Relationship Distress

We are all wired for connection.  This can affect any couple regardless of any initial match that seemed “perfect.”  Rediscover intimacy.  Rebuild trust and connection.  Replace dysfunctional ways with intentional and compassionate interaction.


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Wired For Connection

Are you feeling anxious, overwhelmed, sad or uncertain in your relationship?  Feeling safe with someone is fundamental to our well-being.  It’s how we lead meaningful lives that are satisfying and purposeful.  And romantic love isn’t some weak sentimental notion.  It’s genetically encoded into our make up by thousands of years of evolution and tied to our survival.  In other words, it’s a necessity and worth getting right for our overall well-being.  If we can’t well bond to others, it will affect our survival and quality of life.  For many, bonding intimately with a particular partner is the only close relationship we have.

Relationships take more than attraction over the long haul.  But the work need not be terribly complicated or take years of therapy.  In fact, research shows that relationships can thrive even if partners don’t have similar interests,  and are otherwise imperfect. 

That said, while it is normal to have difficult moments and disagreements in relationships, one relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman, states that many couples wait about six years before they seek help with their relationships.  This makes it so much easier to sustain unhealthy communication and behavior that frustrates connection and makes it hard to build the trust and intimacy in which connection thrives.  You don’t have to wait that long!  Prolonging the repair of your relationship subjects you to needless suffering and the likelihood of a broken relationship.

One of the gifts of working from an eclectic mind-body approach to relationship work is being able to help couples of varied backgrounds find intimacy and connection despite being imperfect, different or limited in terms of communication skills, emotional depth or lack of “couples work.” 

Do You Recognize these Attachment Themes?

  • Drag out fights loaded with reactive anger and focus on “winning.”
  • Accusations, comebacks and blame.
  • Feeling shut out of your partner’s life and activities.
  • Focus on getting a rise or any response out of your partner.  
  • Feeling unimportant.
  • Longing for emotional response or touch.
  • Sensing you cannot depend on our partner.
  • Fearing or experiencing constant rejection or abandonment. 
  • Feeling numb.
  • Not knowing how one feels.
  • Failure.
  • Experiencing frequent shut down. 
  • Feeling inadequate.
  • Walking on eggshells.
  • Emptiness.
  • Lacking confidence in abilities.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Feeling judged.
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Therapeutic Path

Adult relationships contain much nuance and complexity.  The task is to figure out different life experiences that combine with a variety of adaptations and nuanced communication patterns and behaviors.  Certainly, no two relationships are alike and what works in one case, may not work in another.

To unravel the complexity and address the root cause of each unique relationship, I draw from a number of therapeutic modalities to meet your needs that include Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT),  Attachment-based, Existential, Solution-Focused, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Gottman Principles.  

In other words, I work with whatever works best for the couple rather than a prescribed approach with a set of number sessions.  You decide what you want and when therapy is complete based on your goals, outcomes and healing.  Do you have secure attachment in your relationship?

My approach to couple’s therapy is from an attachment and trauma framework.

By working from this perspective, I can help partners learn each other’s automatic reactions in order to increase their sense of safety, understanding and love.  

A Progressive Approach to Your Therapy

I don’t play mediator analyzing the content of your arguments and deciding who’s right and who’s wrong.  Instead, the emphasis will be on identifying and breaking repeated behavior patterns that get nowhere and developing renewed connection.  

You won’t need to learn artificial and fake sounding communication skills to grow closer.  You will develop natural attunement to your partner and to yourself to nurture your relationship in a natural and accessible manner.

Intensive Couples Workshop

Hold Me Tight® Intensive

For those of you who are not quite ready for therapy or wish to enhance a relationship or work on rebuilding trust in a relationship affected by conflict and disconnection, the Hold Me Tight® Workshop offers a convenient solution on a time sensitive basis.

Over a four week period, you can experience a deep dive into the dynamics of your relationship to improve your connection with your partner.  The workshop consists of facilitator presentations, video demonstrations of other relationships, as well as practice exercises with your partner that are conducted in privacy.  You have access to a licensed couples professional who can provide you with live feedback in the session, also in privacy, if you wish.  The cost of the workshop is $450 per couple for the entire series.

You can supplement the workshop with individual/extra sessions, as available, before, during or after the workshop. LGBTQIA partners are welcome.

Hold Me Tight EFT Relationship Workshop

Change the dynamic

“Rather than memorizing a list  of coping skills, learn how to listen to your emotions and change the signals that you convey to your partner.  To pull them in when you are feeling distressed instead of pushing them away.”

The Couple Bubble Zone

There’s something heartfelt about that seemingly effortless connection we might have witnessed in which the intentions of two people appear aligned and synchronized.  If we are truly blessed, such an observation resonates deep within us because we have experienced this ourselves.

There’s an energy about this interaction that connects to nervous system. We recognize this connection and might deeply yearn for it if it currently missing in our lives.

The goal of couple’s therapy is to help individuals attain this synchronicity that is sometimes beyond touch or expressed purpose. As effortless as this interaction may seem, the foundation of such connection is based on the nuances of secure attachment:

  1. Presence
  2. Nurturance
  3. Repair

As simple as these notions might appear, they often evade those who did not experience consistent emotional support in their childhood.

Chronic stress or trauma can rob an individual of these abilities later in life regardless of one’s secure childhood.  (Though research shows that secure attachment  in childhood can act as a protective factor against later PTSD notwithstanding significant trauma).

What might be sensed as spontaneous and deep connection in others is likely the result of consistent and dedicated practice on the part of each individual in ongoing investment in the relationship and intentional repair when needed.  

These activities are learned.  Warm and loving relationships take investment. The right investment. We cannot cajole or bargain our way into such connection.  Such behavior can result from codependency or trauma in which subconscious defenses teach us to disconnect in a misguided attempt at safety. 

The couple bubble requires each partner to sustain vulnerability for the simple reason that connection requires vulnerability.

This is part of the focus of couple’s work and where the significance of individual work becomes more obvious: there’s more than one nervous system at play in a couple. 

This shifts us to the framework of the type of couple’s work you will find here.  There’s a very significant part of couple’s work that is individual work.  This might be done in individual therapy or as a part of the work in couple’s therapy.  

Conceptually, in couple’s therapy we work with the (1) individuals who make up the partnership, (2) the couple, and (3) what I refer to as the “space in between.”  

Interested in Couples Therapy?

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