Couples therapy is similar to individual psychotherapy in that in both treatments the presenting symptom is unhappiness and dissatisfaction. In individual treatment the disappointment is about yourself and or about your job, your friends or your spouse. In the process of therapy you learn about the ways you might be contributing to your unhappiness by repeating old patterns that were developed as a child, but are not working for you as an adult.

In couples therapy, one or both of you are disappointed in the other. For example, a wife might complain: "My husband doesn't understand me." Her husband might insist that he does understand and say: "Nothing is good enough for her." 

Each of you wants something from the other you are not getting. The wife wants her husband to understand what she wants and needs without her having to tell him-- the way a mother has an intuitive sense of when an infant is hungry. He, on the other hand, may want her to say he's a "good boy" and instead she's telling him that he's not "good enough"-- just like his father. Nothing is good enough. You may not be entirely aware of what it is you want from the other, only that you are not getting it. And you may feel inadequate because you cannot give your partner what he/she wants.

You may have gotten into this relationship precisely because you fantasized that you would finally get what you've been longing for, what you've wanted all your life. But, it has not worked out that way and the hurt, disappointment and anger feel familiar because each of you is repeating an old pattern that DOES NOT WORK.

I will help you understand what each of you is hoping to get by teaching you a new way to listen to each other and your selves. The two of you are repeating a dynamic that each of you developed in childhood, a relationship between a child and a parent that might have been adaptive in childhood (or not even then) but does not work in a relationship between two adults.

Once you understand that dynamic, you can start working as a team to change it.