Counseling for You and Your Other
We are what we are in relationship. In partnership, we can be our best selves, excel our growth and actualize unimaginable potential that is unobtainable as an individual. And, we also often find ourselves relating in ways that confound us, uncertain how much to invest in a particular relationship, wondering why we repeat patterns, and how we've developed habits of relating that cause stress and discord.
Whether you're a new couple, have been married for decades, have an unconventional relationship, are wanting a more amicable divorce, looking to co-parent separately but effectively, or want to change the way you relate to a family member, counseling can qualitatively change the way you see, experience, and relate to another. It can give you the tools to be the person in relationship that you've always wanted to be and to create the relationship you've always envisioned, but have not yet been able to actualize.
My approach to counseling people in relationship is for us to begin to attend to the third entity that is created by the two of you, that third is my client as well, and must be understood and attended to in the way any individual would be in therapy. We'll explore the experience of you being with each other; how it's different than when you are alone; your ideal way of being with each other and in the world; what are you both subconsciously trying to heal in being attached to each other, and how can you help each other to become aware of your subconscious motivations and fears and begin to help each other heal so that you can grow together and become the people you want to be; and what is enhanced, triggered, overlooked when you're together.
Couples counseling in general has shown to be extremely effective. Simply committing to working on the relationship together, increasing communication, and having a third party help to identify negative cycles can begin to build positive cycles and work through the most difficult points in your relationship. But like any counseling relationship, you need to feel comfortable with, and confident in, the clinician providing services. I provide a first free session in order to make sure we're a good fit, and if we're not I will be diligent in finding the right fit for you.
Romantic relationships tend to have well-defined stages that are shared by most couples. The well-known saying, "seven year itch" refers to the statistical fact that the majority of divorces happen around the 7 year mark (often accelerated by external negative events, or slowed down by frequent absences). Couples who sailed through the honeymoon stage, struggled through the disillusionment stage, and unknowingly harmed the relationship during the finding independence stage, often come in to counseling as a last resort during this make it or break it stage. If you find yourself there, know that there is hope! This is a normal progression of committed relationships and being at a crossroads means you both have a choice. Being in counseling at this stage can help to stop the damage being done to your relationship and give you a path that you can walk together toward a more connected, honest, communicative, and authentic relationship that is thriving, instead of simply surviving. Even if individuals have acted outside of the relationship through infidelity, secrecy, heavily investing in activities that are not relationship-conducive, not all is lost.
To forgive, rebuild trust, and be open to the possibility that each person is capable of recommitting and changing in drastic ways, a whole new relationship has to be created. But first both people need to grieve the loss, and let go of the old relationship, to process the hurt caused, and to recommit to starting a whole new journey- one of openness, vulnerability, and growth. Once people have done this, so much is possible!