Adult partnerships are the most similar to our early caregiver relationships, and the conflict we experience in romantic partnerships is often tied to early experiences of unmet attachment needs and adaptation to those unmet needs. For this reason, the conflict can be particularly painful and triggering. The good news is that adult partnerships can also be places of profound healing for these exact wounds, if we bring awareness to patterns of re-wounding with intention to heal, and a desire not to repeat harm. Neuroplasticity offers the opportunity to carve new mental and emotional neural pathways that will stay wired, with practice and intention, and offer new experiences of soothing, connection, and safety.
In couples therapy, I integrate multiple modalities such as Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Gestalt, and somatic approaches, and take a humanistic experiential and systems perspective. This means we’ll not simply explore the content or facts of relationship events and conflicts, but rather, how hard relationship events, as well as moments of connection, are processed and taken in. I help partners expand their experience, try new things, and modify their interaction patterns, in-session. As a couple, you’ll be asked to experiment with new ways of being with each other, and to check in with yourself about how you’re receiving and integrating them.
We’ll also explore self-support, and how to soothe yourself when your partner isn’t available. We’ll practice listening to each other, and learn some tried and true techniques, like non-violent communication. We’ll use the therapeutic space to practice awareness of projection and the importance of subjective reality: the fact that what may be true for one of you might not be true for the other. We’ll also explore power dynamics, and how decisions are made for your system.
I’ll start by getting to know the unique culture of your relationship: both of you as unique individuals, and also the unique system you share with each other, with all its strengths and stuck spots. We’ll work to establish enough emotional safety between you to explore feedback loops of repetitive conflict, then try alternative, new ways of interacting. Lastly, we’ll integrate those new ways of interacting, so they become an ingrained part of your system.
I approach couples work with a profound respect for how you’re currently functioning as beautifully adaptive, and the best you’re able to do with your current level of awareness and tools. We’ll explore the strategies and collaborative coping and support that are working, as well as those that might no longer be serving you, and find new interaction patterns that work for your specific couple system. However you both arrive, you’re welcome here.
Common concerns that bring couples to therapy, and my specializations, include: