Conflicted Couples

We grow up thinking we will find our “happily ever after” in real life, when we meet the right person and decide to share our life with that one. But real life is much harder as the “ever after” extends year after year. Did you know that on average couples wait about seven years before ever coming for help when there is conflict? It is common to get into a pattern that leaves you feeling disconnected and alone. That pattern is painful to you both, whether you have been together for a short time or for forever. If your relationship has been complicated by an Affair or Betrayal, or by one or both of you having an Addiction, there may be even more pain and shame involved as you try to find your way back to each other.

When I work with the two of you, I will be a third partner alongside you to help your relationship. I will help you to see how what you do is motivated by how you feel, and how your body’s biological reaction to stress is involved. I can invite you to be curious and to find more space inside yourself to have an open-hearted conversation. You really can do the pattern differently, changing the process so your needs can be met, and I will help you learn how. I may also help you to learn to apologize well and repair the connection if something does not go quite right. It takes courage to try the conversation in a new way together, but when you can do it and feel your partner is really there for you, you both can be seen and known in the ways you deeply need.

You may have heard about adult attachment theory, linking how you were cared for and nurtured in early childhood with how you expect to be cared for and nurtured as an adult. I have training in Sue Johnson’s Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) which helps to strengthen and create a secure attachment bond with your partner. I also have training in the Gottman Method of Couple therapy, based on research with thousands of couples to show what really helps relationships succeed. What I am most excited to share with you, however, is what I have learned in Toni Herbine-Blank’s Intimacy from the Inside Out (IFIO) trainings which draw on IFS theory for use with couples. IFIO invites you to find the secure connection of primary attachment inside yourself, with a secondary bond with your partner. Then you can still help whatever emotion or pain might be triggered inside you even in the inevitable moments when your partner is too tired or distracted or otherwise is unavailable to you. You will have the option to act successfully in the ways that will care well for your partner and yourself, creating a closeness and intimacy that you may have been missing.