Couples Therapy

I have several years of experience in couples therapy (including “non-traditional” couples; my practice is inclusive of all genders and sexualities, as well as poly-friendly. While the language below focuses on two partners, I work flexibly — please feel free to contact me if you have questions or to discuss your situation).

In addition to my generalist training, I have a background in the Gottmans’ approach to couples therapy, and extensive specialist training in Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples.

Couples therapy with me goes far beyond developing communication skills. Those skills are important, but as many people have found, they tend to go out the window when you and your partner are in the middle of an emotionally heightened situation. My approach to couples therapy includes helping you (re)build a bond of trust and safety with your partner, and finding ways to connect and feel secure at the very times that you might be pushing each other away or ending up in conflict currently.

How does this work? 

I offer 50-minute sessions for couples, with double sessions sometimes available on request.

In most cases, I meet couples together for one session, followed by 1-3 individual sessions with each person, before reconvening with all of us. Individual sessions are 50 minutes in length.

How frequently we meet depends on a variety of factors, including your needs and desires, and practicalities of finances and scheduling. People often come weekly, but that is certainly not set in stone – many people meet more or less often. I’m happy to discuss your particular situation further with you and your partner; figuring out the logistics is a collaborative process for which I can offer guidance, and can flexibly shift over time.

Finding a good fit with a therapist is key. I encourage everyone who comes to see me to “shop around” and to trust their instincts when choosing a therapist. In couples work, it is important that both people feel comfortable and hopeful with the choice of therapist. I ask all couples who come to see me to sleep on the decision after our first session, and to discuss amongst themselves whether both people are keen to proceed.

What if I’m not 100% sure about the relationship? 

Sometimes when couples come to therapy, one or both people feel ambivalent about the relationship and aren’t sure whether it can be saved or even whether they want the relationship to continue. It’s normal to come in with a lot of questions about your relationship and being unsure how to proceed! Couples have usually been having a tough time for a long time before they ring a therapist — it’s understandable if your unsure what the future holds for you.

Therapy can be very useful even if you’re not 100% sure you want to keep the relationship intact! The process can give you the possible best chance of building a strong and fulfilling relationship. It help couples better understand each other, bond deeply, and move into the future with love and respect.

If through the therapy process couples decide to separate, they often say that therapy helped the end of the relationship be as smooth as possible, with far more of a sense of mutual care for each other than would have happened otherwise. Some couples even enter therapy wanting support to split amicably, both for their own wellbeing and to be the best co-parents possible when there are children involved.

What if my partner doesn’t want to come to therapy?

There are many reasons people may be nervous about coming to couples therapy, including not being 100% sure about the relationship, or being worried about being “blamed” for the problems in the relationship.

My approach to couples therapy is collaborative, and recognises that relationship issues are usually about problematic relationship dynamics that both members of the couple can work on together, not about either person alone. I seek to understand what each of you are feeling, how you’re reacting to each other, and what you’re wanting and needing going forward — blame doesn’t get us very far in rebuilding and repairing your relationship!

I am available to have a preliminary discussion about couples therapy with one or both partners to answer any questions or address concerns you may have.

If one member of the couple decides they do not want to attend couples therapy, it can still be helpful for either or both people to seek out individual therapy. Individual therapy can offer support, a space to clarify your own thoughts, feelings, reactions, wants and needs going forward, and provide tools to engage differently in the relationship. When one person changes their perspective or approach, the relationship dynamics start to change too.

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Specialities:

  • Depression & anxiety
  • Self-criticism/self-compassion
  • Relationships (couples, and/or working on-on-one to improve romantic, familial, friendship, and professional relationships)
  • Life transitions
  • Mindfulness
  • Substance use
  • Existential concerns (finding meaning, purpose, and passion)
  • Adult/adolescent adoptees
  • Identity/attachment issues
  • Personal development
  • Sexuality (LGBTQIA- and poly-friendly practice)

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