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I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and Certified Gottman Therapist at Happy Couples Healthy Communities, a marriage, and family therapy private practice in Bartram Park, Jacksonville, Florida.

Today I would like to talk with you about “Acceptance and Change” and how the two go hand in hand. In couples relationships and couples therapy, couples often come with a version of what Fritz Heider called “the fundamental attribution error,” which basically says “I’m okay, and you’re defective.” Or, in couples therapy, it’s usually, “I’m OK, my partner’s defective. Fix my partner and we’ll be OK.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. None of us can change unless we first feel accepted. The two Rogers, Carl Rogers, and Mr. Rogers taught us that lesson.

Carl Rogers, the Great Twentieth-Century American psychologist and founder of humanistic or client-centered psychology, taught us about unconditional positive regard and he said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change and it’s only then that I can change.” Mr. Rogers, who my generation was raised on, taught us unconditional acceptance and love. So in a couple relationship or in couples therapy, we want the attitude to change from, you know, “I’m OK, my partner’s defective,” and “I want you to change,” to “I love you, I accept you as you are. I don’t want you to change, but for God sakes, will you change?” So remember, acceptance comes first and then change is possible.

If you’d like to learn more about couples therapy or Gottman Method Couple’s therapy, please give me a call at 904-289-2954 or contact me through my webpage at