Relationships Can Bring so Much Joy. They Can Also Trigger Intense Pain.
Are you suffering in your relationship? Or has the connection faded? Maybe one of you feels betrayed by the other and trust needs to be rebuilt? Or maybe you or your partner just got bored or disappointed over time and want more out of your relationship. As a couple evolves, differences or lack of effective connection and communication can lead to building resentment, fighting, and hostility. Perhaps your relationship is going great but you want to utilize the latest understandings of how to make it even better. Couples therapy is a specialty of mine. I have spent thousands of hours researching and learning effective couples therapy. Whatever your situation, I am absolutely confident that I can help.
Not only do I love helping couples in my practice, but I also love delving deep into the latest research and insights on couples dynamics. In fact, my passion for the field has led me to publish several peer-reviewed articles on the topic. Want to see for yourself? Click the links below and check out my published works. See the evidence of my dedication to the field of couples therapy:
Healthy relationships are the foundation of a happy and meaningful life. The sense of belonging and connection through relationships are incredibly powerful driving forces. Let me help you build your confidence in navigating relationships – from communication and emotional skills to complex dynamics that affect how you and your partner see each other. So many of us struggle in relationships – from choosing the wrong person to date, to putting our own needs last, to having trouble accurately reading our partner. But relationships are complex and exciting, and I love working with clients to explore and deepen their understanding of intimacy and emotional availability, or to learn how to handle specific recurring dynamics.
As a couples therapist, I have specialized training in the latest and most effective approaches in couples therapy. My couples counseling is very experiential, attachment-oriented, and rooted in an understanding of the brain and arousal states (such as trauma and nervous system regulation). The field of couples therapy has evolved significantly, and old-school approaches like communication training are less effective because they focus on the more verbal, rational parts of the brain. These parts of the brain, and all the skills we learn when we are calm and collected, go offline when we are very emotional or upset.
Recent advancements in couples therapy have expanded our tool-belt and have allowed for faster and more powerful change. I have brought these new tools into my practice through advanced training in cutting-edge approaches to couples therapy. These new approaches focus on how the brain works, how arousal and threat-responses lead to triggering behavior, and how secure attachment can be facilitated. This type of couples work helps people understand how their partner’s brain works, and what they can do to shift both people’s brain states from fight or flight to safety and connection.
When we don’t feel safe, our minds are primed to attack or shut-down. In these difficult moments, verbal or rational solutions simply don’t work. Through touch, tone of voice, proximity, and other techniques, couples can learn to communicate to subcortical parts of the brain and shift their internal system away from defense, attack, or freeze to collaboration, support, and mutual care.
Couples Therapy Approach
Because couple issues can be complex, they demand evidence-based practices.
The approach I use with couples is Emotionally Focused Therapy.
Strengths of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love. These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.
- EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients combining experiential Rogerian techniques with structural systemic interventions.
- Change strategies and interventions are specified.
- Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
- EFT has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
- EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.
Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- To expand and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
- To create a shift in partners’ interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction.
- To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.
Whether your relationship is in crisis or you just have some things to work through that could be easier between you, we are here. Couples counseling is the strength of our practice. If you would like support, please reach out!
If you’re ready to get help with your relationship, fill out the contact form below!
An Example of the Change Process
In their eighth session, a husband’s numb withdrawal transforms into profound vulnerability as he shares his feelings of not being able to meet his wife’s needs. He asserts his desire to be seen as capable and becomes more accessible to her. He moves from “There is no point in talking to you. I don’t want to fight.” to “I do want to be close. I want you to give me a chance. Stop poking me and let me learn to be there for you.” Through this process, his wife’s critical anger also shifts to fear and sadness as she expresses her desire for more connection and love. She moves from “You just don’t care. You don’t get it.” to “It is so difficult to say, but I need you to hold me, reassure me, can you?”
Emotionally Focused Therapy helps couples to identify and transform negative cycles, such as pursue-withdraw or criticize-defend, into positive, self-reinforcing cycles that create permanent change in the relationship. The relationship becomes a safe haven and a healing environment for both partners.
Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on research that a healthy couple bond can serve as a profound source of healing and growth. The longest longitudinal study on humans (which tracks participants for 75 years), clearly showed that relationships are the most powerful predictors of one’s physical and emotional well-being. On the flip side, couples can do damage to each other when they are not in a good place. It is important to be proactive when it comes to one’s partnership. Couples therapy does not need to be a last-ditch effort. It can be a space of exploration, a time to get to know your partner more deeply, share a bonding experience, and develop a mutual vision of your life together.
Don’t let relationship troubles bring you down. Whether you’re in the midst of a crisis or just need to work through some issues, I’m here to help. As a specialist in couples therapy, I have the skills and knowledge to guide you towards a stronger, healthier relationship. Don’t struggle alone, reach out to me for support. Let’s work together to navigate any challenges and create a more fulfilling partnership.
Here is a video that I created that explores a few principles from Emotionally Focused Therapy and the field of neuroscience that can help couples feel more secure, connected, and happier in their relationships.