In her couples, relationship, family, and parenting therapy sessions, Dr. Kathy examines the events, crises, and behavioral health habits, established over time, that are affecting the marriage, relationships, or the entire family system.  She identifies and helps you consider coping skills or family “rules” that may have been established and passed on as a “culture” or "normal" depending on genetics, and the developmental events that have taken place over time (divorces, moves, conflicts between siblings, employment changes, illness).  Communication styles, daily habits, and family rituals are explored to examine how problems are created, discussed, avoided, resolved, while addressing the coping styles used in the past or currently in place. Family and couples therapy requires the participation of all members so that skills training can be effective in ending problematic ways of behaving.

Couples and Family: Listen & Change

Helping clients and loved ones talk about and consider another’s perspective is the goal. It is especially important to talk with compassion when parties disagree, or when there is concern about safety. During family and relationship therapy, Dr. Shafer helps clients acknowledge that a problem with one family member or partner may be an indicator of other issues that need to be talked about and addressed.  Marriage and family therapy have been shown to effectively treat such problems as addiction, mood disorders, infidelity, depression, and eating disorders such as obesity. With Dr. Shafer, clients learn to take responsibility for their part in the issues and what behavior patterns need to be altered.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy

The Gottman Method provides couples with a research-based roadmap to learn how to compassionately manage conflicts, deepen friendship and intimacy, and share a life purpose and dreams. The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. Dr. Kathy has completed Level Three training in the Gottman Method, designed by Drs John and Julie Gottman.

Skills for the Family

Clients can expect to receive homework assignments from Dr. Shafer. Family members are encouraged to complete these and continue with the therapy as the end goal is to heal mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns that are tearing the family apart. The skills training she teaches in the therapy session are designed to help with managing and regulating emotions, tolerating instead of reacting to stress, responding with care and consideration during family and relationship conflicts, and participating and responding using mindfulness skills.   These easy to follow skills practiced with all family members can shape the behavior and communicated styles of all parties involved.  In other words, family members can practice what they can do instead of what they have been doing…thinking and doing the opposite and appyling the FUN™ Guide to conflict resolution.