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Couples counseling, or relationship therapy (we do not assume your relationship involves only 2 people and are happy to work with polyamorous relationships), is a therapeutic service designed to help people address and resolve issues within their relationship. We provide a neutral and supportive environment for partners to explore their emotions, improve communication, and work towards building a healthier relationship. The services available through couples counseling are diverse and personalized to the specific needs of each couple. Here are some common aspects of couples counseling:

The therapist is there, blowing the whistle on those emotional fouls and making sure both partners get equal playtime in expressing their feelings. We will introduce/review effective communication strategies to make your conflicts more productive. There is conflict in most relationships, might as well make it useful!

We are all born with innate ability and need to form strong relationships; the intensity of this need can vary based on genetic/neural differences.  Depending on our relationships with our primary caregivers, we form attachment patterns, which often follow us in into romantic relationships.  A trained, supportive counselor will help you identify these patterns in yourself, your partner and how they interact.

Each partner makes their case for who loads the dishwasher wrong, spends money most recklessly, has the worst friends, and your counselor will decide who wins the gold!  Seriously, no one wins this game.  We will help you figure out the unexpressed emotions and needs underlying blaming each other.

Forget the algebra problems and history of he Civil War, your counselor will provide resources, exercises and activities to calculate the best way to maximize your connection and retell the history of conflicts so you learn the appropriate lessons and do not repeat the same mistakes!

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Effects on Health

Research has been conducted on the health benefits of strong social connections. Often marriage, or other forms of long-term romantic attachment, are often the most consistent relationships in people’s lives. Studies have given us glimpses into how healthy relationships improve our overall health:

Immune function

Cortisol, a hormone released when we are under stress, tends to be released in lower amounts in married people as compared with those who are single. High cortisol levels impair immune function.

Committed relationships improves behavior

Married people may take fewer risks, eat better, and maintain healthier lifestyles, on average, compared with single people.

Mental health improves in committed relationships

Poor social support is associated with higher rates of depression, loneliness, and social isolation.

-“Love guards the heart from the abyss. — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The positive benefits of a romantic relationship depend on strong underlying attachment between partners. If there is frequent unresolved conflict, abuse or neglect, the effects on health can be detrimental. There is no lonelier place than being in a relationship with someone and not feeling connected. Do not let disconnection linger. It’s better to treat a broken bone right away before the body tries to heal around it, leaving the limb even more damaged to the point it needs to be broken again just so it can heal correctly.

Factors that can contribute
to a lack of connection

What you can expect from me as
your couples counselor/therapist

What you can expect from me as your couples counselor/therapist

conflict or disconnection in our romantic relationships are often influenced by our relationships with our primary caregivers in childhood, and feel like a threat to our safety and survival.

I will not begin couples counseling if there is severe emotional, or any physical abuse, because each person needs to feel safe to be authentic without the fear of reprisal outside of the therapy session.  If abuse exists, individual counseling must be pursued first in order to establish safety for each partner.  Once couples counseling has begun, I will ensure safety by establishing ground rules, enforcing them, interrupting repeated criticism, and encouraging a closed off partner to open up.

exercises to practice outside of the therapy office, literature/websites/assessments, meant to foster a strong, underlying connection

I will not tell you whether to stay together or move toward separation or divorce; this is a decision each partner needs to come to on their own.  I will highlight, in a direct manner, unhealthy patterns that do not seem to be changing and/or partners who seem unwilling or unable to change.

My bias is to help couples find their way back to a strong connection, and sometimes there are underlying compatibility issues (disagreements on whether to have children, open or monogamous relationship, etc.).  In cases of incompatibility, I will support you to dissolve your relationship amicably.  Ending relationships is a skill that is rarely taught.  I can help you learn this skill.  Again, my bias is toward reconnection.  Love is worthing fighting for; but let me help you learn to fight and love well!

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