With a little work, and the right kind of help, you can make your relationship better
Hi. I'm Betsy Sansby. For 35 years I was a licensed marriage and family therapist in Minnesota. I've counseled over 1000 couples, worked with hundreds of individuals and families, led countless therapy groups, supervised other therapists, and worked with teenagers struggling with addiction.
On a more personal note, I've been happily married to my husband for as long as I've been a counselor, and together we raised a daughter who just turned 35 and still thinks her parents are cool. When our daughter moved to California we followed. That's when I decided to let my Minnesota license go and become an online relationship coach. In Minnesota, clients had to come to my office––which often meant driving through ice, sleet, and snow. But now–– through the miracle of FaceTime and Zoom––I can work with you no matter where you are.
How I Work
I like to hit the ground running. So whether I’m seeing you by yourself or with a partner, you can count on us moving fast and covering a lot of ground, even in your first session. Clients tell me that when they leave a session they often feel like they've just had a really good workout––only with a relationship coach, instead of a personal trainer.
We begin with a check in. When couples show up to a session feeling hurt, scared, pissed off, or hopeless, they’re not looking for insight. They're looking for relief. That’s why we always start with the present. What just happened that brought you here? I want you to leave each session feeling better about each other and hopeful about your relationship.
But symptom relief is just where we start. I want to help you look beyond your symptoms and make lasting changes that take your relationship to the next level. Let's figure out what needs to be done. Then let's make an action plan and get to work.
The bottom line is this: If you want to change how you feel about each other, you have to change how you treat each other, starting with how you talk to each other.
And to help with that, I've created a set of communication tools that make hard topics easier to talk about. Each tool was inspired by a different communication challenge my clients were struggling with. How to be honest without sounding critical. How to get mad without getting mean. How to apologize and admit mistakes. How to make requests and show more appreciation. And how to express hurt without your partner getting defensive.
You'll get to know the tools because you'll be using them in your sessions. Whenever a conversation starts to go south, if there's a particular tool I think might help, I'll have you try it out while I coach you. Once you feel comfortable using it with me, you'll take it home and practice with each other. The next time I see you, we'll check in on how it went, and if you ran into trouble, we'll try it again.
Expect me to...
Don't expect me to...
About My ToolsView Tools
"Betsy's communication tools are deceptively simple, and profoundly effective"
The next time they showed up, I had them try it out, using their own situation as the topic, and the tool asa new way to talk about it. To my great delight, they worked. And clients loved them.
Although my tools have evolved over the years––thanks to continuing feedback from lots of clients––the basic format has stayed the same. Each tool addresses a different communication challenge we all struggle with.
How to say:
Can I Be Honest?
I Have a Request
And lots more. You can click here to see all of them.And here's an example of one that's been filled out.
What My Clients are Saying
Sint Odit Est
Why can’t we talk at home like we do here?” That’s the question I kept getting asked at the end of a couples session. And that got me thinking.
What if I could create tools couples could use at home to build on the successes they were having with me? Simple tools that structured their communication in a positive way, so practically all they had to do––besides thinking hard––was fill in the blanks and pick words from checklists? That way, instead of having to wait for me to help them in-person, they could "take me home with them" (as many of them requested, half in jest, half out of frustration).
It was the perfect challenge for my brain. Whenever a couple hit a snag in one of their sessions, I analyzed the problem and created a tool I thought might help them work through it.
The next time they showed up, I had them try it out, using their own situation as the topic, and the tool as a new way to talk about it. To my great delight, they worked. And clients loved them.
Once I had created the tools–which were first cards and then an app and now downloadable PDFs you can get here for free––my standard practice with new couples was this:
I’d first assess where they were getting stuck in their communication. Then I’d select the right tool to help them get unstuck.