If you’re reading this, you are probably experiencing some challenges in your relationship. It can be a very stressful and upsetting time, and you might even be questioning your relationship. Conflict is normal, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not right for each other or that it is the end of your relationship. However, how a couple deals with conflict makes all the difference. And that’s definitely something you can both learn and change.
One of the common patterns I observe in couples is that one person avoids conflict (their defense mechanism is to withdraw), and the other needs to resolve conflict (which can be counterproductive when the partner is avoidant). Very often years go by with this pursuer-distancer dynamic that so much resentment accumulates and the conflict becomes either too intense and complex, or the couples just become indifferent and distant.
It takes couples an average of 6 years to seek help. But often, the damage is too deep to be repaired at that point. Don't wait that long. The sooner you address things, the better the outcome. And with professional guidance, you can learn how to change this dynamic to be able to safely, responsibly, and constructively discuss difficult matters. You can also shift your perceptions of each other and bring back the fun, loving, and connected parts of your relationship.
What can you expect from working with me?
The process is fluid and tailored to each individual and couple. So while there is no rigid structure that fits all, what I will always bring is my passion to understand and challenge, my compassion and empathy, my love for connection, my full attention and authenticity, and of course, my training and experience to help you reach your goals.
You can expect the sessions to be sometimes challenging, emotional, fun, engaging, meaningful, or light, or a combination of any of these. The first few sessions typically revolve around gathering more information about each of you, your relationship history and dynamics, and your values and goals. This is an important part for us to clearly understand the underlying issues, and for you to start gaining a new understanding of each other. I do not believe in quick fixes or simple advice that will just mask the problems. I acknowledge the complexities of human nature and relationships, and so I think it’s only fair to honor that by conducting an honest and thorough exploration before making behavioral changes.
After we have gained a better understanding of the different contributing factors, we will work on the more practical side of this process. What we do really depends on the issue and factors, but some things we might work on are communication training, conflict resolution skills, learning to be assertive and authentic, speaking each other’s love languages, understanding and managing each other’s emotional triggers, shifting perceptions, and restructuring the dynamics. I may also provide you with exercises to practice at home.
My approach to promoting healthy marriages
I deeply believe in authenticity, and so one of the main principles of my work is to help you both be who you are while being connected. I am not here to push my own agenda or instill my own opinions onto you. I am here to help you both firstly gain clarity about who you are and what you want, secondly, achieve a genuine understanding of each other, and thirdly, implement the changes or accept what can’t change to work towards fulfilling your relationship aspirations.
My educational training was focused on Psychosexual and Relationship Therapy, and the experience I have had so far was specialized in relationship and sexual difficulties, which means that this is the area I’m most comfortable with and skilled at. If there are matters that are outside my field of expertise or more severe psychological issues that come up, I will make the necessary judgment and may need to refer you to another mental health professional.
When is the right time for marriage therapy?
The fact that you’re reading this means you are considering getting support for your relationship. And I believe that if you’re thinking about it, then you should probably do it. Sure, you can wait, but it will be a much more successful and smoother process if you pursue it sooner rather than later.
You don’t need to be in crisis to seek help, and I actually strongly advise couples to get support before there’s a major crisis. If you’re in a relationship and have some concerns or are experiencing difficulties together, or even just want to strengthen the connection you already have, then I encourage you to grow through this process with an experienced and skilled professional.
The right time also depends on you and your partner’s readiness for this process. This is a journey that requires commitment not just in terms of time for attending the sessions, but also in terms of honesty, openness, and practicing what we discuss. The work doesn’t end when the time of the session runs out - the sessions are meant to be a platform for having meaningful and challenging conversations, in addition to getting suggestions and creating action-plans, but it’s up to you to implement the changes we discuss.
So this process requires you both to be fully invested, and willing to look inwards, be honest, and allow yourselves to be vulnerable. If either or both of you are not ready for that, then maybe individual work might be better to start with. That’s definitely something I do as well - I work with hundreds of individuals on improving their relationships.