Couples Therapy

Looking for a couple's therapist can be stressful. It's even harder when you're queer, poly, kinky or involved in sex work, since you don't want to worry about being judged or having to explain basic aspects of your relationship before getting anything done. That's why I specialize in working with couples from sexual & gender minority groups- our common basis of understanding accelerates the pace at which we can work toward realizing your ideal partnership.

I utilize the Gottman Method to demonstrate how particular behaviors may be hindering your connection with your partner. Years of research using real couples has shown that the presence of the "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"- criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling - positively predict relationship breakdown. Together we will work to root out these harmful and ineffective patterns and replace them with those which are proven to revitalize and sustain intimacy.

I also use Emotionally Focused Therapy to help you go deeper with each other and fully recognize your mutual need to be seen, understood, and accepted. This method cuts through the mundane details of a conflict about "the dishes" and explores each partner's underlying beliefs about self, other, and relationships. These beliefs are formed in our families of origin and in previous relationships, and often cause us to fear abandonment, engulfment, or harm at the hands of our partner. Vulnerable self-disclosure helps the other to understand our sore spots and what we really need to feel cared for and safe. 

Sometimes obstacles occur in applying these approaches. There may be an experience of betrayal or significant hurt that needs to be fully acknowledged and worked through before the couple can move into the future. As your therapist I will facilitate this process, encourage accountability taking over finger-pointing and ensure that both partners have the opportunity to be heard. If it is relevant to your situation, I will hold space for a discussion of whether or not the relationship should continue, or if it would be better to separate.

One or both of you may also need support in regulating your emotions as we discuss difficult topics that have the potential to bring up overwhelming anger, sadness, or fear. I will help you recognize in the moment that you are spinning out of control and assist you in returning to a state in which you can engage with the issue at hand. Often this experience is related to past trauma; I will address this within the couples work or refer you to an individual therapist if you prefer.

If reading about this framework makes you feel calmer or more hopeful for the future, I encourage you to take the next step and schedule an initial phone call.