Couples Therapy

Because love is our legacy.
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“And the heart that is soonest awake to the flowers
Is always the first to be touched by the thorns.” 
                    ― Thomas Moore

About Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy is about making love work. Love is, far and away, the best thing that we do. It is our glory and our power.  While we might strive outwardly for wealth, possessions, and recognition, inside all of us lies a deeper yearning for a total and lasting experience of love. 

Love is also our most important legacy. When we learn to love well, we not only pass it onward, but outward and upward. Love is so powerful that it can actually heal the hurt and dysfunction of prior generations.

So why does this thing that seems so important also seem so hard to find and keep?

The reason is that love dredges up our hidden desires, our greatest fears, and our deepest hurts. When this happens, we either deal with what arises so that we can experience love more fully, or we find a way to shut love out. We numb, we lash out, we withdraw. We blame, we start arguments, we criticize. We engage in power struggles, we distract ourselves, we look outside of our relationship.

The good news is that while there are seemingly endless ways to shut love out, there are only a few secrets to letting more love in. In couples therapy, you and your partner will learn these tools and how to use them properly. 

In couples therapy, you’ll learn…

How to uncover the hidden reasons you’re lacking the closeness you really want

How to communicate in harmonious ways so that you can solve problems creatively

How to recognize when previous history is “leaking into” your present interactions

How to identify which strategies are leading you away from intimacy

How to recognize when you are communicating from a place of fear and defensiveness and shift into a place that is more heartfelt and authentic

Each of us arrives in relationships with a set of “operating instructions” which we’ve absorbed from our culture, in general, and our families, in particular. Couples therapy is a place to critically evaluate these implicit rules in order to understand what is and isn’t working. In therapy, we look at not only the rules that each partner brings with them, but how those rules interact to create and maintain suffering.

If you’re nervous about therapy, rest assured that my “blame” is always on the pattern, never on the people. Most of us come by our less-desireable behaviors honestly, having observed them growing up or learned them in order to adapt to our early environment. The beautiful thing about relationships is that they challenge us to reach beyond ourselves and grow as individuals. You’ll be amazed how quickly things can improve after even a slight upgrade in your relationship tool set.

My Approach

The foundation of my approach is an understanding of the challenge facing modern lovers. On the whole, we are wanting more from our relationships than any other time in human history. We still want the stability and comfort afforded by traditional marriages, but we now also crave emotional intimacy, intellectual stimulation, passionate sex, and spiritual connection…on into our golden years! Unfortunately, most of us are still operating under the rules that worked (or didn’t) for our parents and grandparents. We need a brand new set of skills to match our lofty vision. 

In light of this, I see myself as an emissary for a radically new kind of relationship, the intimate relationship. I believe intimacy is our birthright as humans, and that we do best when living in authentic connection. I also believe that being torn from this natural state is the single greatest environmental contribution to psychiatric and behavioral disorders.  As a result, for me therapy is equal parts recovery and discovery. It is the reclaiming of parts that were lost, sometimes decades ago, as well as the uncovering of something new entirely.

The relationship you want is not out of reach, but neither is it for the faint of heart. I value growth over comfort, and I hold my clients to a high standard. If you work with me, I’ll be asking a lot of you, but it’s not just because that’s what I think you need. It is, without a doubt, what I think you deserve.

I am trained in a variety of modalities that I integrate to create the best treatment plan for your relationship. These include Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Relational Life Therapy (RLT), Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), and Gottman Couples Counseling. I also draw on somatic psychology, spiritual psychology, attachment research, polyvagal theory, trauma theory, multiculturalism, depth psychology, feminist psychology, and gender studies.

Common Reasons for Couples Therapy

Communication Issues

Communication issues are a common source of pain and distress in relationships. Few things hurt like feeling as if your partner doesn’t understand you, or worse, doesn’t care. Couples therapy can help you sort out the nature of these problems, which often point to deeper issues related to safety and trust. You and your partner will learn tools to communicate more calmly, respectfully, and effectively so that you both get more of what you want from your life together. Learn more.

Emotional Distance

Contrary to popular belief, the most common reason relationships end is not due to infidelity or conflict; they end because partners grow apart emotionally, sometimes called “falling out of love.” Fortunately, you can learn to be intentional about cultivating the emotional bond between you and your partner. How do you know if there is emotional distance between you and your partner? Simply ask yourself if you feel as though you matter to them. If the answer is anything but a resounding “yes,” then there is work to be done. Learn more.

High Conflict Couples

High conflict couples are often passionate, loving people who let intense emotions become the dominant force in the relationship. Couples therapy can help you end the cycles of painful escalation so that you can start to build a better relationship. We don’t avoid conflict is; we jut learn to better manage emotions so that interactions are more productive. Learn more.

Sexual Intimacy

Couples often come to therapy feeling as though the passion has left their sex lives. You should know that not only is it possible to have passionate, fulfilling sex in a longterm relationship, it can actually get better over time! Couples therapy can help you get to know each other more intimately while creating a safe space for one another to explore the multiple dimensions of sexuality. Learn more.

Parenting Coaching and Co-Parenting after Divorce

Parenting represents an entirely new phase of a relationship that brings with it its own joys and challenges. I help partners communicate more effectively and develop a clear parenting plan. I also help former partners who are no longer together but who would like to be effective as co-parents. Learn more.

Changing Family Structure

Couples therapy can help you and your partner navigate changes in your family structure, including: having a new child; death in the family; reunifying after separation; military families; older family members moving in; adoption and fostering; and more. Learn more.

Considering Break Up/Divorce

You may be coming to therapy wondering if your relationship is still viable. You may be wanting to “work it out” while your partner is seemingly out the door, or vice versa. In these cases, I offer Discernment Counseling to help you each work your way out of limbo. I can give you an honest assessment of your relationship’s strengths and weaknesses and build a plan to either continue working on the relationship, or to separate amicably. Learn more.

Rebuilding Trust

Trust is a crucial element for a healthy, fulfilling relationship. When one or both partners becomes mistrustful, the relationship can be seriously damaged. Both partners can experience a number of distressing symptoms, including anger, grief, hyper-vigilance, depression, and insomnia. I help couples identify where trust has been compromised in their history as both individuals and as a couple. I also help partners rebuild trust in one another through actions. Learn more.

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