In the first meeting I like to get to know and understand what each person is struggling with in the relationship. I want to know what each person is hurt or angry about? Are both partners committed to repairing the loss of closeness, pleasure and intimacy? My initial goals are to help each partner recognize their own defensive communication (ie., blaming, stone-walling and avoiding) and identify their core emotional childhood injuries.
I also focus the individuals on becoming more aware of their defensive behavior and their ability to ‘actively listen’ and ‘emotionally talk’ with one another, in order to move on from their negative distancing patterns. Couples learn to develop new skills/strategies and are then able 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.
Teenagers and College Students
This is an important time of transition from dependence to independence, from following to acting, and shedding a child self-identity to becoming an adult. This rite of passage is for many a turbulent time of life, where individuals go through highs and lows, depression, excessive anger/anxiety, addictive habits and recklessness. For many the support and guidance of a therapist or more experienced friend or family member can be invaluable for being understood, setting psychological goals and formulating a strategy forward.
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.