Couples are seen at the Humphrey Clinic for a variety of reasons, sometimes because of conflict or difficult impasses in their relationship, but other times to enhance or reinvent their roles in transitions. The Humphrey Clinic is LGBTQ affirmative, honoring all relationships including same sex, bi-sexual, transgendered, or questioning partners in addition to married or unmarried heterosexual pairs. Typical transitions include couples who are considering moving in together, deciding to get married, expecting their first child, transitioning children into school, managing the changes of children turning into adolescents, or re-establishing their relationship as children grow and leave home. Other more difficult challenges addressed in couple work can include marital/relationship conflict, step-parenting conflict, infidelity, infertility, coping with extended family needs, health crisis, grief and loss. Couple work has also been shown to support individuals in recovery from substance use, as well as to help individuals coping with depression, anxiety and mental health or medical diagnosis. Couple work is not recommended for couples with domestic violence, or if one partner is in fear of the other.
Prepare/Enrich is an evidence-based tool available to clinicians at the Humphrey Clinic. Prepare/Enrich offers an online assessment with several follow up feedback sessions that promote exploration of the many dimensions found to be important to relationship health. The assessment is strengths-based, and follow up sessions focus on stimulating couple discussion, identifying strength and growth areas and building relationship skills. The assessment explores each partner’s personality style, preferences around leisure activities, financial management, sexuality and affection, closeness to family and friends, relationship roles and spiritual beliefs. Three-Five sessions follow the assessment, which is completed by each individual separately online.
Couple counseling is available to couples seeking support in any normal developmental transition or crisis to the relationship. Clinicians work from a strengths-based perspective, balancing each partner’s perspective and inviting mutual decision making, support and understanding. While the Humphrey Clinic trains graduate interns to identify symptoms and formulate diagnosis of individuals, the focus of couple work is the relationship between the individuals and is not designed to assign blame or identify pathology. Each partner is seen as contributing to the relationship and responsible for their part in it, and individual issues are managed in collaboration with other providers as needed.
Parenting Apart Counseling for Separated or Divorcing Couples for separated or divorcing couples who are affected by court involvement and having difficulty making mutual decisions around their child(ren). Counseling focuses on addressing the high emotions that come along with prolonged conflict and finding ways to relax intense communication, to focus on the child(ren)’s needs and to simplify requests. A combination of individual and conjoint sessions are held to achieve this purpose, each individual is coached on their communication and supported to frame their desires for their child in practical terms that the other parent can respond to. Both parents need to contact Humphrey Clinic for a phone intake in order to initiate the referral. To begin the process call 860-486-3692.
Confidentiality for couples means that the discussions had in the therapy room are not available in any other setting without the written consent of both parties. One partner may not release the content of the sessions to their individual therapist, or to an attorney without the other’s consent. If any individual sessions are conducted as part of the couple therapy, the therapist will not share the material discussed individually with the other partner without written consent. Even though confidentiality protects individuals, clinicians do not encourage secret keeping between partners, but acknowledge that there are times that an individual may need to work up to sharing information that they fear might damage the relationship. If it appears that one partner has too much information that they are not willing to share with their partner, that the sessions are too focused on one individual or that the couple sessions are not progressing, the clinician may suggest that one or both partners continue in individual therapy instead. Marriage does not entitle one partner access to information from their partner’s individual therapy nor does one partner have to give consent for the other to participate in individual therapy. If a partner in individual therapy speaks repeatedly about issues with their partner, their clinician may suggest talking together in couple therapy, but a clinician is not able to require an individual to participate in couple therapy. Court-referred couples or individuals must sign a release of information for their therapist to confirm their attendance with court.
Legal issues are considered separate from therapy, and therapy is not a means to build a legal case. If a couple is being seen in therapy and makes a decision to divorce or enter into a legal dispute, the information from the sessions belongs to both partners and The Humphrey Clinic will not release information without all participants signatures. Clinicians will discuss whether therapy should be terminated, or re-configured to more appropriately support the two parties, using input from both. In the case of a court subpeona, The Humphrey Clinic will be required to comply with the order, but will attempt to reach the parties involved to identify their wishes, and if needed, utilize the participants legal counsel to protect the therapy process from being used inappropriately in court proceedings. It is against ethical practice standards for treating therapists to provide custody recommendations. Therapists may only discuss treatment and treatment recommendations, with permission of the participants and/or a court order. If a couple is required to seek therapy by the court, a summary letter confirming participation, dates and treatment goals is customarily provided with participants written permission and a week’s notice.