How I work with Couples
Roy Lichtenstein, Oh Jeff I love you too but

As a Marriage and Family Therapist I have been trained extensively to work with couples with or without children, first or second marriages as well as couples dealing with the blending of two families.
My focus is on the relationship itself, which then becomes my client. This helps remove eventual transference or alliances between the therapist and “one side or the other”.

When do Couples Seek Help?

Couples, who courageously seek treatment, often admit to finding themselves stuck, sharing less of themselves within the partnership and struggling to keep alive the memories that made them fall in love with each other. One or both feels lost, confused, scared, hurt, angry, resentful and deeply disappointed in one another as well as in themselves. Couples often struggle with self blame, guilt, loss of self-esteem and emotional rawness triggering issues of traumatic past events such as fear of abandonment or previous betrayals.
Symptoms can range from unexpected physical ailments, changes in patterns of eating, of sleep, lack of sexual desire to moments of deep depression and overwhelming anxiety. Often mutual empathy and patience have disappeared and been replaced by blame, retreat and dismissal. There is what I call an “empty pillow” between the couple. This can lead to emotional, or sexual attraction to others, alcohol abuse, gambling, verbal or even physical abuse, excessive porn watching on the internet and other destructive behaviors. Sadly, this resentful disconnect trickles down to home life, the children, the couple’s social life and of course professional performance.

How the Work Unfolds

Our work together will explore not only the causes but also the core of disappointed expectations, the individual life patterns and “stories” that have led up to this negative dance.  Typically after three couple sessions, I will split you up and see you two times each individually. These sessions are not meant to be accusatory, or lead to sharing of “secrets”, rather they allow you to share your personal story, explain yourself, your needs, your hurts, your fears, even your mistakes. This gives more depth to my understanding of you as individuals and what you each bring into the relationship.
After those sessions, we will resume our couple work with the understanding that either of us can call for an individual session if the need arises. We will dig into the process underlying the arguments that so often start through money, children, sex and lead on to internal, individual scars, needs and longings that are not being met over and over again. I will help you reach towards each other rather than away from each other, thus gradually healing together your inner wounds.

Sometimes it is too Late

Unfortunately, sometimes couples therapy is tried as a last resort and started “too late” for even the most skilled professional. Years of blaming, distancing, hurting, have created such anger that hope is gone. My role then shifts as I help you clarify this to each other in a respectful and dignified way. This is essential work when there are children involved, as parents divorce each other but never should divorce their children. The parenting bond lasts forever and I help you understand and accept that respectful communication is mandatory. I will help you develop your own toolbox to better address the many “crazy times” that will continue to bond you together.

Success

My hope and ultimate goal as a couple therapist is to help restore safety, affection, laughter, and intimacy through better understanding of each others’ deepest beliefs, pains and desires. Together you will recapture the faith that you still belong together and the will to take on the team approach. We will explore specific tools (I might give you homework and reading) and projects to reach together, to help rekindle cherished and safe communication, which in turn will restore the true meaning of partnership for your couple.

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