Honest Communication & Trust
Being in an intimate relationship is probably one of the most fulfilling yet most challenging endeavors in one's lifetime. At its best, a relationship can be a safe and loving place for you to feel free to be yourself, where you can flourish and love openly without fear of emotional abandonment or engulfment. Yet intimate relationship is also where our defenses and fears can get stirred-up because of differences or emotional "triggers" (ie. tender places in people that have been harmed in the past). When this begins to happen, communication can either shut-down or become aggressive and relating to one another in an open & honest way becomes very difficult. This is where I help couples by strengthening the skills necessary for honest communication and fostering more trust in one another.
Much of my work is to help you and your partner access what your inner experience is and effectively communicate this with each other. I coach couples in listening skills to make sure the feelings and concerns discussed are received and truly understood. When couples feel heard & understood by one another, they naturally soften their defenses and develop a closeness that strengthens the relationship. As you gain these skills you will begin to respect and empathize with each others experience without alienating each other or yourself.
I am trained in Emotional Focused Therapy as well as the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT). I help couples understand their attachment styles and how it may be hindering how you connect with each other. In other words, I will explore how your way of responding to your partner (which often comes from childhood experiences & attachments to primary caretakers) may be adding to ways you become stuck in unhelpful patterns with each other. I also utilize moment-to moment tracking of each of your face, body, & voice as you engage in dialogue and help couples pay closer attention to what each is feeling and sensing so we can begin to understand when and what creates safety (comfort & closeness) versus danger (defensiveness & emotional withdrawal). It becomes easier to bring awareness and change to these dynamics when an objective, trained ear is listening for this and chiming in.
I offer an initial phone consultation so that we can determine whether I may be able to help and be a good fit for the both of you.
“A quarrel between [a couple], when made up, adds a new tie to friendship, as experience shows that the callosity formed around a broken bone makes it stronger than before.”
-Saint Francis de Sales