Couple: Trevor and Liz (this is not a real couple)
Assessment made by: Joni L. Utley
Trevor and Liz met 2 years ago at an office party. At the time, they were both involved in other romantic relationships, but they began talking to each other as friends. Trevor describes Liz as being everything he wanted and fun to be with. He thought she was “too good to be true,” and they quickly decided they wanted to be with one another. The couple began dating and moved in together 4 months later. Liz says that problems began right away as she expected that they were in a “committed” relationship at this point, and Trevor continued “talking” to other girls. Trevor has since admitted that he compromised trust by doing this. Liz and Trevor weathered these difficult times and also enjoyed some good times together. They married 6 months ago. Then Liz became pregnant shortly after the couple married. One of the hurts expressed by Trevor during the intake was that in response to being hurt, Liz told him that the baby was not his but another man and that she had cheated on Trevor. Liz did not cheat, but she expressed that she often acts “vindictively” when she gets hurt. Lately times have been really difficult for Trevor and Liz as their fighting is more frequent, their communication is severely challenged, and they struggle to feel basic love and respect for one another. This is Liz’s third marriage, and she has four children. Liz works for a large company and reports that work, finances, and children are all additional sources of personal stress. This is Trevor’s first marriage, he also reports a great deal of stress, and he tends to want to be alone in order to cope with it all.
Overall your relationship is volatile. You both indicated on your pre-screening questionnaires that you are considering divorce, and that pattern of hurtful communication and struggle with resolving conflict was demonstrated during the intake session with their therapist. Neither Trevor nor Liz have sought consultation with an attorney at this time, but Liz has indicated that this is Trevor’s “last chance,” and she has threatened that the “car is packed.” The couple frequently has arguments that lead to threats, ultimatums, and hurtful statements. They have unforgiveness towards one another over hurts from the past, and they are generally stifled in their ability to effectively or lovingly communicate each other’s needs or concerns. They both feel stuck.
Trevor expressed that one of the couple’s strengths is that they are “extremely loving towards each other when we want to be.” It seems that the couple has vacillated between very good times and very difficult times. When the times are good, Trevor feels appreciative of the relationship and feels very loving towards Liz. Liz expressed that one of the couple’s strengths is that she “knows he’ll always be there” for her. Loyalty is likely especially valuable to Liz, as she has experienced many hurts in her past with many people proving unreliable. These strengths are both sources of hope for Trevor and Liz to resolve their difficulties and salvage their marriage. If they are able to build on these strengths by persisting in their efforts and being willing to work, their strengths will serve them well should they choose to continue Hope-focused counseling. Commitment to work on the relationship is one of the key determinants of success in couples counseling. Trevor and Liz have already endured significant challenges and stress during the few years they have known each other. Their willingness to enter into therapy to address their relationship concerns is a sign that they have hope for a better future where they can grow in commitment, intimacy, and trust.
Recommended Treatment Goals
Trevor and Liz identified some goals for resolving their marriage difficulties.…