I have training from Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and I use this method to help couples address the core issues that impact their ability to not only stay together but to love their relationship.
When is Couples Counseling Appropriate?
Whether you are dating, newly married, or many years into your marriage, I will work to help you develop a more secure connection with your partner. I work with couples who struggle with high conflict, couples who feel distant and lack intimacy, and couples who generally like their relationship but want it to be even better. I have experience helping couples heal from infidelity, connect despite high-stress careers, and learn how to support one another when there is a history of trauma.
Major life transitions and times of loss are also good times to seek out couples counseling. Even positive events, such as a new baby or a job promotion, can create stress, and if each partner has a different way of coping, the couple can become disconnected. Using a proven approach called Emotionally Focused Therapy, I help couples in these situations learn how to connect so they can face life’s challenges together.
Couples counseling is also appropriate for partners considering divorce but who are genuinely willing to work on the relationship before making this decision.
What Couples Counseling is NOT
I do not conduct couples counseling with couples who are in physically abusive relationships, couples who maintain “open” relationships, or couples where one or both members continue to pursue other romantic/sexual connections.
Couples counseling is also not appropriate if one or both members have a serious mental health or substance abuse issue that is not being adequately addressed through individual counseling or other resources.
While many counselors have never been formally trained to work with couples, my graduate training was in marriage and family therapy, with a significant portion of my studies, instruction, and supervised counseling experience focused on couples and families.
I continue to pursue advanced training in couples counseling through the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and have trained with Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy.
Trauma & Relationships
If you or your partner has a history of trauma, chances are it has impacted your relationship. Trauma impacts our ability to form and engage in healthy relationships, and problems in our relationships impact our ability to handle the symptoms of trauma.
However, Emotionally Focused Therapy is particularly helpful in addressing how trauma and relational distress intertwine. In some instances, couples counseling alone is helpful at addressing the impact of the trauma, and in other situations a combination of individual and couples counseling may be best.
Couples sessions are 75 minutes. Attending weekly at the beginning is encouraged because it tends to result in better outcomes. Most of my couples report significant positive changes in their relationship within 12-16 sessions.
For some couples, including those with a history of trauma, it may take longer. Factors that impact the speed of progress include: frequency of attendance, severity and duration of the relational issues, openness and honesty in the counseling process, and willingness to practice what is learned in counseling.