In couples work, you are joined in A Quiet Room by your partner, or lover, or wife or husband. We seek an environment in which you can work on understanding one another more fully as you walk together down the path of life. I welcome you both, and respect the challenge of partnership. Any couple can benefit from time spent communicating in the focused setting of A Quiet Room, but our goal is not keeping you together – that is your choice. Our focus is showing you what you have built together, to raise consciousness so you can decide where you would like to proceed from here.

Most patients come to my office to talk about loving. That’s their priority. They want to find love because they think it will bring them happiness.

A partnership might contribute to your happiness.

But it isn’t a partner’s job to make you happy.

That’s a fantasy, the product of a regression back to childhood.

A partner cannot arrive like the cavalry, and come to your rescue. His role is not to help you escape from your own life.

A partner is just that – a partner. He is an ally. Together, you pursue a mutual goal.

There’s a corny religious tchotchke I found hanging in someone’s kitchen years ago, called “Footsteps.” It sums up this syndrome.

You’ve probably seen it on a poster or a greeting card.

The text begins with someone complaining to God that he walked alone through the snow, because God had abandoned him.

God explains that there was only one set of footsteps in the snow because “that’s when I was carrying you, my child.”

It’s hard to read “Footsteps” and not feel a pang.

You want to be a child again (that’s the collapse fantasy) – and you want to get carried. It’s nice to think you can fall and someone will be there to catch you.

But a partner is not God, or a parent or a rescuer. He’s another person. A friend. A lover. Most importantly, he’s an equal.

In a healthy relationship, no one is carrying anyone, no one is leaning on anyone. You’re simply walking, hand in hand, toward a dream, savoring time together as you make your way forward.

From Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

For an article from Will’s blog, The People’s Therapist, on couples counseling, click here.