Couples

I work with couples on better communication, gaining a greater sense of understanding and feeling understood, clarity regarding what is possible in the relationship and the next best steps to take. Most couples are struggling with communication, which is a necessary foundation for relational growth. Many are repeating behaviors that are rooted in the past and don’t know how to change. Often there is a distance that has grown in the area of physical intimacy that has made sex unsatisfying or absent.  For some there is a need to explore the decision of whether to stay together or whether to end or change the form of the relationship.

Sometimes couples have additional concerns such as past trauma, anxiety and other mood issues, infidelity or addictions. I can help you navigate these challenges together rather than suffering the alienation and disconnection that they can cause. By helping you to increase your awareness of yourself and the other person, more honest and caring communication can follow. With tools for redirecting conflict you can learn to shift old outmoded patterns and become skilled in new ways of handling differences.

My work with couples begins with mindfulness, which is simply present moment awareness of your experience and the experience of your partner. By slowing down interactions and getting in touch with empathy, it becomes possible to choose different routes for expressing feelings and needs in a way that your partner can hear. In reducing the escalation of conflict each person’s nervous system can move from fight/flight to the ability to listen.  By understanding personality, family background, gender, or cultural differences, frustration and taking things personally can shift to relief when things finally make sense.  What was previously an adversarial dynamic can change to one of teamwork and finding a way to satisfy the needs of both individuals.

I draw from non-violent communication which is a method of listening with curiosity and caring so that each person feels heard. I help people to understand the impact of individual attachment styles which can create differences in peoples’ needs and tendencies to react differently in the face of conflict and disconnection. While much of the work will be at the level of verbal communication, at times it can be useful to learn new ways of relating and explore deep issues together through experiential exercises. I use both behavioral and somatic-experiential (Hakomi) approaches to help you to learn new behaviors together. Trying things out in session with my coaching can be easier than on your own and in this way new paths get laid that can be returned to later. While at times I will support you in stretching beyond your comfort zone, much of the time we will have fun as well. At the end of our sessions, we will come up with assignments for you to do in the week between our meetings. In this way you will be able to take the work into your lives and make lasting changes.

I work with all genders and ages of people in committed partnerships, marriages, dating, monogamous or not, with children or without, living together or separate. I also specialize in work with alternative relational styles such as polyamorous and BDSM/Kink. Premarital counseling also available.