Couples Therapy

Whether you’re committed to working it out, or you’re in the process of deciding whether divorce is the right solution for you, I can help.

Do you wonder if you will ever stop having the same argument with your partner? Arguing is commonplace, but having productive arguments and solving old dynamics is rare.

Other couples never argue, but avoid conflict. By avoiding the difficult things, they find they are not as close as they want to be – they’re good friends who lack passion or spark.

Therapy can help you talk about the things that are most important to you while managing intense feelings. It also helps you listen deeply – past the defensive voice in your head, so you really get to know your partner on a deep level.

I provide a safe, neutral place for both people to be heard and understood so we can look at the things that matter.

I offer several focus options (detailed below), including: 

  • Strengthening Your Relationship
  • Working through Conflict
  • Self-Care in Relationships
  • Deciding: To Stay or Separate
  • Discernment Counseling

STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

My goal with couples therapy is to strengthen relationships and make sure each partner feels valued, heard and respected.  It will be work, but it is well worth the payoff of a healthier and happier relationship.

In couples therapy, I meet once with each partner, individually, to give each person time to discuss their concerns and family history. After that, we continue, all together on the next steps. 

When we come back together, we work very strategically to create a plan. Some of this will be very structured with homework assignments that involve explorations about how to (for example) have constructive conflict, discuss different points of view regarding finances, intimacy, and parenting. Other exercises will be conducted during our sessions to address your unique relationship needs. 

We then focus on various strengthening opportunities during our session, such as: which areas are suffering, which could use some work and discovery of each partner’s strengths, and how we can grow those strengths, to connect even more?

In couples counseling, you can learn to:

  • Create real and lasting closeness and intimacy
  • Ask for what you want, without walking on eggshells
  • See how each person’s childhood experiences and family norms impact your relationship for or better or worse
  • Communicate with honesty and clarity
  • Promote your partner’s growth

WORKING THROUGH CONFLICT

As our relationships mature, and we grow in our individual lives, couples sometimes find that they have grown apart and have different priorities. You may feel as though you no longer even “speak the same language.”

  • Is your role in the relationship something you didn’t originally sign up for?
  • Do you feel you are going through the motions?
  • Are you waging the same battle over and over?

In couples therapy, I teach the skills necessary to negotiate a long, loving relationship, with a partner, that is productive, passionate and comforting.

 

 
  • Develop a relationship vision
  • Listen and be heard
  • Enhance the strengths that are in the relationship now
  • Learn the skills of negotiation and compromise

One of the tools I use with couples is the Enneagram. It helps you see that your partner isn’t doing things or saying things just to drive you crazy. He/She is trying to get their needs met based on their personality style – just as you are. When each of you knows the other’s personality style and how to connect with that style – where you are similar, where you are different – everything begins to open up. You no longer see your partner’s actions as a personal offense. You will realize you both are doing the best you can, given your personalities and your histories. Ironically, it’s from this place of acceptance that couples make room for real and lasting change.

SELF-CARE IN RELATIONSHIPS

One of the hardest things for many couples is finding ways to talk about their need for alone time or time apart. Each of us has varying needs for time to ourselves. This doesn’t mean we don’t love and want time with our partner. But we may worry that they will feel rejected. And it may be that this worry is, actually, based in reality.

When it’s not safe to talk about time apart, some people will communicate through actions or by acting out. This usually causes conflict – accidentally creating the very response you wanted to avoid.

Giving and receiving is essential in long-term, adult relationships. In some instances, it can feel like one person gives too much. In healthy relationships, each person is in charge of their needs, emotions and responses.

DECIDING: To Stay or Separate?

Maybe things have gone too far. You feel your partner doesn’t want to do the work, you don’t want to do the work, or too many damaging things have happened; perhaps some of the non-negotiable things and lines you’ve drawn have been crossed and you cannot go back — but you don’t know how to end this relationship.

Maybe you want to leave, but you don’t know-how and you’re afraid about your future. You have financial insecurities or you’re afraid for your children. You need guidance and structure.

How I can help you:

  • My goal with this counseling is to help you to determine where you are in your relationship, what can be resolved, what cannot, and ultimately, come to a decision.

 

  • We will discuss potential impacts that come with that decision and resources available to support you and your family.
  • I will work with you and your spouse, to talk through the challenges you’re facing.
  • As a result of our initial work, you will either have a closure conversation or start rolling up your sleeves and working on your relationship.
  • I will help you to prepare and communicate your decision to community, family and kids and work with you and your spouse to create a plan.

DISCERNMENT COUNSELING

Is your relationship on the brink?

Perhaps one partner is leaning towards divorce, while the other partner wants reconciliation. Or, perhaps, both are just ignoring the issue and going through the motions?

Perhaps, there’s another issue that feels impossible to get over — like an affair or just falling out of love with your partner. Maybe there’s a chronic, ongoing problem that feels impossible to navigate, like an addiction issue or a depression, that seems to distract any positive attention towards a relationship.

Discernment Counseling addresses these and other issues and supports couples to work through a clear process with an objective and supportive coach — certified in the Discernment Process (ME!).

As a coach, mediator, and psychotherapist, I have a combination of skills that help me to distinguish how to work with, on, and through relationship conflict and/or avoidance, so that you can figure out what you’ll do — instead of not thinking about it at all. It’s hard to be in these places. Relationships are everything — and when they’re not working, they can take a lot of energy out of us.

So… roll-up your sleeves and let’s look at what’s going on in your relationship, so that you know where you’re going and can get clarity and healing — all at the same time.

This Counseling will help you to come out with a clear path for your relationship (e.g., a renewed commitment or amicable separation — or even an agreement to be resourceful because of timing). Things that are going on in the family can mean that you just have to hang in there and wait for a better time to work on your relationship or to leave it. We can set that up as well. But… let’s set it up — instead of doing nothing.

Employing this well-established method, I take couples through a defined process to help them make a decision about their relationship and whether they will continue it or move towards an amicable separation.

We will walk through my five-step, five-week process, which will allow you to make a decision about your relationship.

  • Will you do nothing?
  • Will you go?
  • Will you work on it?
  • Why?

All of these are very important decisions and involve a lot of heartbreak and, usually, your children as well.

In the structured sessions, both parties will meet together with me first, and then I’ll orchestrate the following 90-minute sessions. During these sessions, you will gain valuable, applicable resources for whichever direction you choose to go.

  • Have you been struggling in your relationship, stuck in the exact same place for a really long time?
  • Do you feel like your partner has developed a revisionist history of the relationship, where you are constantly blamed and made to be the bad guy?
  • Did you fall out of love with this person a long time ago?
  • Are they having an affair?
  • Are you feeling like there’s no interaction, that you’re just living with a roommate, and you just can’t go on like this?

If you’re in a state, where you really need to do something about your relationship, please get in touch with me. It’s really hard to remain stuck for so long and yet, it’s scary to move on. I can help you to get unstuck and move forward!

Online Support

I also offer online talks and courses to help you gain clarity, insight and develop the tools for all of your relationship needs.