Therapy for Couples
Relationships bring out the best and the worst in us. Navigating the space between love and heart-break not only challenges us but can reopen our earliest traumas. Sometimes, our partners become strangers to us. Sometimes, we become strangers to ourselves--numbing out from our feelings or exploding in anger as if out of our bodies. I work with gay and straight, monogamous and polyamorous couples on a wide spectrum of issues. I utilize somatic therapy to help individuals find safety, emotional connection, intimacy and passion in their relationships.
Ambivalence in Relationships
Are you or your partner finding it difficult to commit to one another? Or, having made a commitment, are you anxious you made the wrong choice? Initially veiled by novelty, ambivalence rears its head in many relationships; people stay together, dissatisfied with their partners, contorted by indecision and guilt over their inability to be "all in." It can be excruciating for the confused partner and heart-breaking for the one waiting to be chosen.
I conduct therapy with ambivalent couples both on a relational (interpersonal) and individual (intrapersonal) level to uncover the truth and connection in the relationship and to support individuals in healing attachment wounds that keep them stuck. It is important to remember that each partner is stuck--not only the one unable to commit but also the one who keeps holding on. I help couples either to find the strength and integrity to separate compassionately or to uncover the fulfillment and passion to make a commitment.
Conflict / Communication Issues
Are you surprised by how little things escalate into big arguments? Do old hurts fan the flames of new disagreements? Do you or your partner read judgment or anger into seemingly innocent comments, and whose perception is off? There are many reasons partners hurt one another with words, attitudes and silence. Most couples who come into therapy seek help with "communication issues."
I work with individuals to determine whether their conflict is merely the product of different communication styles or an indicator of more deep-seated issues. Reactivity in couples can result from earlier trauma in childhood or other relationships. I conduct therapy to loosen the hold of emotional triggers and to build internal stability that fosters open and heartfelt communication. I help couples find safety to share their true feelings and feel heard. Individuals learn to be aware of and sidestep their escalation patterns and to communicate in a way that builds connection and closeness.
Cheating / Broken Trust
Whether in exclusive or open relationships, partners are sometimes pulled to stray beyond the bounds of their agreements. One partner feels betrayed; the other has an excuse. Or not. "There was no clear agreement." "You didn't meet my needs." "You cheated, too." "It didn't mean anything." Or, "I fell in love." In the face of broken trust, how do you move forward?
Overcoming betrayal (or even the pull to stray) is as much individual therapy conducted in tandem as it is couple's therapy. I work with each partner to reconnect with the relationship they would like to salvage or build anew. Together, we build a container in which to explore deep personal issues and to understand the underlying needs that sought to be met through infidelity. We create the space to process the grief and anguish, healing wounds and restoring internal resiliency and confidence that enable individuals to forgive one another and themselves, and to trust again.