In starting therapy with a couple, I want to get to know and understand each person, and create a trusting relationship in order to address their issues. How frustrated and discouraged are they? Is one partner particularly hurt or angry? My initial goal is to help each partner recognize their own negative communication tendencies (ie., blaming, defensive, stone-walling, etc.) and hear how these impacts their partner and the relationship. I help couples become more skillful in their ability to ‘actively listen’ and ‘emotionally talk’ with one another and move on from their negative patterns. Couples will then be able to develop new skills and learn how to rebuild their trust, respect and intimacy with one another.
People come into therapy when they are stuck in their lives, or in pain after a loss, or in transition. I often find that when people avoid needed change, other symptoms such as anxiety and depression show up. Using an introspective approach, while also exploring their deep feelings can get to the roots of their problems. Once understood we can come up with fresh strategies and goals to support the change they desire.
Men's Psychology has always interested me. How other men ‘ticked’, what they struggled with in their love relationships and careers and how they worked things out? I have come to understand that how men were treated in their past can have a long-lasting effect on their sense of identity and masculinity. Often helping men sort out their different emotions (ie., “hurt versus anger”) and exploring how to express themselves directly has been key to the men feeling more confident in their personal relationships. I have enjoyed guiding men in developing their skills and emotional courage to face and resolve their relationship and work difficulties.
This is the most difficult thing we do in life! Many of us are skilled parents at certain stages in our child’s development and ineffective at other stages (ie., terrible 2’s and 3’s, and teenage years). What often limits us is our own emotional wounds from our past. The more we can recognize our dysfunctional ways of communicating and understand own our past, then we will be better able to see how we impact the ways we interact with our children. As parents are able to identify and alter these negative patterns, they will rebuild the trust and respect with their children (whatever their age).