We all wish to build the perfect relationship with a spouse or partner. Though we don’t always want to admit it, most relationships will encounter obstacles that can prevent us from moving in a positive direction. Unfortunately there are no real instruction manuals to refer to when this happens. Couples Therapy is one way to identify the problems and then learn how to correct them before they become too destructive.

Dr. Anderson specializes in relationship therapy. She works with pre-marital and married couples as well as life-partners. She encourages couples who are dealing with struggles to seek counseling early in a relationship before animosities create profound resentments. She is honest and straightforward about the hard work therapy can be and that the work must transition from the therapist’s office to home. She stresses that the hard work can improve a relationship regardless of how hopeless it may seem, and that improving oneself is beneficial regardless of the outcome of that relationship. Dr.
Anderson is committed to the goals the couple brings to therapy.
Each couple’s problems are unique and therapy is individualized
for the specific couple.

Research shows that people who are happily married live longer, healthier lives than those who are divorced or unhappily married. A happy relationship appears to strengthen the immune system. Mental and physical health is worth the cost and effort. And like maintaining a healthy weight, it takes a lifestyle change with consistent effort— not just a one-time trip to the gym.

How are sessions structured?
1. The first session is an initial interview to assess and discuss problems and to help establish the commitment to the relationship. Assessments that will be completed at home are provided. These are designed to clarify strengths, weaknesses, and problem areas.

2. A session with each individual is recommended to enhance the process for gathering information. The assessment package should be completed and brought to this session.

3. At this point, the couple returns to discuss the results of the assessment. Together a plan is formulated regarding the direction of therapy.

4. Frequency of therapy is negotiated. Usually sessions are longer and more frequent early on and then taper off.

Patience and hard work are required since difficulties have likely evolved over a period of several years. There are assignments and readings to do between sessions. Once regular therapy ends it is recommended that couples check-in every 6 months to ensure continued healthy growth.

If my partner is reluctant to seek counseling, should I come by myself?
Certainly. Therapy gives you tools to change what you can change and accept what you can’t change. It is also designed to give you more clarity and peace regarding your life and decisions.

Will we always come to the sessions as a couple?
This depends on your goals, willingness and motivation. There may be times only one person can come to a session. The work during that session will focus on the individual and what s/he needs to change in his/her self.

Dr. Anderson’s background in Couples Therapy is extensive. The following is a brief summary of her experience:

Dr. Anderson began her training in marriage and family therapy while working on her master’s degree at Oklahoma State University. From 1984 through 1987 she was educated at the OSU Marriage and Family Clinic where she received extensive training, experience and supervision. She earned her M.S. in 1985 in Community Counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. She came to Houston in 1987 for her clinical residency at the University of Texas Medical School. For the next two years her rotations included individual, couples and family therapy, emergency intervention, and psychological assessment. She also worked with families on the Pediatric unit at M.D. Anderson. After graduating with her Ph.D. in Psychology and earning her license in 1991, she went into private practice. In private practice, she works with couples, as well as individuals and athletes. Through continuing education, Dr. Anderson is knowledgeable about current research that impacts today’s couples and families. Most recently, she has over 60 hours of continuing education in the Gottman method.

Recommended Reading
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, Ph.D.

The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (particularly Section II on Love)