Couples Therapy for Managing Differences
Are you at risk of losing your relationship, or wondering if there’s hope? Or are you wanting to work through challenges as you explore deepening intimacy, and explore new levels of commitment?
When there’s love, conflict can lead to deep pain. Bonding, touch, and sexual intimacy trigger not only evoke deep pleasure, and hormones including oxytoxin, but also the potential for trauma based fight/flight reaction. When differences arise, it can bring up your emotional wounds from past relationships or family-of-origin patterns, leading to repetitive “stuck” conflicts or patterns of disconnection.
As your couples therapist, I support you to shift painful arguments, or experiences of disconnection, back to flow, intimacy, connection, and improved communication, so you can see how you want to grow together. I help you get out of the cycles of reaction into greater safety in your being, honoring your feelings and your connection.
Here are some issues in which I support you
* Support in having difficult conversations
* Learning skills to navigate difficult conversations on your own.
* Making communication easier
* Staying True to Your Own Needs, While Staying Connected
Navigating differences and conflict
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.
Healing Through Relationship
Relationships can be a source of healing with support.
* Building Conscious Relationship
* Healing Intergenerational Trauma
* Early Childhood Trauma and Mental Health Challenges in Relationship
HONORING YOUR WISDOM AND RELATIONSHIP
I support you in having insight and skills so that you can become a more “intelligent” couple.
I listen carefully to both your needs, and also the dynamic between you, providing holding for that which is hard to hold by yourselves. I have been told I can be both sensitive and strong, and hold complexity.
As a somatic psychotherapist, with training in somatic and relational therapy approaches focused on emotion, attachment and communication in couples. I tune into both verbal and nonverbal cues. I may support you both in using touch, movement, and ways of working with neurobiology of trauma healing, to establish greater safety.
I see your relationship as a source of healing and information, and take a non-authoritarian approach that deeply honors your meanings, values, and history that contributed to who you are. My goal is to find support you in finding that spark that matters between the two of you, in your unique world you make between each other.
HOW WE BEGIN
My approach to couples therapy begins generally with both partners in the room, though at times I may ask to meet with you briefly separately. It starts with your goals for what you want to address.
From the first session, I will be working with you to identify the emotional patterns of conflict, that repeat themselves in the issues you are facing, as we address the challenges you face, and to find the similar patterns within differences.
This approach, which draws from Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, recognizes that, under stress of intimate relationships, we can enter fight/flight push-pull patterns, that take over and make underlying issues harder to address. Oftentimes, in situations of stress, it becomes hard to truly listen and be heard, or to truly know what is most authentic for yourself or your partner, in relationship. I trust that you have come to me for a reason, and that there is a spark of that connection that we can uncover, alive or not, that can be rekindled to guide your way to the relationship you seek.
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. In many cases this can occur within the first few sessions. 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. During the whole process, we will be working to support you in recognizing what you need to feel safer, more intimate, and authentic in together. Sometimes these skills are learned through communication skills. Other times, the experiential process and holding of therapy supports the learning of new neurological responses to emotional conflicts.
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 also 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.
Depending on your situation, sessions are generally weekly. In some cases, couples may choose to meet for an intensive of more frequent sessions, or longer sessions to start - for serious concerns, or space sessions apart. If you seek to explore other options for your needs, please let me know when you reach out.
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.