For many of us, maintaining a loving relationship is the hardest job we will ever do. Why does it have to be this way? In the beginning we are like two little kids sharing ice cream – having the time of our lives. But eventually someone has to take care of those little kids, buy the groceries, make supper … you know, provide the infrastructure. All too often the people involved don’t have the skills they need to take care of their relationship so they can have more great times. I teach these skills to all couples who come in for assistance.
Frequently when couples start therapy they know they need to communicate better. Better communication is not about getting your partner to understand your position so (s)he will comply with you. Couples need to comprehend that how they communicate is just as important as what they communicate. For example: a wife may feel like her husband doesn’t listen when she is talking about what is important to her. She doesn’t realize that the way she speaks makes her husband feel like he is getting a lecture. Perhaps in her need to be understood and fear that she won’t be, she gives so many details that her husband is overwhelmed by her words and tunes her out. When people know each other well, they can be very subtle in how they set each other off. Understanding how this all happens often brings humor and makes it possible to come together with compassion instead of defensiveness.
I am particularly skilled as a couple therapist at following your moment to moment interactions. During the session I will illustrate how you hurt or disengage with one another. You will learn how to avoid these moments or repair them once they have happened so that an enduring trust between you can emerge. Avoiding or interrupting negative patterns will help you move from distancing and power struggles to a deep intimate connection. I give partners guidance and suggestions so you can bring what you learn in the sessions to your lives at home. Let’s work together so that you can enjoy again what it was that brought you together in the first place.
In couple therapy sessions I draw on a variety of therapy approaches that I have learned over the years including Gestalt Therapy, Transactional Analysis and the work of John Gottman.