I must confess that I’m fondly attached to Apple products—the iMac, iPhone, iPad, iPod and most likely soon the iWatch. I don’t think I’m addicted to technology, but I do like how this company comes out with cool ideas and products. They don’t just come out with cool things, they come out with cooler things to replace their older, cool things.
Yes, I’m hooked!
Now, you may be wondering what does any of my gadgetry attachment have to do with Marriage Counseling?
Reflecting on my thirty-plus years of Marriage Counseling I realized that I’ve been stuck. I’ve been doing Marriage Counseling the same way I did it thirty years ago. No new ideas—no great and exciting iterations of more established ways of doing things. I was offering the same design, same product, with the same delivery of the product. Steve Jobs would give me a severe tongue-lashing, I’m sure.
After considerable reflection, and significant admiration of Apple products, I decided Marriage Counseling needed a new look. Something fresh, practical, maybe even cool.
So, I’ve been laying awake at night thinking about how Marriage Counseling could be done differently.
There had to be some new approaches, new customer service, new availability and of course, better results. With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few ideas—but I want your feedback. (A new product is only ingenious if people respond favorably.)
I’m wondering what you think about my musings. Here goes.
Accessibility: What if, instead of having office hours from 9-5, Monday through Friday, we actually responded to your crisis in a more immediate manner? I’m not talking about sleeping with our cell phones, but am talking about creating a system whereby we promise to get back to you, if only for a brief consultation and arranging more time, within a few hours?
Active Interest: What if I applied what I appreciate about Starbucks, Nordstroms and yes, Apple, to customer service? Oh, I know, very few of us clinicians think about customer service. That was the last thing on Sigmund Freud’s mind. But, what if we actually responded to you quickly, showed a keen interest in you and your problems? (Yes, that’s called caring!)
Partnership: What if we worked together, always asking if I was responding to your needs? What if I changed directions if I was offering something you really didn’t want, and made sure to offer what you do want?
Clear Problem Definition: What if I offered you a clear appraisal of your problem, in terms you can understand? What if I sat with you, literally or on the phone/ Skype, and listened, analyzed and rendered a clear description of the problem? Furthermore, what if I did this quickly, rather than taking months before giving a straightforward opinion?
Practical Treatment Plan: Finally, after showing a keen interest in you and your situation, listening carefully and working together on formulating a clear definition of the problem, what if I offered a clear perspective on what it would take to bring emotional and relational health to your life?
Would this kind of Marriage Counseling interest you?
It certainly is what I expect of my dentist, doctor, lawyer and other professionals. I pay for their expertise and want them to answer the question, “What would you do if you were in my shoes?” I want information so I can make an informed decision. You likely want the same.
What would this “Apple Approach” require of you?
Here are some ideas that come to mind:
1. You would have to dedicate an equal amount of interest in this process.
I would expect you to dedicate some time and energy to this process. You would read my marriage manual, Love Life of Your Dreams and learn about our innovative Marriage Counseling process. We are a team and would work together to determine what exactly is going on and what you want to achieve?
2. You would have to be open to new ideas.
While you don’t have to follow everything I say, you do need to come receptive and willing to change. I have expertise in Marriage Counseling and you need help. I have information I’m willing to share with you and want you to implement the ideas.
3. You would have to work closely with me.
I would expect you to be as clear as you can be about what is bothering you. I would expect you to listen to what I have to say and give me feedback on what is working and what is not.
4. You would need to accept that with change comes challenge.
Giving up longstanding ways of relating and living is a challenge. Change is never easy. With change comes uncertainty and anxiety. There is no breakthrough without a breakdown of the way we’ve been doing things.
5. You would have to make choices about what exactly you want to do with your life.
If you want emotional and relational health, you need to be open to change, willing to dedicate yourself to the change process and then to stick with it.
So, there you have it. A new way of doing Marriage Counseling.
This new way demands a lot from me, but demands a lot from you as well. The results, however, can be quite remarkable.
Interested in a new, cool product? I’d love to have you give this brand of Marriage Counseling a try.