Michael Hoffman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with 25 years experience in marriage and couples counseling. He offers Marriage and Couples Counseling, Post-Divorce Counseling, Premarital Counseling, Intimacy Counseling, and Relationship Ceremonies. Michael's office is at:
300 SE Reed Market Rd,
Ste 205, Bend, OR 97702
Marriage and Couples Counseling
The natural way of being approach to marriage counseling is based on three principles. The first is understanding each others' perspective. It looks at how the things going on in your relationship (and family) feels like to the other person. He likens his non-threatening approach of couples counseling to "no-fault insurance" in that it does not assess blame. This creates a safe place for honest communication and mutual acceptance to occur.
The second principle of his approach to marriage counseling examines the emotional needs and what each person wants and needs in the relationship and the extent each is getting it. Not getting emotional needs met is often the cause of depression, emotional distance, loss of passion and romance, and even infidelity. After looking at the extent your emotional needs are being met, stating what is most important to you to each other begins the shift to reestablishing a strong and happy relationship.
All relationships are contractual. The third principle identifies the conscious and unconscious contracts or agreements in the relationship. It looks at the contracts or vows at the relationship and marriage's inception and whether they have changed over time. Choosing and negotiating the contracts that each person wants in the relationship provides clarity and resolution.
This three principle process leads quite naturally to a Marriage Re-dedication Ceremony. This allows you to update the vows and reignite the excitement you experienced at the beginning of your marriage.
Marriage or Relationship Tune-up Package
The relationship Tune-up Package is a series of three marriage counseling sessions based on the three principles of natural marriage counseling: 1) Understanding Each Others' Perspective session; 2) Emotional Needs Assessment session and 3) Relationship Contract session.
So you have made the decision to get a divorce. Perhaps you are awaiting the process to complete itself or are you are legally divorced. This tends to be a challenging and disorienting time. There are typically a full-spectrum of powerful feelings including loss, relief, anger, guilt, and regret. There may be children and custody arrangements to establish or adjust to. Post-divorce counseling provides guidance and support to get closure on your marriage and create a new path for your life.
All relationships are contractual. Premarital counseling prepares for marriage or any committed relationship by establishing conscious contracts and clear parameters. Contracts are the often unspoken agreements about what is expected in a relationship. It often takes a little work to become conscious of what the contracts are so they can be spoken to each other and agreed upon. Parameters are limits about where each person is willing to go and not willing to. Each person needs to find the clarity to know what their parameters are and strength to be assertively set those parameters.
Most people feel like your marriage or relationship has to be in trouble to benefit from marriage counseling. This is a myth. Many couples have a healthy marriage, but just feel like they drifting apart due to the busyness of life with children careers and obligation. Intimacy counseling provides an opportunity or closeness requires willingness and skills.
Intimacy or closeness is about exposure and discovery. It is allowing yourself to be close. You have to be willing to expose who you are and what it feels like inside to another human being. This requires vulnerability. And as well you have to be willing to get outside yourself and discover what it feels like inside to the human being you are getting close to.
Relationships need rites of passage and ceremonies to mark and create transitions of their development and change just like individuals do. The following ceremonies can be found on the Ceremony and Rites of Passage page:
Relationship Healing Ceremony
Marriage Rededication Ceremony
Birth of a Child Ceremony
Empty Nest Ceremony
Death of a Loved One Ceremony