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
Dr. Buglione has particular expertise in helping couples and families identify and change dysfunctional patterns of interacting. At the start of marital or family therapy it is common for participants to focus on the behavior of their partner, or of someone else in the family system, as the source of all problems; however, couples and family problems seldom have a simple linear explanation. Often, family members get caught in circular patterns of interacting that act like quicksand to get them more and more stuck. Once two people begin to see the reciprocal nature of their interactions, however, they can let go of some of the emotion and start to work together on constructive changes.
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, can be projected and 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 are more fully aware of the emotional "baggage" they have carried into their marriage, they can begin to see how those issues have been playing out. With couples, therapy really gets going once each spouse begins to appreciate and accept his or her own role in the 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 therapy can support the functioning of participants and assist in the discovery of creative solutions.