People often avoid coming to couples therapy because they think it might be painful, they think it will make things worse, or they are afraid of being judged by the clinician. Couples therapy is some of the most rewarding work I do and the most fruitful. People learn things about themselves and recognize patterns that are difficult to see when in therapy alone. Many people envision that by coming to therapy with their partner, they are dedicating an hour to continuing to try and resolve what has so far felt unresolvable. In fact, our sessions will focus on building the skills that allow you to feel fulfilled and secure in your relationship so that you are not consistently stuck in the details.
I am well-versed in the many forms of relationships people enjoy and I am accepting of them all. Our job in working together is to find ways for the sexual experiences to feel safe and acceptable to all parties. I am certain you want your sexual experiences to feel meaningful and empowered, but this often requires a high level of communication skill with your partner. I generally do not recommend pursuing less conventional sexual lifestyles until your relationship and you feel ready. Whether you are exploring your own sexual boundaries, recovering from infidelity, or processing past trauma, working with your partner in therapy can have great benefit.
Let me tell you the first ingredient for change: having a sense of humor. I will help you find the humor in the session and show you how humor can support you making the every day changes you want in your relationship. The idea is to hold a compassionate space for ourselves and our partners, knowing that we are all imperfect, and that learning new ways of interacting with our partner can take time and require behavioral support. I repeatedly say to couples "it's just skills" and I mean it: by examining our behavior and the emotions driving the behavior, we take back control and start to be the person we want to be as a partner, lover, and friend. I want to help couples step out of the cycle of negative emotional reacting to each other and find a way to respond from a sense of core values. Who do you want to be in this relationship? I will show you how!
My recommendation is to develop a relationship with a couples therapist, address your initial concerns, learn skills... and then come back for tune-ups. Your relationship dance is specific to you, so you need someone who can stay objective, but provide feedback about patterns and guidance on skill building in the moment. Most people start couples therapy because they are feeling desperate and nothing else has worked to resolve the problem. If I could wave my magic wand, I would have people start sooner and then keep checking in as needed. The difficulty with couples therapy is not in how well it works, but rather in how long people wait to start. Treat your relationship as you would your own body- regular check-ups, healthy habits, and addressing symptoms as they arise.
Quick facts about my approach:
- I use the Gottman Method in nearly ever session
- I use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy nearly as regularly
- I incorporate Collaborative Problem Solving
- I do not judge, but I will always be direct and honest. In fact, this is what people tell me that they like most about working with me.
- I am well-versed in problems of domestic violence. I will identify any of these patterns quickly and bring them to your attention. No one deserves to feel unsafe and controlled.
"In the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."