Couples Counseling

In this TedTalk " What Makes A Good Life - Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness ", Dr. Robert Waldinger, Director of the 75+ year Harvard Study on Adult (Male) Development, shares the three big lessons they've learned about relationships across the male lifespan.

  1. Social connections are really good for us, and loneliness kills.
  2. The quality of your close relationships in mid-life matters to your happiness and predicts your physical health as you age.
  3. Being securely attached in a relationship into your 80s, one where you feel you can count on the other person in times of need, results in memories staying sharper longer.
Money doesn't buy happiness - its our securely attached relationships that create both health and happiness throughout our lives.

Just like individuals, marriages and families have developmental stages that often create stressful transitional challenges. Roles and expectations change and conflicts often erupt, creating relational distress, resentment, hostility, isolation. One solution to building the intimate connections you desire is through understanding and changing your underlying negative stories and reactive patterns of engaging each other.

I work with couples at all stages who want to create or rediscover the positive power of an emotionally connected partnership.
  • Pre-marital couples - Identify and learn skills to start off right
  • Newly married couplles - Confront and solve relational issues early
  • Family formation - Make these major decisions together
  • Married with children -
    • Willing to work to reclaim your intimate connection
    • Put your marriage first as you balance competing time demands and conflicts
    • Create an effective co-parenting team to resolve issues and conflicts
  • Remarried families - Bringing compassion and understanding to difficult, complex relationships
  • Empty nest couples - Commit to rediscovering each other
  • Couples at retirement - Create and explore new dreams for the next stage of your lives

Together, we will work to identify and find effective solutions to address and heal your core relational issues:
  • Communication issues -
    • How to find your courage and voice in order to be vulnerable in sharing your needs and revealing your authentic self
    • How to listen with focused attention and deep curiosity and compassion as you seek to understand your partner at the emotional level of attunement - the felt sense of being seen
    • Identify and communicate your needs for connection, attachment, attention, affection, intimacy, and sex
  • Develop effective conflict styles -
    • Move out of power struggles and resentment
    • Learn negotiation strategies to develop effective solutions where both partners needs are met
  • Flexibly manage and negotiate the fluid space between "I" and "WE"
  • Repair broken bonds - healing relational wounds, disappointments, betrayals, infidelity
  • Address differing relational expectations and needs -
    • Getting on the same team and moving out of power struggle strategies
    • Understand gender differences in managing stress
    • How to understand your partner's needs and respond effectively
    • Bring clarity and agreement to relational roles and responsibilities
    • Balance demanding needs and responsibilities within available time and energy
  • Address money issues and financial challenges by getting on the same team and focusing on finding solutions
  • Identify and address family of origin issues and demands effecting your relationship
  • Learn how to enjoy and find pleasure with one another
We can discuss the use of on-line assessment tools, including the Prepare/Enrich assessment (pre-marital) and the Gottman Relationship Inventory at some point in our work together. These tools can help us zero in on your relational challenges to be addressed and your relational strengths to be celebrated and enhanced.

Individual challenges can contribute to relational distress, such as addictions, depression, anxiety, grief, trauma. Some issues are more effectively addressed in individual therapy. We will discuss assessments and recommendations in the process of our work together.

The focus of our work together is three-fold -
  1. Identify your relational challenges and cycles of connection, learn and practice new relational skills, and build effective and sustainable relational habits.
  2. Identify individual contributions to relational distress and move toward personal growth by addressing these issues.
  3. Commit to and practice positive, engaging ways of enhancing your relationship - in other words, learn how to connect, laugh and enjoy one another again.

Please don't wait to address your marital distress until its too late. Research shows that couples wait an average of 6 years to seek professional guidance for solving their marital distress. Now is the time to invest in what is truly important - your ability to create a strong and healthy relationship - for you, for your health, for your marriage, for your children, for the future.