My Approach to Helping
I am a seasoned couples therapist. Although I see many individual clients, individual growth and change are also part of good couples therapy. My primary orientation in couples work is based on adult attachment research using Emotionally-Focused Therapy for Couples. EFT offers a road map for transforming relationships from distant or conflictual to safe, secure, and bonded. EFT helps couples see how they become caught in vicious, negative cycles they perpetually reinforce. The goal is to break the cycle and to uncover unacknowledged fears, longings and needs. The first stage of EFT is about de-escalating conflict. In the second stage of the work the focus is on restructuring the couple's bond with each other. In the third stage, couples work to consolidate the secure base they have begun to experience. Additionally, I draw from a vast body of research on couples and on divorce to guide my work.
Many couples see me for premarital therapy or before making a transition to live together. Preparation for marriage is empowering and can help couples avoid common relational traps and patterns before problems solidify and threaten the attachment bond. On the other end of the spectrum, when couples are on the threshold of divorce but are not certain it's the right step, they may need a space to slow the process down. Meeting 3-6 times, together and separately, I help couples navigate this ambiguity and confusion. This process can help couples begin a trial of couples therapy with a renewed commitment. Sometimes the process helps couples face the inevitability of break up so they can begin the divorce process with greater steadiness. When divorce is inevitable, sometimes a period of contained meetings with a therapist can reduce the conflict between separating partners. This process is carefully managed by the therapist to reduce blaming and attacking. The separating couple can proceed in a way that honors the good parts of their history and that gives them tools they can take into future relationships. When children are involved, this process helps their new limited partnership as co-parents.
I love what I do and have spent many years developing as a psychotherapist. I am active, relational, open and practical. I've trained broadly because recent innovations in psychotherapy are exciting: they enhance what therapists can do to alleviate suffering and to support emotional healing. In practice for over 30 years, I believe effective psychotherapy goes beyond talking about feelings and gaining insight into behavior. Although I appreciate and use psychodynamic and family systems theories to understand psychological trauma, I have found that newer experiential and relational therapy models help people connect to core emotions and parts of the self that are often blocked or misunderstood. Usually they are hidden from awareness. As the capacity for accessing emotions increases and therapist and client process those emotions, people begin to grow stronger: the past no longer determines future behavior, emotional states or relationships.