Therapy for Couples
When you come to therapy as a couple, it is sometimes to get help dealing with children, or family, or stressful life events, or medical problems, or addictions. But often, more deeply it is for help healing hurt, rebuilding trust, resolving or managing conflict, feeling safe and nourished together again, and restoring intimacy.
My couples therapy includes teaching about what makes relationships thrive; knowledge of how to heal pain and disappointment; coaching in how to build openness and trust; interventions to change unhappy patterns of interaction and manage, if not always resolve, conflicts; suggestions of how to enliven the relationship and deepen intimacy; and most of all, demonstrations of how to treat each other with more respect, compassion, and loving responsiveness.
Whether you are a same-gender or opposite gender couple, of the same or a different race or ethnicity, you bring to your relationship different biologies, brains that work differently, different personal histories, and different family cultures. Understanding and appreciating those differences go a long way toward making your relationship work. So we do that too.
Because there is a lot to learn, and relationship change only happens when you change, I do ask you both to continue therapy at home. I ask you to read about how to make your relationship better. I ask you to spend more time together, playing–having fun, engaging in new experiences together, bringing alive parts of yourselves and each other that time, routine, and self-protection have buried. And I ask you to try out new, specific ways of behaving with each other–a little at a time, so you can see what surprising results can come from a seemingly very small change.
If you are in the process of coupling, or planning to marry, it’s a great time to do some counseling now. Knowing what makes relationships thrive from the outset, where you are likely to encounter conflict, and how to manage conflict so that it doesn’t cause real wounds to your relationship save a lot of trouble and pain, and make for a lot more happiness together.
But no matter how long you have been together, therapy can help you make positive changes that matter. As an old Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”