hurtful communication and struggle with resolving conflict was demonstrated during the intake session with their therapist. Neither Trevor nor Liz have sought consultation with an attorney at this time, but Liz has indicated that this is Trevor’s “last chance,” and she has threatened that the “car is packed.” The couple frequently

    has arguments that lead to threats, ultimatums, and hurtful statements. They have unforgiveness towards one another over hurts from the past, and they are generally stifled in their ability to effectively or lovingly communicate each other’s needs or concerns. They both feel stuck.

Relationship Strengths

    Trevor expressed that one of the couple’s strengths is that they are “extremely loving towards each other when we want to be.” It seems that the couple has vacillated between very good times and very difficult times. When the times are good, Trevor feels appreciative of the relationship and feels very loving towards Liz. Liz expressed that one of the couple’s strengths is that she

    “knows he’ll always be there” for her. Loyalty is likely especially valuable to Liz, as she has

    experienced many hurts in her past with many people proving unreliable. These strengths are both sources of hope for Trevor and Liz to resolve their difficulties and salvage their marriage. If


    they are able to build on these strengths by persisting in their efforts and being willing to work, their strengths will serve them well should they choose to continue Hope-focused counseling. Commitment to work on the relationship is one of the key determinants of success in couples counseling. Trevor and Liz have already endured significant challenges and stress during the few years they have known each other. Their willingness to enter into therapy to address their relationship concerns is a sign that they have hope for a better future where they can grow in commitment, intimacy, and trust.

Recommended Treatment Goals

    Trevor and Liz identified some goals for resolving their marriage difficulties. When asked how they would know if their marriage was better, they agreed their marriage would be better if they:

    ; Felt they could trust one another

    ; Felt that each other were more positive and uplifting

    ; Felt more freedom instead of feeling controlled

    ; Felt more valued by each other

    ; Felt more supported and secure in their relationship

    ; Gained better conflict resolution skills

In order to accomplish these goals, the couple should:

    ; Work on strengthening their relationship by applying skills and concepts taught in the

    Hope-Focused counseling approach such as:

    - Making deposits in the their love bank

    - Becoming good listeners

    - Using grace in problem solving

    - Confession

    - Forgiveness

    ; Value each other more by

    - Communicating to each other more positive and encouraging statements

    which show the partner how appreciated they are

    - Manage strong emotions more effectively

    - Listening well and showing understanding

    - Telling each other what they like more often

    ; Learn to be vulnerable and honest with each other about your feelings and desires;

    however also learn to “edit” what you say if it is not beneficial for the marriage

    ; Work on their relationship through investment in the therapy process, especially by

    practicing what they learn at home and completing their homework


    Trevor and Liz, your willingness to enter into treatment in order to attempt to work through your challenges demonstrates that you each do still care for one another and have hope for the future of your marriage. However, your hostility towards one another and seeming desire to hurt one another with your words will have to be suppressed, and you will have to be agreeable to complete the tasks your therapist prescribes with an open heart and humility. If you do not desire for your relationship to be repaired, no exercise or conversation in therapy will positively impact


    the marriage. Therapy will be hard work. You will get out of it what you put into it. Your willingness to verbalize thoughts and personal weaknesses will be essential to improving your relationship and healing hurts from the past. If you are both committed to the relationship, counseling will likely help you in several of the areas in which you are struggling. However if one person is not committed, therapy will be undermined and ineffectual. In addition to hard work and the proper mindset, couples counseling will require the ability to cast a vision you both agree on for the future of your relationship. It requires you to put past hurts behind you, not by ignoring them, but by expressing your emotions about these incidents and being able to understand where your partner is coming from. It will require vulnerability, patience, and compromise. This program offers very tangible and real ways to overcome some of your relationship difficulties if you both are invested in the process and in each other. I look forward to talking with you more about this possibility.

______________________________ ______________

    Joni L. Utley Date

    Doctoral Student in Psychology

    Regent University

______________________________ ______________

    Jennifer S. Ripley, Ph.D. Date

    Marriage Research Director and Supervisor

    Regent University


    Tentative Treatment Plan for Trevor and Liz

This is a tentative plan for couples counseling. It may change due to your needs as a couple, or if

    obstacles are faced which require more time.

    Sessions are planned to be 75 minutes long meeting on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 8:45pm.

3/31/2009 Week 1 Intake and Assessment

     Week 2 Feedback and Core Vision

     Weeks 3-6 Communication TANGO; Love Busters; Ground Rules; Leveling

    and Editing

     Weeks 7-8 Conflict with LOVE and CLEAVE for closeness. Mid-counseling


     Weeks 9-12 How the Past Affects us Today, Emotional Softening

     Weeks 13-14 Apologies and Repairs

     Weeks 15-19 REACH for forgiveness

     Week 20 Review, Saying Good Bye and Final Assessments

    Hope Therapist Date

    Hope Supervisor Date

    Couple’s signatures Date


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