Couples Counseling

All relationships experience conflict. It is not the absence of conflict but the capacity to deal with and resolve conflict that is a hallmark of deeply fulfilling relationships. Sometimes a conflict is too heated to handle without professional help, or a couple can simply feel stuck. My couples therapy approach provides the opportunity to transform old relationship patterns and create secure, lasting bonds with heightened intimacy and emotional awareness.

Here are five primary areas I have found most helpful to couples:

1) Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills. When one’s partner brings up a sensitive issue, many individuals have a tendency to defend, counter attack, or shut down. Any one of these reactions will tend to aggravate the situation. Often the tension escalates and an argument or fight can ensue. In couples counseling, you will learn communication and conflict resolution skills to help you and your partner work through difficult issues and find ‘win-win’ solutions.

2) Healing Resentments. Openly discussing resentments and sensitive issues with a neutral third party in a safe ‘container’ presents the opportunity to gradually dissolve long held resentments and allow a couple to attain a level of connection and intimacy they’ve never experienced before.

3) Making and Keeping Agreements. This is often the ‘nuts and bolts’ aspect of a satisfying relationship. Moving from painful conflict to a mutually satisfying, new agreement is often the key to releasing resentments and into harmonious relating.

4) Practicing Appreciation. Learning to appreciate the differences or polarities you and your partner hold (rather than being in conflict about them) can yield amazing results. You can also begin to integrate the healthy aspects of your partner’s strengths, just as your partner will gradually integrate your own. The result? Two increasingly empowered individuals experiencing partnership with much more intimacy and fulfillment.

5) Mindfulness. Developing emotional awareness – what feeling or feelings are most prevalent in this moment – creates a conducive climate for intimacy. Such a climate is strengthened by being present with what we’re experiencing and taking courageous, intelligent risks to share that experience with people we want to be close to.

As Dr. John Amodeo puts it, “Love and intimacy are byproducts of being with another person in a deeply felt way. Connections with others flow more easily as we stay connected with ourselves and the full range of human emotions and desires that arise as a result of being alive. We can make room for our fears, hurts, shame, and anger-as well as our joy and gratitude-and reveal these feelings as we notice them arising inside of us. Cultivating such mindfulness allows us to feel closer to those we love.”

I am trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Sex Therapy, and Sex Addiction Therapy. I am also a Trauma Informed Care practitioner who promotes a culture of safety, empowerment, choice and healing. Trauma-informed care means treating a whole person, taking into account past trauma and the resulting coping mechanisms when attempting to understand behaviors. I am also trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705

445 Bellevue Avenue
Oakland, CA 94610
(510) 394-2209

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