Now That We Have Met

Individuals AND Couples

It is our desire that The Pratt clinic offers a safe space for you to learn how to be you again.  We recognize the courage it takes to make that first visit and demonstrate by your actions the humility and boldness that is required for change.  To make the most out of your time with us, here are a few tips and suggestions.

  • Start journaling your journey.  Buy a fancy leather-bound journal or just use a legal pad or type into your computer if you like.  It will be helpful to see where were when you started and markers along the way.

  • After your counseling visit, jot down (in your journal) some of the significant insights or things you remember.  It is good to do this before you go to bed because you are likely to forget after you sleep.

  • Consider ways to enhance your therapy.  Ask your therapist about reading, podcasts, videos, etc... that may expose you to more information but also lead to more conscious investment in the change process.

  • Before your next visit, write in your journal some things you anticipate or hope to cover and let your therapist know.  The session may go in a different direction at times, but it really helps YOU and your therapist to give thought to and share what your goals are.

  • Take extra steps to keep your body healthy.  Eat well, sleep, breathe (exercise), connect with God and connect with people.  These are survival skills that get everything moving in a direction of health and healing.  

  • Be patient with yourself and the process.  Therapy is the hard work of change.  Things are not likely to suddenly snap together in place for you and have a flight to health. There are layers and steps and sometimes setbacks.  Partner with your therapist to continue moving forward.

  • Finally, make regular appointments.  It is your responsibility to set up times, prioritize them and keep them.  Unless you and your therapist specify otherwise, go ahead and make 4-6 additional appointments with no more than 2 weeks apart.  We are often booked up a few weeks out.  Take a look at the portal anytime if you wonder where you stand with remaining appointments.  It would be better to have the appointments and not need them than to need them and not have them.  

Couples

We would encourage you to consider the same suggestions as individuals (above), but with a few more thoughts that are unique to couples therapy.  

  • There are four phases to couples therapy.  1) Assessment--the initial interview, individual sessions and the feedback session. 2) Changing negative communication patterns.  This may take many sessions.  How many is up to you to receive feedback from your therapist and be intentional about communicating differently.  3) Connecting conversations.  Once the negative patterns are broken, you will discover new intimacy as you have connecting conversations.  Your therapist will help you with this in session and make suggestions for home.  4) Termination--this happens when you are consistently avoiding the negative communication patterns and consistently engaging in connecting conversations which allows for productive problem solving and new intimacy.  

  • At first, try not to do couples therapy when you are not in therapy.  The beginning phase of therapy is breaking up negative communication patterns.  This may take a few visits after the assessment phase, but, if you can't do good, at least do no harm.  Keep things day-to-day and as light as possible.  Use the tools given to you in the feedback session diligently.  Your therapist will set the pace for homework.  

  • IF you can spend time together--having fun, talking, engaging--without spinning into the negative communication patterns, go for it.  Date nights don't fix everything, but having delight with one another is usually good.  Put it on your calendar and do things that are low-risk/high-reward.

  • Reading--a couple of suggested books--7 Principles for Making a Marriage Work by John Gottman and Created for Connection by Sue Johnson are the playbooks from which we work.   Both of these books will give you language for our meetings.   

  • MAKE APPOINTMENTS ahead of time.  We encourage weekly appointments for the first 5-8 visits and then backing off to every-other-week is ok after that.  Weekly is still okay.  Some couples will go ahead and make 10-15 visits. 

  • 90 minute visits are preferred, but consider your budget.  60 minute visits are ok, but we get more done in 90.  

  • Pray together.  I know this may be super uncomfortable for some, but our suggestion is to sit knee-to-knee and ask God to help you.  This may be a fifteen second prayer.  Aim for daily, but even if you pray together a few times a week, you are setting aside this relationship for something good to happen.