JFCS Counseling

“Paul” and “Amber” were a young couple on the verge of divorce when they came to Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS). Because of the Relationship Solutions Clinic at JFCS, their marriage is now back on track.

The couple had been together for two years and had recently separated. They loved each other and shared common values and goals, but the forces tearing them apart seemed unsurmountable.

Paul counted on Amber to help out with his 13-year-old daughter “Sophie” on the weekends he had to work. Amber felt ill equipped as a parent and felt that Paul did not take her distress seriously. The two also argued about the division of household chores, finances and spending time with their respective families. Their relationship, once warm and affectionate, grew distant and cold. Their explosive arguments left them feeling battered and considering divorce.

As a last-ditch effort, Paul and Amber looked for couple counseling. With limited finances, they could not afford the customary private practice fees of $80 to $100 per session. They called JFCS and were accepted for the Relationship Solutions Clinic. The clinic is staffed by graduate students in clinical training who are supervised by an experienced clinician. At only $20 per session, it fit within the couple’s budget.

With their therapist’s help, the two learned to listen to each other’s concerns, and found that simply hearing how the other partner felt helped create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation. Paul and Amber learned conflict management skills and they learned about common challenges in blended families. Paul adjusted his work schedule to be home more when his daughter was there, and with new problem-solving strategies for dividing chores and keeping track of expenses, they found arrangements that worked for them.

Paul and Amber learned to accept that all couples have ongoing issues to work on. Now that counseling has concluded, they have moved back in together feeling hopeful that they have the skills to manage and thrive.

Many relationships begin full of love and hope and promises; unfortunately, they may lack the tools to weather the challenges that inevitably come after the passion cools.

Relationship Solutions is held at JFCS on Tuesdays between 5 and 7 p.m. Availability is limited; participants must meet income guidelines to qualify for the reduced rate of $20 per session. Appointments are required. For details, Contact Kathryn Bentley at ext. 240.

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