Couples therapy is for any couple, you don’t have to be married. Whether you are married, engaged, in a relationship, LGBTQ, questioning – almost any kind of relationship or partnership, couples therapy can be for you. I feel that attachment is the most important factor in loving relationships. Each person brings in their own style of attachment, based on their interactions with important others in their lives, usually their primary caregivers. Think of these early interactions with caregivers as laying down a blueprint from which all future emotionally intimate relationships are drawn off of. Sometimes, healthy, secure attachment can become disrupted. This often leads to difficulties within loving relationships – one or both partners may be insecure and be seen as “needy”, perhaps jealous. Working with the attachment styles of both partners can lead to a better understanding of one another. My approach to working with couples is a blend of emotionally-focused couples therapy (EFCT), an attachment-informed and evidence-based practice and relational psychodynamic therapy, which has a lot in common with EFCT. Goals include improved communication, better understanding of the experience of the other partner, recognition of emotions underlying relationship challenges, and an appreciation of the unique mind that not only each partner has but the one that the relationship itself has. I strongly recommend that each partner in the relationship also seek their own individual psychotherapy as well. I can make appropriate referrals and recommendations.
My approach to working with families is similar to the one outlined above, in that I focus on emotions expressed within the family, communication patterns, and attachment styles within the family. At times, there is a need for more active, direct interventions too, I can make suggestions and wonder along with the family about how they can change ways of doing things in the household, speaking to one another, etc. I also pay attention to the family as a system and will work with families to recognize what is coming in and going out of their family system that might be leading to difficulty. This approach is collaborative and validating. Like work with couples, an implicit goal is to work with families to better understand the unique minds of the others in the family and to understand the emotions and mental states that underlie problem behaviors in the family. I firmly take the stance that families and parents do the best that they can with what they have.