Counseling and Psychotherapy
The therapist-client relationship is the foundation on which the work of counseling and psychotherapy builds. Studies have shown that therapist qualities such as warmth, ability to empathize, and dedication to the client's welfare contribute significantly to a successful outcome in psychotherapy. The client should feel comfortable in the therapist's care. Therapist and client should be able to work as a team to understand and resolve the client's difficulties.
Of course, the therapist's knowledge and skills are crucial to the effectiveness of therapy. Clients can expect that Dr. Buglione will offer new perspectives on problems and communicate psychological understanding appropriate to the situation at hand. New perspectives frequently suggest new solutions.
Couples Counseling and Family Therapy
When a couple has been having chronic difficulty it may mean that unresolved psychological issues on the part of one or both partners have been getting in the way. The ability to make a commitment to another person and sustain a genuinely close relationship requires a healthy, secure sense of self. Otherwise, the sorts of differences that are inevitable in any close relationship may feel too threatening and a full commitment too burdensome. At times, relational conflict may be a way of achieving a "safe" emotional distance in the relationship.
Recent research confirms that our "emotional heritage" deriving from family of origin is a major determining factor in how well we are able to connect emotionally with others. It is usually helpful, therefore, if each spouse's early family relationships and other significant life experiences are discussed and brought to light. Unresolved psychological conflicts or patterns of relating rooted in early family relationships and subsequent life experiences may be projected/reacted to within the marriage in ways that prevent otherwise capable adults from resolving differences in a more mature and reasonable manner. However, once spouses become more fully aware of the emotional "baggage" they have carried into their marriage, they can start to see how those issues play out. With couples, therapy really gets going once each spouse begins to appreciate and accept his or her own role in problems.
Marital discord is painful enough for the two people directly involved, but when the situation is prolonged or chronic other family members, especially children, can be adversely affected. Maladaptive attempts at coping, such as retreating into work or alcohol, or having an extramarital affair, usually only cause further damage to the marital relationship and negatively impact the family. When circumstances such as these result in a referral for treatment, however, an opportunity exists for learning and healing on the part of the entire interconnected family system.
Of course, many factors can contribute to relational unhappiness, such as conflicting communication styles, communication skill deficits, and external stress. Therapy usually is an opportunity for significant learning, as well as self-understanding.
The foregoing discussion is not to underestimate in any way the amount of stress associated with many life transitions and events. It is normal for individuals and families to experience some symptoms and transient impairment in functioning in the face of many stressful life events. The fact that an individual or family may be experiencing tensions, conflicts or other problems at such times does not mean they are “dysfunctional.” But when a situation becomes prolonged or unduly painful, the ability to see solutions clearly can become constricted. At such times counseling can support the functioning of participants and assist in the discovery of creative solutions.