Starting couples therapy often takes a leap of faith that requires both courage and curiosity. In my couples therapy sessions my goal is to help couples:
- Understand the underlying causes of relationship distress
- Become collaborative vs. combative
- Introduce ways of cultivating repair and deep relating
- Apply and practice techniques for healing
- Deepen trust, closeness and shared delight between partners
Some of the most difficult issues that we face in relationships are linked to the unconscious strategies that keep us feeling stuck, small, afraid and unlovable, to name a few. There are many ways in which a couple’s relationship might become strained, unfulfilling or marked by growing mistrust. Regardless of the issue, the problems that couples face can often cause deep emotional distress for each partner and friends and loved ones as well.
Fortunatley, intimate relationships can survive and overcome almost any kind of conflict. While repairing a marriage or long-term or even new relationship is not easy, repair is not only possible but can be invigorating with the right kind of support. I subscribe to the shared philosophies of psychologists, Ellen Bayder and David Mars who believe that effective couples therapy is a process that involves the following three, sometimes overlapping, phases: 1. Identifying Relational Dynamics, 2. Disarming Negative Dynamics, and 3. Strengthening Intimacy.
1. Identifying Relational Dynamics/Negative Patterns
The challenges that couples face are often the result of one or several relational dynamics or patterns. In this first stage, we work to demystify and recognize the negative patterns undermining the relationship.
2. Disarming Negative Dynamics/Patterns
Once the negative patterns affecting your relationship have been identified, I will help you recognize the underlying causes of these patterns. When partners understand the context of their own and each other's reactions they can access lost empathy and communication may flow more easily. Here, changes are tailored to your particular dynamics as a couple. Small deliberate adjustments addressing your particular dynamics as a couple may be sufficient to significantly improve and enhance intimacy and connection.
3. Strengthening Intimacy
In this final stage, I will help you practice and integrate the positive changes you have made. Focus is aimed at strengthening the couple's understanding of how each partner connects emotionally so that each may grow more aware of how to meet each other's needs and desires more fully and effectively.