Couples counseling

Most romantic relationships begin with a great deal of optimism and hope. You have both found someone who wants to know everything about you, cannot wait to spend time with you, and treats you as if you are worthy of love. The differences that naturally exist between two individuals are minimized as you both choose to focus on your similarities. Eventually, the bond between you becomes tested as children, work, and various life challenges.

How you behave and communicate during those times determines the health and longevity of your relationship or marriage. Will you tackle life as a team while drawing strength from your mutual fondness and admiration, OR will you come to despise one another as your love is replaced with the corrosive negative sentiment of unproductive attack-defend cycles? Will you continue to build up your friendship, trust, commitment, and shared meaning, OR will you allow your love to slowly wither as you gradually grow apart and lose your emotional connection, affection, and active interest in one another?

I welcome all couples and honor all relationship styles. I work with couples at any stage of their relationship, from dating and premarital to those who are either on the brink of divorce or in the process of divorcing and need tools to do it well, especially for the sake of their children. In order to meet each couple’s unique needs, the interventions I use and the techniques I teach come from several research-based, highly respected approaches, including the Gottman Method Couples TherapyEmotionally Focused TherapyImago Relationship Therapy, and Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program (PREP).

Across our life span, we yearn for close relationships with significant others. This is an innate need and a primary motivating force. To want people in our lives who are accessible and responsive to us is part of our nature. In adulthood, our need for connection is most evident in romantic relationships, which is why they evoke our strongest emotions—both positive and negative. Supportive, healthy intimate relationships provide us with the comfort of a safe haven, a secure base that gives us strength and confidence to meet the challenges of life. Such relationships offer a combination of independence and interdependence, with the latter fostering rather than stifling personal autonomy and growth.

A troubled intimate relationship, in particular a marriage, can cause significant personal distress including depression, anxiety, self-destructive behavior, and even physical illness. It is also likely to have a negative effect on everyone connected to the couple—children, extended family, friends, coworkers… For all these reasons, I believe that couples counseling offers invaluable, lasting benefit to anyone who is willing to put in the effort to learn better ways of being together.

Spiritual Integration

Spiritual integration provides a holistic approach to counseling and psychotherapy, bringing the theoretical knowledge and methodology of clinical psychology into closer contact with an individual’s beliefs and practices. 

I work with clients of all faiths, faith-skeptical, or of no spiritual beliefs. For those who wish to make their faith part of our sessions, spiritual integration can be a powerful adjunct to the treatment process. Please note that my personal knowledge is limited to the Christian faith and its diverse denominations, as well as a rudimentary understanding of Eastern philosophy concepts. I am respectful of all religious/spiritual traditions and accommodate each client’s unique experience of his or her faith. 

Since I am a licensed psychotherapist, the focus of sessions is on assessing, identifying, addressing, and resolving the primary causes of distress. My goal is also to equip the client for future healthy functioning, which includes cognitive, emotional, and behavioral tools. Faith can amplify such clinical tools by providing a framework for motivation, personal strength, and meaning. 

To reiterate, spiritual integration does not supersede clinical practice. It is not initiated without a client’s expressed request.

Lastly, please note that it is my mandated responsibility to report suspected and actual abuse of minors, the elderly, and disabled adults. Therefore, my respectful stance does not apply to cultural or other practices that may prompt clients to engage in child, elder, or disabled adult abuse.