We humans are wired for connection. Relationships provide both our biggest rewards as well as challenges. That’s why relationship difficulties can shake us to our core. When our partnerships are at their worst, people describe feeling criticized, helpless, hopeless, angry, overwhelmed, misunderstood, heart-broken, devalued, and resentful. How can we find our way back from so much negativity?
And when things are not right at home it can impact in all areas of life – mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc.), physical health, confidence and self-esteem, connection to others, the ability to concentrate … the list is long.
With even a little toxicity, trust vanishes from the relationship. Our partner can feel like a roommate, a stranger, or even the enemy. We may find our emotions escalating from zero to a hundred over seemingly trivial things.
Instead of reaching out with the tools of connection (compassion, empathy, openness), we hunker down and find ourselves highly defensive. Our attempts at safety (protecting ourselves from the pain) paradoxically have an insidious way of entrenching the issues we are dealing with into relational patterns. This is the dance we do with our partners that seems to make no sense to us, but plays itself out over and over again “Her nagging makes me feel like I do nothing right.” “His shutting down leads to my feeling unloved.” We attack, shut down, or oscillate between the two.
Can you imagine a pattern where both parties desperately want something better but every effort to make positive change (including ignoring the problem) leads to more suffering? If you can, its likely Couples Counselling is for you.
Identifying these patterns is clearly an important part of the work we do in Couples Counselling. Whether your relationship needs a complete overhaul or a minor tune-up, I encourage you to give me a call and we will lay the pathway for your journey towards respect, trust, intimacy, and love.
My mission is to support you in creating a relationship that nurtures the best qualities of you as individuals AND supports connection, compassion, and love.
My job as your Therapist is to be on the side of the Relationship and to work towards having both of you get there as well. This does not mean at the expense of yourself, but rather in concert with your hopes, dreams, values and vulnerabilities. Relationships take work to grow and maintain. Conflict is inevitable and when we learn to navigate the needs of the relationship as well as each partner, our connection can flourish. Our ability to successfully overcome these challenges dynamically improves us as both a couple and individually.
My process starts with the therapeutic connection. I endeavor to create a safe space to explore the nature of the conflicts and ingrained patterns in a way that will allow for understanding, connection and healing. We will identify not only the elements of the relationship that are causing disconnection, but also explore your individual and collective strengths in order to leverage these assets within the therapy. And we will address compassionate and healthy ways to for the two of you to speak your truth: understanding and practicing honest communication.
I integrate a variety of evidence-based theories and therapies in my work with couples: psycho-dynamic, attachment, EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), Polyvagal Theory, Gottman, Mindfulness, among others, inform my process. I work with couples of all sexual orientation / identities.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”
Research suggests that the average couple endures six years of relationship problems prior to starting couples therapy. Six years! It is such a strange paradox, but people’s suffering keeps them stuck. Fear and pain can lead them to NOT address their problems. This is a common, very human reaction. We need and crave change – we dream about things being better. Until we don’t. When we are afraid of what will come, it can strangle our hope. Then we find ourselves going through the motions. We feel stuck. Hopeless. Then we believe nothing could change … or will ever change.
For many, taking the first step is the most difficult part of Couples Counselling. The fact that you are reading this now may suggest that your relationship is in need of help and that things may even get worse without the help of a trained professional. I encourage you to make the call and see if couples therapy could be helpful for you.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, peace is the ability to deal with conflict.”
Research demonstrates that when couples commit to treatment, enjoy a strong therapeutic relationship with the therapist and earnestly pursue the relationship, success is possible.
“What if our problems are really bad? Is there hope? My answer to this question is always the same: if both of you are invested in making it work, it’s definitely possible although it won’t happen overnight. It may take a lot of time and energy to change, but remember, your problems did not show up overnight either.
I invite you to call me today to discuss how we could work together to get your relationship back on track and building towards a loving connection once again.
“We get together on the basis of our similarities; We grow on the basis of our differences” – Virginia Satir
It is a magical time having found the love of your life! Sharing our lives on such a deep level is difficult to put into words, but we know how it feels – amazing, powerful, grounding, joyful. But it will also be a lot of work (more about this later).
What are your expectations of your partner and the relationship? Today, tomorrow, 25 years from now? What about values, lived experiences, family dynamics, money, lifestyle? Chances are you are uniting because of what you have in common and how well you fit together. But we know that when adversity strikes, cracks in relationships can develop in areas where there is disagreement. Differences are inevitable and need to be recognized and accepted – through healthy communication and respect, space is made to navigate this adversity. Theoretically this is obvious yet we all may fail to recognize it in real-time.
Research estimates that Premarital Counselling reduces divorce rates by as much as 50%. Also note that 85 – 90% of Premarital Therapy participants follow through with marriage, weeding out 10 – 15% that may otherwise have been part of the divorce statistics. Finally, divorce rates peak within the first three to four years of marriage, so it might make sense to invest in building a very strong foundation for you and your partner as early as possible.
Premarital therapy is a method for you to take inventory of the nature of your relationship and intelligently and compassionately nurture a future unique to the two of you. A process to reflect on needs, expectations, obstacles, strengths, and vulnerabilities.