Internal Connections Counseling of West Michigan

PO Box 97 Casnovia MI 49318 PH: (616) 690-0652 Email:


Michelle Woodison-Evans LMSW, CAADC

In couples counseling I used to feel like a coach at a wrestling match and have even been tempted to buy a gym teacher’s whistle. But, now things are a bit calmer with a few simple rules for couple’s therapy:

  • * No yelling - which only serves to activate and sustain the presence of angry parts
  • * No trashing one another (name-calling)
  • * Use empathy – rather than judgment or criticism.
  • * Nothing said in session can be used to hurt the other outside of session

Sometimes one – or both partners – have parts that are stuck in the past from trauma or abuse. I generally work with those parts – either individually or in the presence of the partner- depending on comfort levels. As traumatized parts are brought into the present, we often meet some guarded parts. But as they realize the resources of the present are much greater than those of the past, and get to know and trust one’s “Self-state,” as well as the partner’s Self-state, an amazing shift often occurs. Rather than having each person operate from cut off aspects of themselves, they learn to operate more from the “Self” state – which is centered, objective, balanced and aware of the parts; compassionate toward them, yet no longer willing to allow them to be in control.

I also teach communication and conflict resolution skills and emphasize the importance of mutual respect. We may explore Gary Chapin’s “Five Languages of Love,” (Northfield Publishing, 2009) and have each partner identify their most important needs, and discuss ways their love tanks are being – or could be - filled in the one or two areas that would speak love most clearly in the language of their heart:

  • * Acts of Service
  • * Physical Touch
  • * Words of Affirmation
  • * Quality time
  • * Gifts

Since people generally try to love others in the way they want to be loved, they often become frustrated when their efforts are not received with the appreciation hoped for; yet, there may be a real love-language barrier. Knowing the language preference of one’s significant other can be very beneficial as well as knowing, and communicating, one’s own love language preference.

The reasons for coming to couples counseling are numerous – ranging from feelings of hopelessness about a marriage on the brink of divorce, one or both partners stuck in patterns of intermittent rage., alcohol or drug problems, parenting challenges, financial problems, infertility, affairs, and the list could probably fill another page. I love the challenge and variety of couples counseling. For some, unfortunately, the best answer is divorce or break up for those unmarried. But even this process can be a lot less painful – in the long run - with counseling. When the channels of communication are opened in a safe protective place it can be healing. Yet, I have also witnessed several couples weather impossible situations with love becoming stronger and sweeter after couples counseling.


I have extensive experience working with people of diverse backgrounds from various population areas including Grand Rapids, Newaygo, Fremont, Mecosta County and Ottawa County.


Please call 616-690-0652 or use our Contact form to get started on a healthier happier you.

Couples Counseling | Substance Abuse Counseling | Family Counseling  | Mental Health Counseling | Contact US

PO Box 97 Casnovia MI 49318 PH: (616) 690-0652 Email:

Michelle Woodison-Evans LMSW, CADC

Serving West Michigan
Grand Rapids MI | Muskegon MI | Newaygo MI | White Cloud MI | Fremont MI | Greenville MI |  Sparta MI  | Grant MI | Cedar Springs MI | Grand Haven MI | Whitehall MI |  Kent City MI  | Howard City MI | Ravenna MI | Coopersville MI