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Couples Counseling

 

Conflict Style

In my office, I see many types of couples. Maybe you recognize yourself:

  1. You are constantly fighting. Sometimes it’s hard to say why. You weren’t always this way! At the beginning you agreed on so much. There was passion, connection, and goodwill, but, now, the positive aspects of your relationship are dwindling and the criticisms, disappointments, verbal attacks and/or disengagement are taking over.

  2. Something happened. Something changed your sense of security within the relationship. One of you did something to jeopardize the bond. One of you was tempted to stray. Perhaps there was an infidelity. Maybe the bond got jeopardized in other ways. We can feel abandoned by an affair, our partner’s outsized focus on work, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or simply due to a partner being physically or emotionally absent during a crucial time.

  3. You are the kind of couple that rarely fights. In fact, it’s hard to talk about the difficulties. Both of you prefer to let things go. It doesn’t feel like any one thing went wrong. It’s just hard to find the excitement in your connection. The relationship feels passionless, disengaged, and too quiet.

  4. There is a sporadic quality to your connection. The two of you get close, but don’t ever seem to get close enough. One of you may be in the role of pursuing while the other withdraws, or perhaps both of you have a tendency to withdraw. It feels like the relationship sometimes lacks both depth and stability.

  5. It seems like only one of you gets to have a voice, gets to have his or her needs met, or gets to have feelings. The other partner feels minimized. Maybe both of you feel minimized, at times, or the two of you get stuck in roles that feel limiting and ungratifying.

Honesty

To start, I am interested in understanding where you are in this relationship.

Do you both want to do the work?

We start with honesty. Not the barbed kind, but the kind that allows for an interplay. When we’re at an impasse, it can feel impossible to have two opinions and two sets of needs co-exist. My job is to help you do that. My job is to help you communicate in ways that allow you to have difficult, nuanced conversations, with two perspectives, while you learn to understand each other.

When we start getting honest, we can get to the heart of the matter. We can start to know what went wrong and how to sort it out. Sometimes we develop habits that are detrimental to a relationship. Sometimes our patterns run so deep that we’re not even conscious of them. My job is to help you understand how the two of you impact each other. When we get conscious about what we’re doing in the relationship, we can get a handle on how we really want to treat each other and how we can start creating behaviors that nourish the bond.

What can you get out of couples counseling?

Here are some of the things couples learn with me:

  • What their patterns of conflict are 

  • How to move from conflict patterns into more productive, love-engendering behaviors

  • How to have difficult conversations

  • How to listen to each other without being defensive

  • How to communicate so that the other will listen

  • How to repair trust if trust has been broken

  • How to behave in ways that create alliance 

  • How to prioritize the relationship and give it value

  • How to take responsibility for their individual and collective needs 

  • How to say “Yes” to what feels good

  • How to create boundaries and say “No” in ways that foster the connection

  • How to build habits that make the other feel cherished and loved

My client couples learn how to work through the conflict and return to the connection. They learn how to value the relationship by creating behaviors that allow for trust and alliance. 

It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it!


For a free phone consultation or to set up an appointment, please call 415-744-1994.