Relationships can be tough work. It’s natural to feel disconnected and even fight occasionally with your significant other. However, if love is fading or connection has been replaced with fighting, counseling can make the difference between a failed relationship and a successful one.
Many couples who have lost hope in their relationship can get back to a place of satisfaction, communication and connection through therapy. Many people worry about a counselor’s partiality, and it’s a valid concern. You and your spouse should choose a counselor who you both can feel comfortable with, and who doesn’t “take sides.” I am Systems-based in my approach, which means that I look at your relationship as my client, and I focus on the themes that are not working, not who is to blame. The only exception is in abusive relationships, for which I use education instead of shame to help you stop this destructive interactive pattern. I have experience working with many concerns such as: communication, lack of trust, betrayal, personality differences, intimacy/sex issues, emotional concerns, financial concerns, and parenting.
My husband and I are in practice together and offer co-therapy for couples. This style of therapy incorporates the best of individual and couples work to get even the most difficult issues resolved more quickly than traditional couples counseling. Each partner in the couple sees either myself or my husband, Dustin individually to discuss their perspective, emotions, and concerns. Afterwards, Dustin and I will consult and develop a plan and exercises tailored to the specific relationship dynamic. Clients will attend co-therapy sessions, where all of us are in the room. During these sessions, we will teach relationship building skills, connection exercises, and offer a safe environment to process disagreements and emotions. Dustin and I will offer authentic feedback from our unique therapeutic perspectives. If needed, we will engage in individual sessions in conjunction with the co-therapy sessions, in order to process any secondary concerns that arise during the couples work.
I also offer the Prepare/Enrich program for Pre-Marital and Married couples who are interested.
This includes a 10-week program with a comprehensive assessment and skill building exercises. Prepare Enrich is very useful for couples who would like to learn more about each other and their relationship before marriage (Prepare) and for married couples wanting to improve their relationship (Enrich).
Marriage Counseling & Couples Counseling
The number one concern that I hear in my office is related to communication. I often hear something to the effect of: “I just don’t understand why he doesn’t help me with _________! I ask him all the time to help, I feel so disrespected and unloved!” And, then I will hear, “She nags me incessantly, and when I do try to help her, she says I don’t do it right, and she does it herself! What’s the point? I am so frustrated, she is so vague and I never know when I’m going to be in the “dog house!”
It’s so hard to really hear what someone else has to say, when you are constantly building your own case.
That’s when I can help. I can help both parties accept accountability for their own part in the dynamic. I can teach and help clients put into practice, important communication and assertiveness skills to enhance their relationship. I can help them re-connect in a loving and accepting way, so they feel replenished emotionally. Once communication is repaired, the love and intimacy that was possibly lost, can re-emerge even stronger than before.
Trust and Betrayal
Trust is not a natural occurrence that just happens. It takes a conscious decision to trust someone else. Some people, due to having good prior relational experiences or optimal childhood experiences, have an easier time trusting people. For others, hurt feelings, failed past relationships, and family of origin issues result in hesitation toward or unwillingness to trust others. To them, it feels like they are not able to trust, but through therapy and when they are ready, it is possible for them to trust again, no matter what has happened to them.
Trust can also be hurt by a relationship betrayal. Betrayals are not always the classic physical affair. They can also be an emotional bond with another person that interferes with the emotional bond in the committed relationship. This is particularly harmful if the other person is made to feel crazy for feeling betrayed or hurt. If betrayals are not processed and repaired, trust may continue to erode the relationship until it ends.
I help couples who struggle with trust and betrayal, by helping them accept what has happened, create new relationship rules, and work on creating the conditions that make it safe for them to choose to trust again.
Everyone is different. We all have different characteristics, desires, needs, abilities and weaknesses. These differences give spice to relationships. The differences make it interesting and keep people from getting bored. For some couples, the differences in personality are remarkable. However attractive these differences are in the beginning of a relationship, people can begin to resent the differences as the years and decades go by.
When dealing with opposing personality types, I work to find the strengths inherent in this dynamic duo. I help each person in the couple find out how to stretch themselves to get their partner’s needs met. I help them to feel empathy for one another and to find areas that they share common ground and interests. Communication skills are essential to help them understand each other.
In relationships characterized by different personalities, positive changes elicited through counseling can lead to a very satisfying and exciting relationship!
Tolerating an unhappy relationship is not necessary! I can help you and your spouse find out why you are struggling, how to repair your relationship, and teach you skills to get your relationship back on track.