There are countless books written for couples by contemporary psychological theorists for couples. Although approached from different vantages, they seem to share the common view that the “journey of the heart,” a phrase used by author John Welwood to refer to the process of loving, can often be fraught with difficulties.
Although persons are usually adept at forging friendships, few begin their lives as adults understanding or appreciating the rigorous commitment and sustained open-heartedness needed to foster and nurture prolonged intimacy with another person.
When conflicts emerge, they often begin to doubt the viability of their relationship, rather than recognize the conflicts as a part of the ebb and flow of coupled life. As a psychotherapist, I enjoy helping couple recognize and value the opportunities for self-development, learning, deepening closeness and reconciliation offered by the exploration of the differences, conflicts or other difficulties they experience in their shared lives with their partners and spouses.
As we begin to meet, we will talk together about your individual and shared lives, to try and understand the challenges you are experiencing, as well as what may be needed to begin the process of emotional reparation, reconnection and renewal that so many couples long for as they begin the process of therapy.
In addition to helping you develop more insight and awareness regarding your dynamics as a couple, I will help you develop the interpersonal skills you will need to navigate or traverse impasses or tensions in the future with less impact on your experience of closeness.
Depending upon your needs, I can also assist you to:
- Understand and express your needs for contact and connection
- Understand your cycles of conflict and how they often correlate with unconscious or unacknowledged needs and desires
- Develop new ways of addressing habitual patterns of conflict or "interlocking sensitivities"
- Reconnect emotionally or develop more intimacy
- Affirm and renew your commitment to one another and to a process of conscious learning as a couple
- Cultivate the opportunities for learning and development that can derived from the thoughtful exploration of your problems or difficulties
- Understand one another and your strengths and vulnerabilities as a couple
- Trace the correlation between your early lives and your experience of one another and your relationship
- Understand and express your needs authentically and non-reactively
- Understand what strengthens and fortifies your feelings of closeness, including after ruptures in closeness
- Understand what fuels and calms feelings of mistrust and frustration
- Develop strategies and skills for managing and resolving conflicts and for communicating more effectively when stressed
- Develop or adopt rituals or practices that will support, nurture and sustain your life as a couple, and nurture closeness between you
- Develop your capacity for self-reflection, intimacy and trust, as well as emotional regulation when arguing or distressed
- Cope with infertility, infidelity, sexual difficulties, divorce, remarriage, financial or employment stresses, loss, grief, parenting conflicts, cultural tensions, a personal history of trauma, depression, anxiety, disability, illness, care-giving or aging, or any other source of stress or adjustment in your lives
Persons seek therapy for many reasons and at many different stages of their lives together, even when they are not experiencing any overt difficulties. Some seek the process of psychotherapy to strengthen their bond, reflect on their choices as a couple, mediate potential conflicts before they arise or prepare for the next step in their lives together.
I work with heterosexual, same-sex and gender-diverse couples, some early in their lives as a couple. I also work with couples with highly conflicted relationships, uncertain of their futures, or whether resolution of their difficulties was even possible.
Whatever your needs or circumstance, I would be happy to speak with you by telephone, and answer any questions you might have, or arrange a preliminary appointment. Generally, I like to meet with a couple for an initial 1.5 hour session to become as acquainted as possible with their situation.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ― Lao Tzu