- Stuck trying to make big decisions about the future?
- Constant fighting that goes nowhere?
- Has trust been broken and seems beyond repair?
- Is your relationship reeling due to a recent job loss, death in the family, or an affair?
- Are you having sex infrequently or not at all?
If your relationship is under stress, chances are it’s affecting your entire life. Current attachment research indicates that the status of our most important relationships directly impacts all other areas of our lives, especially our physical health and self-esteem.
Engaging in couples therapy is an important step towards improving your overall life. It is very important for you to feel emotionally safe while sorting through the problems you’ve been having in your relationship. I will take pains to understand the particular circumstances of your couple, including sexual orientation and ethnic background.
How Can Couples Therapy Help?
Couples having problems tend to engage in cycles of coping that cause problems over time because they become too rigid. These cycles tend to distract you from what is really going on and what could possibly make things better. During the first session, I will help you and your partner begin to identify the cycles you resort to when you are in conflict. I work under the guiding principle that it is the cycle that is bad – not you, not your partner, and not the relationship itself. Together, we will begin to slow down interactions between you and your partner so that you can understand the underlying feelings you are each having when the cycle gets set in motion.
I will help you understand your individual roles in how your couple has been functioning without pointing fingers or assigning blame. You each have unique personal histories that inform how you experience intimate relationships, and it is important to understand when your “buttons” are being pushed. As we talk about the things that tend to cause problems in your relationship, I will help you avoid the usual pitfalls of your problematic cycle and help you start communicating in a new way. This will allow your couple the safety to begin tackling difficult subjects – money problems, sexual issues, decisions about children, etc. – that have been lingering without resolution for some time.
Couples Therapy for Sexual Issues
Because so many couples come for therapy with sexual issues, I realized several years ago that additional training in sex therapy was necessary in order to be an effective couples therapist. There are surprisingly few couples therapists who are also ASSECT-Certified Sex Therapists, and I happen to be one of them. Common sexual issues that I see in couples therapy include infrequent or no sex in the relationship, problems with sexual compatibility, problems with sexual performance (e.g. erectile dysfunction), and histories of sexual trauma. Sexual issues, especially when there is avoidance of sex by one or both members of a couple, can easily become part of a couple’s negative cycle. I can help you slow down negative interactions around sex, and together we will look empathically at your feelings and sexual histories and how they might be affecting the current situation. I will then guide you as you begin to have new and different sexual experiences as a couple.
In addition to my background in sex therapy, I am also certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a non-blaming couples therapy modality that has undergone extensive research and been shown to to produce positive changes in couples’ functioning that stand up over time.