How Can I Help?
If you’re tired of trying and waiting to feel loved, secure, engaged, and happy in your relationship, I have good news.
When you have an experienced third party, a trained coach, a counselor, referee in the room, things change. Probably the most important thing I offer couples is a third pair of eyes and ears. I translate what you can’t get each other to hear. And I do it in a quiet, safe space where each person is honored. I’m not a judge looking for the “bad guy.” I’m looking for whatever is overlooked, that piece of the puzzle that the two of you keep missing when your argument doesn’t get resolved.
The problem with putting off the solution is, in relationships, things usually get worse. Sure, problems come and go, and some years may be worse than others. Life happens. But when the pattern of communication is a problem, things can keep heading downhill. Getting help early can spell the difference between tolerating each other and feeling truly connected. It can also help you reverse course so that you can avoid losing the relationship altogether. The old adage “ignore it and it will go away” can really come true. But what will “go away” is a person you love and the life you planned together.
Sometimes the decision on whether to invest in your relationship is this: what is likely to happen if nothing changes? And more importantly, what would it be like if you could have a healthy relationship? What would be better? How would it impact your daily life?
Marriage Counseling: Guidance and Information Make a Big Difference!
The field of marriage counseling has really grown and improved by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years. That’s good news, because it was not so great for far too long. Time, experience, research and insight have greatly expanded what we can do to help couples thrive. I have extensive training in both Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Gottman (Level 2) Therapy. Both are highly researched, effective, proven methods that help couples overcome problems and reconnect.
Decades of research and practice has revealed a lot about counseling. For one thing, just learning “how to behave” is not really helpful. Most of us know how we SHOULD behave. Who doesn’t know that you shouldn’t ignore someone you love, or say cruel things, or that spending time together is important? But for some reason actually doing the right things in the moment is much, much harder to do. What we’ve learned is there are reasons couples find it so hard to resolve disagreements and to feel connected, and those reasons usually involve how we feel when we are around each other. Research also shows that specific training in marital counseling is essential.
How Does Couples Counseling Work?
Couples counseling works by providing structure, providing a sort of “referee” for your disagreements, and most of all zeroing in on what you are missing. There are usually many things that you may know but which you don’t even realize you are saying (and not saying!). I’m here to help sort through that and guide you to learn to do it yourself.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) offers a structured approach. It helps you understand what’s happening inside your relationship. Your emotions are often a guide that tells you what is important in a situation. They guide your behavior and decision-making in general, and especially with your partner. EFT focuses on helping recognize your underlying feelings. Then it gives you tools for expressing them effectively, and for choosing actions that have a positive impact. Communication becomes more clear and helpful.
Therapy using Gottman techniques helps couples to practice new ways of communicating. It’s a very clear and reliable way to learn to fight fair, resolve longstanding problems and focus on reconnecting with fun, affection, and all the good stuff that brought you together.
Get Started NowThe Lasting Impact of Marriage Counseling with Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
The overwhelming majority of couples who enter EFT therapy (and stick with it) find lasting improvements. Even more exciting is that with this kind of counseling, couples continue to improve long after finishing therapy. Why? Because it doesn’t only target your “problems” — it targets your patterns. It targets the WAY you look at problems, and each other. When these improve, you can tackle old and new problems in a better way.
EFT has been the focus of a great deal of research in recent years. To see some of the recent research, click here.
Dr. John Gottman has been studying marriages for decades and has focused his research on finding the specific behaviors that are the most corrosive to a relationship. Changing these behaviors can change the direction of your relationship so it can begin to grow instead of deteriorate.
When I sit with a couple, I am careful to listen for what unique approach will be needed to be the most helpful. For some couples, defusing recurring arguments is at the top of the list. For others, it may just be helping them become aware of their unexpressed needs or even learning to share things they didn’t know they were withholding from their partner. It’s very individual, of course. No two couples are exactly alike.
If a couple comes to me for help in keeping the marriage together, my goal is to do everything I can to help you do that. The only exceptions are in cases where there is clear danger to one partner or the family if he or she stays.
It’s not just about staying together. It’s much more than that. I think the quality of your marriage is at least as important as the length of it! Marriage counseling with me is about how to break through the stuff that gets in the way of making your life together happy.
“It’s Not The Years In Your Life, It’s the Life In Your Years.”
I could say the same about marriage. When you hear about a couple that’s been together for decades, there’s no tactful way to find out how many of those years were good. You also can’t ask how many were terrible, or how many were on autopilot. Seems rude. But the question is a huge one. What kind of relationship do you want? While constant happiness is not a goal I find reasonable, I do think that being out of misery isn’t too much to ask. After that, building up to mostly happy with occasional bursts of total joy should be within everyone’s reach. If we can’t have a foundation of “pretty good, most of the time,” what are we doing? And what about “pretty great sometimes”? Should that be a daydream, or a goal? I think it should be a reality, and reality starts with a goal.
Questions? See a list of Frequent Asked Questions on this page. You can learn all about how to schedule, what a session is like, rates, and why I don’t take insurance. If you have other questions, email is the best way to ask: firstname.lastname@example.org
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