In couples therapy, your relationship is our primary focus. Intimate relationships can be wonderfully fulfilling and also excruciatingly painful. In our most intimate relationships, we often reenact old dramas and get stuck in painful ruts. Without knowing it, we may pick or groom our partners to match characteristics of our earliest caregivers. Unconsciously, we often seek what is familiar in hopes that our new relationship will magically fulfill and heal us. At the same time, we dread that it won’t. We get stuck in old childhood expectations and frustrations.
I help couples recognize their version of this cycle of blame, shame, and injury. Once projections are contained and understood, the couple can rediscover more of what is hopeful and healing in their mutual respect and love for each other. The hurtful distancing or clinging can be understood at its source and the early childhood pain acknowledged, understood, and treated. The core healthy desire to be a life partner and have a life partner is reclaimed. In the safety of our therapeutic alliance, the couple has difficult conversations. Healthy communication is strengthened. Intimacy is restored. The intimate relationship deepens and is more fulfilling.
I work with heterosexual and gay couples. For heterosexual couples, all the above dynamics are true with the added challenge of being able to understand the impact of gender diversity on the communication styles, gender role prescriptions for dependency needs, and unconscious expectations laid down in early family gender roles and social scripts. We will respect this complexity in our work and you will grow to embrace the richness this diversity brings to your lives.