If you are struggling with problems in your relationships, feelings of sadness, emptiness or anxiety I’d like you to consider the possibility that there is nothing “wrong” with you. If you have developed problems in your life it’s not because you are “unhealthy” or “pathological” but instead you’ve adopted some patterns of responding to issues in your life that make perfect sense considering your unique life experiences.
My approach to psychotherapy is based on sound scientific evidence supporting the fact that we develop patterns of living based on what we’ve learned in previous relationships. Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors in relationships tend to be automatic and occur before we have much chance to think through our options. Oftentimes our ways of responding to problems only seem to make them worse but we continue to respond in the same ways in times of stress because we tend to revert to what we’ve learned really well when feeling overwhelmed.
After we get to know each other and agree to begin therapy, our work will focus on helping you identify your pattern of responding to the issues in your life. After we identify your pattern we can turn to understand where this pattern comes from and most importantly why you have learned to rely on this style so you can make a more informed decision about what to do about it. If you decide to change this pattern then therapy can help you do this.
With time many people find that as they become more aware of themselves their behavior becomes less automatic and they can choose to respond to problems in their life in a more complete and purposeful way. As you begin to reconnect with what you truly value, you can reclaim your life and perhaps even be stronger because of your struggle.
My commitment is to provide you with the most effective and empirically supported treatment available. We will routinely check in on your progress and modify your individualized treatment plan if necessary. Together we'll build upon your strengths, allowing you to return to living your life in a valued and meaningful way.
I specialize in treating couples and families with a wide range of problems and have specific training and experience working with couples recovering from affairs and/or with sexual issues. When working with couples, I utilize an evidence-based approach called Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (Jacobson & Christensen, 1998). This approach has been demonstrated to be effective in randomized controlled clinical trials in improving satisfaction, decreasing the likelihood of divorce, and improving trust and intimacy.
This is generally a short-term treatment, usually, 8-24 sessions with many couples showing lasting improvement in their relationship after 8 sessions. Of course, there is no way to easily predict how well your relationship will respond.
I usually begin by conducting 3 assessment sessions with a couple to begin to develop a conceptualization of how their problems have developed and a treatment plan for what we can do about it. Couple therapy is not appropriate for everyone and it saves time (and money) for us to have an idea about the likelihood that couple therapy will be helpful for you. During these assessment sessions, I’ll ask you to complete some standardized measures to give us a baseline for how your relationship is currently functioning and I’ll see each of you individually during this assessment to determine if there are any additional roadblocks that might interfere with couple therapy. This is usually the last time I will see partners individually once couple therapy is begun.
If couple therapy is appropriate and likely to help, we will begin by developing a shared understanding of the problems you are facing as a couple. Our initial sessions will focus on real-life interactions you are having as we clarify and build awareness of the patterns of interaction that are maintaining your distress. From there we will help each of you understand the “hidden” messages that your partner is trying to communicate but can’t because of the intensity of the interactions. As you begin to understand the “mutual trap” you have both fallen into we can then shift our focus to making changes in this pattern and building behaviors back into your daily lives that are affirming and build closeness.
Couple therapy is effective for improving relationship satisfaction and oftentimes can be the treatment of choice for individual symptoms of depression, PTSD, anxiety or worry.