Years ago a couple came to see me twice. 6 months later they were back. As we got situated in our chairs I said, “So, what brings you in?” He said, “We want you to mediate our divorce.”
He said, “Well, we tried counseling and it didn’t work.”
Every time I tell this story my heart hurts. This is when I realized I hadn’t been clear with clients about what it takes to create lasting change.
What I knew, deep down, was that my clients who were consistent and committed to therapy saw the biggest results the quickest. Research supports this. Therapy is not unlike going to the gym…you can’t go twice and expect to drop 60 pounds.
I think a part of me hadn’t been clear about this because I assumed it was something people knew. I think a bigger part of me was reluctant to be clear about the consistency and commitment that's required for big results because I didn’t want to come off as salesy or pushy. I obviously benefit from my clients' commitment and consistency.
This day a fire was lit under me and I completely changed how I do business and how I serve my clients. It was more obvious than ever that being wishy-washy about what it takes to create lasting change wasn’t serving anyone. I knew I had to be clear from get-go in a really big way.
Around the same time I noticed that a lot of the people who were most craving change in their marriages were those with extra-full plates. The 7-year itch is a real thing, and those years with young kids are HARD on relationships. So the people who needed the consistency and commitment the most were the least able to make it happen.
It was incredibly frustrating to watch couples flounder while making it to my office maybe once per month – we’d take one step forward, then 2 steps back.
I created my programs for couples for lots of reasons, but these realizations are what pushed me over the proverbial edge and now I won’t work with couples any other way.
Great counseling is part psychoeducating on skills, strategies, and mindsets. It’s also part art: feeling out how to unravel the inconspicuous ways my clients have been programmed to see themselves and the world that are keeping them stuck.
I spent 2 years creating a more flexible option for busy couples. When I found myself saying things more than once in a week to my clients I would write it down on a sticky note and slap it on the wall of the hallway outside my office. My husband let me know I looked like a little bit of a mad scientist.
Years of training, schooling, reading, scouring relational and spiritual texts, attending conferences, living through my own dysfunctional family, my own personal therapy, and my own trial and error had become distilled down into very specific themes in my work now living in columns of sticky notes on my wall.
The LOVE, SEX, KIDS Course was born. I first offered it live with overwhelming positive response and then I created an online version that is now a part of my programs for couples - the flexibility makes consistency a lot more possible. You can work through the modules in your jammies at 9p at night if you want.
Surprisingly, I love the course as part of my programs for so many more reasons than the flexibility it provides…it also gives us some structure and a clear path to ensure we leave no relationship stone unturned. I’m proud to have created something so comprehensive and unique.
My programs offer structure and accountability that winging it in traditional therapy just doesn’t. The consistency required for big results is built-in. GAWD…I just heart them. If you want to learn more about them head to:
If you want results you've never gotten, you'll have to do things you've never done,
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ARTICLES by Mika Ross