My approach in

couples therapy

My approach to couples work is grounded in an evidence-based, systematic framework called Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. This approach is grounded in the science of attachment and bonding. People want to feel secure in their primary relationship. When you are fighting or disconnected from the person you love, it is painful. The aim of this approach is to help couples strengthen their bond and create deeper connections with each other by changing problematic cycles and targeting key emotional interactions.

Research demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach. For example, 70 percent of couples reported shifting from distressed to happy and 90 percent significantly improved in 15-20 sessions and these results were stable over a two year period.

I am active and direct yet gentle and also focused in my work with you. I help you move beyond the ways of interacting that aren’t working anymore. This means we address your fighting and defensive patterns to develop more effective ways of relating and communicating. You may be a couple who doesn’t fight a lot, but instead experiences your relationship as distant, not close, or living in parallel lives. I help you address the patterns that keep you from feeling the closeness you want. 

We start by identifying patterns you get stuck in that lead to more disconnection and I help give you a framework, language and skills to use to share your experiences, your feelings and needs to one another. As a couples therapist with an attachment based framework, I will meet with you each individually as we get started to explore how your family and relationship history influence your current relationship dynamics. I help you explore how to feel more secure in your relationship and increase your responsiveness to each other. Sometimes couples therapy ends in separation, and I support you through difficult choices especially if they lead to ending your relationship.

I also acknowledge the various stressors affecting your relationship including careers, parenting, caregiving, or racially based stressors/trauma and attend to dynamics present in same-sex, inter-racial and cross cultural relationships. Focusing on planning for a future together, adapting to parenthood, revitalizing sex and intimacy, coping with sexual trauma, healing from affairs and coping with blended family dynamics, navigating separation and divorce are among other issues couples address. 

I recommend various readings, resources or videos as needed in my work with couples, and I generally recommend Dr. Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight, for those couples seeking one book that supplements the therapy work. In Hold me Tight, Dr Johnson introduces Emotionally Focused Therapy for the public and teaches that the way to save and enrich a relationship is to reestablish safe emotional connection and preserve the attachment bond. 

Areas of focus:

  • Increasing closeness and connection
  • Planning for your future
  • Revitalizing sex and intimacy
  • Coping with sexual trauma
  • Inter-racial and cross-cultural dynamics
  • Parenting issues/adapting to parenthood
  • Affairs
  • Blended family dynamics 
  • Communication issues
  • Resolving conflict
  • Coping with health issues or addiction
  • Navigating impact of life stressors including careers, parenting, caregiving