Marriage and Couples Counseling
Marriage can be satisfying and challenging, frustrating and fun, and when couples hit rough patches they often slip into unhealthy patterns that can perpetuate the frustration, hurt, or disappointment they’re feeling, leaving them alone and alienated from one another. What’s happened? They have lost the fundamental attachment, the emotional connection, that helps them feel loved and valued and secure in the marriage. Over time these painful patterns can become habitual and destructive, creating distance and mistrust.
My work with couples is informed by Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy and in my work I help couples to see the painful and conflictual pattern, the dance, they’re engaged in and also to understand the oftentimes unconscious needs or fears that are driving the dance. Knowledge is power and knowledge here can provide the impetus to change. Our work involves re-establishing a more secure and solid connection in the marriage.
Once this emotional bond is re-established and safety and trust return, other areas of conflict like finances, kids, careers, sex, in-laws can be discussed without the white hot radioactivity previously felt. Within the security of the attachment, we can see ourselves, our spouse, and the world with new eyes and begin to risk new things. We see the inevitable differences and conflicts that occur in marriage as the seedbeds for deepened understanding and intimacy to grow because the attachment to one another is solid.
My style is conversational, casual, with a teaspoon of humor tossed in. At the start especially and throughout the course of therapy, I ask a lot of questions. It’s important to me that I have a clear and accurate understanding of how you see the dynamics and problems and strengths in your marriage and that you feel heard and understood. These are essential to establishing safety, trust, and confidence in our work together.
Some couples I meet with wish to integrate their religious beliefs or spiritual values in the counseling process. Given my background and training I am comfortable and adept in helping them do this. I have worked with and respect different religious/spiritual orientations.