Dr. Steve Solomon and Dr. Lorie Teagno have been professional partners, associates and collaborators for over 35 years together they offer couples therapy, individual therapy, family therapy and professional trainings for therapists.
Throughout their time together, they’ve identified the most common questions regarding couples therapy, individual therapy, infidelity, and Intimacy Therapy. To give you a better understanding of their therapy approach, they’ve compiled answers to these questions below:
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I know it’s a good time for me to seek individual therapy?
There are two main indicators that point to the need to enter individual psychotherapy. The first one is how you are feeling. If you are in pain or feel badly about yourself and no matter what you do can’t seem to feel better, asking for help by getting into individual therapy can get you unstuck, moving in a positive direction and feeling good.
The other sign that individual therapy is what you need has to do with your behavior. If you find yourself repeatedly engaging in actions that end up sabotaging your efforts and keeping you from accomplishing your goals, whether personal or professional, it’s time to get yourself into individual therapy. Working with a good therapist will enable you to not only uncover the underlying reasons you’ve been sabotaging your life, but empower you to overcome those so that instead of getting in your own way you will finally be able to live up to your potential in both your personal life and your work life.
When do I know it’s time to seek professional help with my relationship?
When you and/or your partner feel unhappy in your Long-Term Love Relationship (LTLR) and stuck at that place, unable to make things better then it is time to seek help from a trained couples therapist. After you and your partner have tried to discuss and remedy your relationship impasses and still find yourselves either arriving back at the same impasse or feeling victimized, angry or resentful, then you owe it to yourselves to seek professional help. Or if you or your partner are unwilling to risk opening up to the other about the problems because it doesn’t fell safe to do so, it is time to ask for outside help.
Our relationships are too important and valuable to let them continue to languish in a bad place. Things will only get worse. Relationship problems that go unaddressed don’t go away; they create increasing distance between partners and lead to deepening feelings of hurt, disappointment, loneliness and resentment. Damage is done to the love and commitment you share when either partner sees no relief. That’s how infidelities happen.
I just learned that my partner has had an affair. Should I stay or should I go? How do I know what the right choice is?
First, take a deep breath and calm yourself as your life has just been turned upside down. Do not push yourself to make a choice at this moment. Slow down your world. Decisions made when we are full of intense feelings are not usually the best choice.
In the book we answer this important question at length. In short, we say that if your partner is earnest in his or her desire to repair the relationship and assume responsibility for both the harm he or she has caused and also for working on themselves, and you believe that you still may love him or her, then it is very likely that your relationship can be saved. In fact, if those conditions do apply to you and your partner, and if the two of you do the work necessary to rebuild your LTLR, then it is likely that you can become happier in your relationship than you ever have been. We detail how you can do this in our book, “Intimacy After Infidelity“.
What is Intimacy Therapy?
Intimacy Therapy is The Relationship Institute’s unique approach to helping individuals, couples and families develop close, loving, safe and resilient relationships. No matter the relationship, the focus is on each individual becoming Self Intimate and Conflict Intimate which give the individuals and the relationship the ability to be close, have each represented in the relationship and develop the skills to successfully resolve all relationship conflicts and disappointments. Intimacy Therapy teaches you how to create a relationship that has room for the growth of all partners while sustaining a loving, supportive connection.
Can relationships survive an infidelity?
Yes, enthusiastically, yes! In order to survive and thrive after an infidelity, you and your partner have to earnestly work on recovering from the betrayal. You both have to understand why it occurred, that is, what in the betraying partner fueled the betrayal, and how the two of you can work together to affair-proof your relationship, to make it so strong that you never have to worry about infidelity again. We have found that the couples who commit to this work find that their relationship becomes stronger, more committed, happy and more resilient than it ever was before the devastation of the betrayal.
How does couples therapy work?
Usually Drs. Solomon and Teagno will meet with you and your partner together the first session and get a history of the relationship, its strengths and difficulties. Often they will next meet with each of you individually once. In a couples session after that or at the end of the first meeting they will summarize what they see as individual and relationships strengths and weaknesses. They will answer any questions you have about them and about your therapy going forward. They will tell you what they will work on with you, the approximate amount of therapy time change will require, the format for subsequent sessions and the cost of your therapy. You will leave that session with informational materials about TRI and the therapy work we offer.
Subsequent therapy sessions begin by teaching you a way to work through relationship conflict, a skill you can immediately begin to apply. You will also likely be taught the Emotional Self Awareness Exercise that becomes your regular homework and another skill you can use. Homework is often given as needed.
Periodically during the course of your therapy your therapist will evaluate your progress with you and discuss the focus of your work going forward. Drs. Teagno and Solomon see their job as getting you to a place where you don’t need ongoing therapy because you have achieved your goals and have gained the emotional maturity and skills necessary to take good care of both your self and your Long-Term Love Relationship. As you make progress toward your goals the frequency of your therapy sessions will diminish. Your therapist will have you doing more homework, more of the work of therapy, outside the office.
And then after regular therapy ends after the healing and rebuilding of your LTLR is accomplished, clients always have the option of returning to occasional therapy sessions for “tune ups” when they feel challenged by life events.
How long can I expect to be in therapy?
The length of therapy is determined by the issues you are struggling with and on how hard you or you and your partner are motivated to work in therapy. After the first session or two, Dr. Teagno or Dr. Solomon will give you an estimate of the time required to achieve your goals in therapy. Some clients will seek therapy for short-term change or relief, others will commit to longer term change and another group will benefit best from assistance built around occasional sessions designed to redirect their ongoing process of self change. In cases of infidelity, the work required of a couple is usually 6 to 9 months of regular therapy work.
How long before I can expect to see a change in my relationship?
Generally after 4 to 6 weeks of regular sessions you can expect to see profound changes in your own feelings and behavior and begin to see that your relationship is healing and rebuilding.
How do I determine if the therapy is working?
You should feel that the therapist has a good understanding of your struggle, offers you direction and suggestions that make sense to you and that he or she is offering you viewpoints that push you to grow and consider different viewpoints. You should also notice improvements in your outlook and a diminishment of the symptoms that brought you to therapy.
Should I work with a male or female therapist?
The gender of the therapist is your choice. We find that therapy is most effective when the client and therapist both feel that they are a “good match” and can work together effectively. That can happen with a therapist of either gender. The key is that you find a therapist, of either gender, that you and your partner have confidence in and that you both feel great trust in so that you both feel safe with him or her in opening up and being completely honest. That is what will enable your therapist to best help you.
Trust and respect for your therapist is also important because the best therapists will sometimes tell you things that are tough to hear about yourself or your actions. Trusting him or her will enable you to hear this and really consider it, knowing, trusting that your therapist is giving you this feedback to help you and not because he or she is taking sides against you.
How do I determine if my therapist is competent?
The therapist should be willing to answer questions about his/her training and be willing to work with you regarding your struggles. You should feel you are receiving suggestions and advice that you are willing to utilize and then notice change beginning within the first four to six weeks. When you do not experience change, you need to discuss this with the therapist and they should be willing to examine this concern and offer concrete and useful suggestions and directions.
Competent therapists don’t try to push their values onto you. They don’t tell you what you should be doing but express concerns for you to consider and work with you to achieve the realistic and healthy goals that you set for yourself and your LTLR.
And of course, a competent couples therapist never, ever takes sides in your relationship. They give both partners positive and negative feedback in their focus on helping both of you be the best partners you can be in the process of healing your LTLR.
How do you protect my confidentiality?
Your identity and everything you share in therapy is completely confidential and will never be shared with anyone else unless you explicitly request it, as in cases of wanting your therapist to speak to another one of you health care professionals or to share information needed for you to get reimbursement from your health insurance carrier.
When is divorce the right choice?
Divorce may be the right choice if your partner is unwilling to acknowledge and to work on his or her contributions to your marital problems. It takes both spouses owning and working on their part in their marriage’s issues to overcome them. If your partner is not willing to do this, then sadly, the right choice for you, the self-respecting choice may be to end the relationship.
That is also the right thing to do if after finding out about the infidelity either of you concludes that over the life of your LTLR your partner has inflicted so much pain and disappointment on you that it killed the love that you once had for your partner. Keep in mind that after an infidelity it may feel as if this has happened when indeed it is not so. We have found that it takes a great deal to kill real love, and it takes a long time, usually more than seven to ten years of destructive behavior to do so.
So, we advise that if you are not absolutely sure that you no longer love your partner, you work on rebuilding the relationship and do all you can to make the relationship better before deciding whether to end it. In this way, if you do end it, you can leave the marriage with a sense of integrity, with a clear conscience, knowing you tried as hard as you could to make it work. All relationships begin with a dream and with caring and deserve to end, if they are to end, with dignity.
Do you accept insurance?
We do accept insurance. We generally expect clients to pay for services at the time of the session. We will either bill insurance for you on a monthly basis or we will give you monthly statements that you can submit to your insurance carrier and/or apply toward your medical expense account. You will then receive payment from your carrier.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we do accept MasterCard and Visa credit cards and other forms of payment.
“Solomon & Teagno have done
an exquisite job bringing hope
into darkness. They provide
the education, skills and rationale
for staying the course when
everything seems bleak.”