Premarital counseling and couples counseling can be among the most important investments you make in your lifetime. Communicating better, learning how to resolve conflict and taking healthy risks to work through underlying issues can lead to a relationship filled with more ease and security. It can also increase connection and intimacy and serve as a solid foundation to support you through other aspects of your life.
I work with couples who find themselves in conflict over many issues including:
Sexuality and Affairs
Time Apart/Time Together
Shared Household Space
How to Show Love and Offer Support
How I Work
Without exception, deeper underlying relationship issues keep the above conflicts going. I help you identify your relationship templates, including strengths and challenges. Together we look at how these ways of viewing self and other come into play in your current relationship and how they create the patterns you experience. In a safe, supportive environment I guide and support couples through the steps necessary to feel safe enough with each other to risk sharing and asking for what really matters to them.
I work experientially, which means what is happening in the moment matters. Paying attention to tone, body language, eye contact and affect and working with it in the room are crucial to relationship work. My approach is informed by various approaches.
Emotionally Focused Therapy. EFT’s guiding principles for couples work are based on the aspects of relationship that help us feel secure. These include needs for safety, being heard and understood, feeling respected and knowing we are accepted, wanted, cared for and loved. EFT creates safety in order to express these longings in a way partners can hear. It also aims to restore bonds that have been compromised.
Hakomi. The name is a Hopi Indian word meaning “How do I stand in relation to these many realms?” It uses the practice of mindfulness to go beyond insight to gain a felt experience of relating to yourself and others more fully. This experiential approach also supports integrating these new experiences into a new way of being.
Gottman Method. John Gottman identifies 4 forms of negativity that are so lethal to relationships that he names them “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” They include criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. One of the method’s best-known tenets to help offset these forms of negativity is the 5:1 ratio. His research found that relationships are much more likely to be stable as long as there are 5 times more positive interactions than there are negative ones. This method uses tools that build on this finding.