Have small differences become the source of conflict in your relationship, growing larger and overshadowing the intimacy that used to be there? We’re not born with skills to navigate the challenges of diffferences, but we can learn! Even when you have many similarities -- cultural or racial differences, regional differences, personality differences, gender socialization differences, differences in how you were raised, or opinion -- can lead to conflict. These underlying (sometimes obvious, sometimes not in your awareness) patterns from the past, ingrained values, or even stuff you thought you had worked through, can show up as get closer and deepen commitments.
I particularly work with couples where one or both members are immigrants or children of immigrants, Asian American, or also navigating cultural differences intergenerationally from their parents.
Differences in personality style
Differences in conflict avoidance/anxiety
Parenting values, family of origin values
Differences in what you need
I also work with these issues
*Building Conscious Relationship
* Healing Intergenerational Trauma
* Affairs & Other Betrayals
* Parenting, child, household conflicts
* Early Childhood Trauma and Mental Health Challenges in Relationship
whAT SESSIons ARE LIKE
From the first session, I will be clarifying your goals, and getting to know you both and as a couple. From the start, will be diving into identifying the emotional patterns of conflict, that repeat themselves in the issues you are facing. You may be surprised how quickly these patterns appear as you begin to discuss what shows up, and how much can be known.
Under stress of intimate relationships, we can enter fight/flight push-pull patterns, that take over and make underlying issues harder to address. As you become conscious of these patterns we can begin to address them.
In most cases, after the first session, I hope that we can have a plan of action for our work together. In most couples come out of the first session already with some relief, glimmer or hope, or shift.
If you are, like many couples I see, coming with an intense amount of arguing or disconnection, our first goal might be to reduce some of the intensity.
However, this is often the start of the work, as you then begin to understand more how to sustain connection, and work through patterns while addressing other layers of issues that matter to you.
THE WORK OF COMMUNICATION
Communication is not all verbal. During session, I may at times guide you to slow down, sense in your body, or pay attention to non-verbal cues of emotion between you as a couple, and support you in ways of communicating and sharing feelings. I may jump in to steer your conversation in another direction. I am holding you both individually, and as a couple, so that both neither of you get left behind, and to support you to grow through your differences.
What we do together is often systems centered. As a couple you are creating a relationship that is more than just two people. A systems perspective is a theory of how systems work well and evolve, and of how in your system, differences can foster intimacy, rather than lead to disconnection. I will be inviting you to engage in specific ways of relating that can teach skills, through experiential learning, of the underlying missing links in your ways of relating.
This is the heart of the work. This can be a depthful process, of really learning more about yourself, each other, and what is happening between the two of you, as well as get back in touch of what you both want to happen between you.
Other things that happen in session may depend on your needs, but they can include
repairing the hurt
sharing difficult things
restoring capacity to listen
recognizing underlying feelings
learning communication skills
understanding specific differences
revisioning your relationship
WHAT RESULTS COME FROM THERAPY
Therapy results depend on you, your relationship and your work, and often the unexpected arises. No couple is the same. However, when work is effective, couples experience
improved intimacy and trust
reduced conflicts, better ability to handle conflicts
better understanding of each other
ability to move forwards and grow together
skills in supporting one another
resolution of impossible differences
HOW OFTEN DO YOU MEET
Couple come in a variety of patterns, all of which can be workable, depending on your situation.
I offer sessions weekly, every other week, or in intensives (over an hour, or multiple hours). Session length can vary from 60-75 minutes generally, except for intensives.
If you or your partner are in individual therapy, I may suggest I be in communication with your therapist to better support each of you in relationship, though this is not required.
If you’re interested to begin, or have additional questions, I invite you to reach out.