Midge Lane


Q. What happens at the beginning of therapy?

A. We begin with a simple consent form that describes the confidentiality of the service plus a few standard limits to it. I welcome all questions concerning confidentiality and my background and experience doing this work.

We generally proceed to what prompted you to call me for this service. We may discuss how long the issue has affected you, how intense it is, and other important questions. For example, who else is involved with it?

There's usually a way in which it makes sense that you are having a particular issue, and it can be very helpful to explore this - to understand the issue better rather than just try to change it. This often involves looking at your history of relationship patterns and styles of coping. Some people come in and right away say this is what they want to work on.

Q. How is therapy with couples different from therapy with an individual?

A. First, I do not assume that you and your partner come in agreeing about what the most important issue is. One of you may think the problem is a lack of emotional or sexual intimacy. The other may think it's disputes about kids or money or in-laws.

People usually discover that they desire understanding and respect far more than agreement. Counselling can help you find a way to achieve this. You can strengthen your capacity to agree to disagree without complete loss of connection.

You may think your relationship is beyond repair if one of you has been unfaithful - or if both of you have - and this is followed by difficulties with trust. Often such a relationship crisis can be the starting point to developing a deeper and more committed relationship.

Q. How often will we meet?

A. Maybe just once if you feel that a single consultation fits your needs.

In my practice we discuss at the end of each session whether we will meet again and, if so, how soon. Sometimes certain ideas and suggestions are offered during a session. It is useful to allow a span of time to notice what effects, if any, these have had. For some people therapy is short-term and focused on quite specific goals.  For others, there are more general goals or considerable confusion about what may be causing distress. If therapy seems like it could be helpful in clarifying that confusion, then the therapy could be longer.

If you have any other questions, please e-mail them to:

"Life presents us with the choice of getting what we want, but not the way we might want it. Itís disquieting when long-sought improvements occur in ways we donít anticipate. We are challenged to give up cherished notions that keep us stuck. Facing that dilemma is part of becoming an adult."

- David Schnarch, PhD