Couples Therapy & Coaching

We do our best to facilitate a relaxing and non-threatening healing space you’ll want to return to again and again. This includes the implementation of multiple techniques to prevent treatment discomfort and minimize anxiety.

Cropped image of gay couple holding hands
bamboo sketchers in blue

Charles and I are dedicated to walking through the hard work of relationship with couples in a new way with our 2-on-2 Couples Therapy & Coaching approach. We will offer these services in both traditional and intensive formats depending on your needs.

Together we will explore those stuck points in your relationships and learn how to disrupt the dance you may be locked into. Learn how your attachment style influences and may be impacting your rhythm with your partner and ways to shift these patterns.

Conflicts are a normal part of healthy relationships. Nearly all couples experience highs and lows, but many need help in overcoming emotional hurts and wounds associated with conflicts, dishonesty, miscommunication, or some other source of tension in their relationships. Couples counseling is for committed partners married or not who have a mutual interest in preserving their relationship and finding a means of overcoming differences. Couples who address their differences head-on in constructive ways are more likely to resolve surface tension, as well as underlying issues. Furthermore, those who learn to address conflicts rather than avoid them are more likely to avoid divorce or separation in the future.

“When we feel generally secure, that is, we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones, we are better at seeking support – and better at giving it.”
 – Sue Johnson PhD, Hold Me Tight

Did you know...

that of the primary causes of both conflict and divorce in the U.S. is money? Studies have shown that the average couple fights over money as many as 5 times per year. Financial strain can put pressure on a relationship, with many partners unwilling to reach a compromise over investments, savings, and spending.

Frequently Asked Questions 

My partner and I butt heads from time to time. Do we need couples counseling?

Maybe Couples counseling and coaching is not intended to solve occasional spats or disagreements. Instead, it is meant to help couples learn how to address obstacles in their relationships in healthy and beneficial ways. This includes understanding and respecting a partner’s feelings while clearly communicating your own. Understanding how our wants, needs, and desires are often influenced by prior experiences and learning can help us resolve conflicts in our current relationships.

What should I expect during couples counseling?

Counseling sessions typically include both partners and may occur over the course of several weeks or months, or can be addressed in a more condensed period or periods of time with intensive services. The goal is to help each person gain a better understanding of his or her partner’s needs, expectations, and hurts while learning about how our attachment styles play into this. Ultimately, couples counseling and coaching will help you and your partner determine whether to move forward with your relationship or go your separate ways. If you decide to stay together, couples counseling and coaching can help you work through pain, distrust, and frustrations associated with issues keeping you in the dance.

Will I need to follow any special instructions outside of counseling sessions?

Depending on the issues facing your relationship, you may be given ‘homework’ designed to open the lines of communication and transparency between you and your partner. But more so, the relationship tools you acquire in couples therapy will help you work toward a closer, healthier relationship long after counseling is over.

“Distressed partners may use different words but they are always asking the same basic questions, ‘Are you there for me? Do I matter to you? Will you come when I need you, when I call?’ Love is the best survival mechanism there is, and to feel suddenly emotionally cut off from a partner, disconnected, is terrifying.”
– Sue Johnson PhD, Hold Me Tight

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Are traditional or intensive sessions right for you?

  • Weekly sessions are a good option if you want to take the healing process at a slower rate.
  • They allow you to spread out the cost of care over the course of treatment
  • Sometimes weekly hour-long sessions are more manageable for clients than half-day, full-day, or weeklong intensive sessions. This will be assessed and discussed during the intake process.
  • Therapy work potentially including EMDR work can be hard to pack into a traditional-length session. Once you have a weekly check-in and account for the time needed to close the session, little room is left for actual work.
  • If your distress is significant, meeting for just one hour once a week could mean it takes a long time to heal your pain.
  • Committing to a regular time each week in your schedule may be difficult, especially if you are busy or travel frequently.
  • I will take stock of your weekly needs and how you would like to utilize your time. If new situations arise that need time to be addressed or processed, we will focus on them as much as you need to. Then we will use the remaining time to work on stated goals.
  • We’ll also need time at the end of each session to make sure you’re able to contain your memories so that you feel relaxed when you’re outside the office.
  • You have time constraints in your normal weekly schedule that make it difficult to commit to therapy on an ongoing basis.
  • You have traumatic events impacting your daily life in a way that makes it too overwhelming to spread treatment out over weeks, months, and years.
  • You wish to process early trauma that is stored in implicit or preverbal memory. This type of EMDR is much more suited for in-person sessions or a multi-day retreat setting due to the nature of the work.
  • Intensive are designed to provide longer and more frequent therapy sessions over a shorter timespan in order to accelerate your recovery
  • With intensive work, you can progress at a faster rate than you can with weekly sessions. Imagine the amount of work and healing that can be accomplished in a half day, full day, or three consecutive days (which equates to about 21 hours of highly focused treatment within a three-day period).
  • You can address urgent needs in a dedicated manner instead of in a bits-and-pieces approach.
  • In the long run, due to the efficiency of intensive sessions, you can save both time and money.
  • Scheduling time for a single retreat may be more convenient if you have a busy schedule, kids to plan around, and travel or work commitments.
  • Intensives are tailored just for you, so there are many different ways that they can be customized for your individual needs.
  • Intensives may not be the right fit for everyone, just as weekly sessions aren’t the best fit for everyone.
  • Some people with extreme cases of PTSD may feel overwhelmed by working through their issues for a prolonged period of time. In our assessment together, we can explore your individual needs and goals and see if intensive work feels like the best plan for you.
  • Due to the varying options for intensives, they all look a little different. At your intake assessment, we will create an individualized treatment plan for intensive work.
  • Generally, each two-hour block of focused work will be followed by a 15-minute break. We will do some resourcing, too.
  • In our space, there is also room for trauma informed yoga, qi gong, and other body-based work. If you choose half-day, full-day, or multi-day options, you will be given retreat information about what to expect prior to starting.
  • The complexity of your situation would be too overwhelming to process due to high levels of dissociation.
  • If you are in an urgent crisis situation that requires stabilization or hospitalization.
  • If you struggle with active substance abuse, suicidal ideation or self harm.
  • If you feel forced into a therapeutic process not of your own volition.

Types of Attachment

  • Can communicate feelings directly.
  • Feels emotionally close to their partner.
  • Are flexible and cooperative with their partner.
  • Aren’t jealous of their partner.
  • Feels their partner will be there when they need them.
  • Knows how to be attached AND independent.
  • Can remain calm and fair during conflict.
  • Can be intimate without a lot of anxiety about the relationship.
  • Doesn’t get too upset about misunderstandings.
  • Feels open and is able to give and receive love and affection.
  • Has generally good self-esteem and confidence.
  • Able to confront conflicts directly without being passive aggressive,
  • Accepts others’ qualities, positive and negative.
  • Able to apologize, forgive, and solve problems collaboratively.
  • Don’t relate to being either anxious or avoidant.
  • View mistakes in their relationships as growth opportunities.
  • Are open to their partner’s perspectives.
  • Are clear about their relationship wants and needs, and responsive to your partner’s.
  • Feel a sense of balance within themselves and their relationship.
  • Are extremely self-reliant.
  • Have trouble feeling and expressing emotions.
  • Leave or avoid conflict to not make things worse.
  • Feels their partner is always wanting more.
  • Have a hard time getting close.
  • Get defensive when they are in conflict with partner.
  • Fight to not be seen as a failure.
  • Might place a higher value on success and image than on emotional connection.
  • Feels self-sufficient & independence are of the highest value, at times more than intimacy.
  • Able to be close to others, up to a point.
  • Not very comfortable sharing deep feelings.
  • Tends to delay or completely avoid commitment.
  • If they’ve made a commitment, tends to regularly express dissatisfaction.
  • Tendency to focus on partner’s flaws.
  • Idealizes single life, being alone.
  • Can be sensitive to being (or feeling) controlled or pursued.
  • Can exhibit distancing behaviors such as flirting with others, shutting down, blaming others, etc.
  • Can distance by withdrawing, retreating, or pulling back from intimacy.
  • Tends to dismiss other’s feelings.
  • Fears being needy or too dependent.
  • Greatest fear is being seen as a failure.
  • Are dependent on their partner for self-worth.
  • Are emotionally sensitive. Greatest fear is rejection.
  • Can be demanding, critical, and overly needy with their partner. May want a lot of control over what partner says/does.
  • Fearful of losing their relationship.
  • Feels as if they’re the one fighting for emotional closeness.
  • They’re anxious during separations from partner.
  • They fight hard to get attention and approval from partner.
  • Has strong desire to be close to others.
  • Able to feel intimacy.
  • Highly sensitive to misunderstandings such that they cause distress.
  • Jumps to conclusions without rationally assessing the reality.
  • Can experience jealous feelings toward their partner’s friendships and other relationships.
  • Can often “play games” or be manipulative as a way of seeking reassurance.
  • Can withdraw, withhold, retreat, or threaten partner with withdrawal when conflicts arise.
  • Can pursue, nag, badger, and criticize partner in an effort to “get them to change”.
  • Worries excessively about the stability of the relationships and whether it will last.
  • Tends to take things personally and exaggerate minor conflicts.
  • Avoids conflicts and often think your partner is too emotional or irrational.
  • Both seek closeness and avoid closeness – push/pull.
  • Fear emotional intimacy or don’t even know what emotional intimacy is; have an intense fear of rejection.
  • Feel disorganized inside; your feelings are all over the place.
  • Are more distressed than anxious and avoidant partners.
  • Unresolved mindset and emotions frightened by memories of prior traumas.
  • Losses from the past have not been mourned or resolved.
  • Cannot tolerate emotional closeness in a relationship; argumentative, rages, unable to regulate emotions; abusive and dysfunctional relationships recreate past patterns.
  • Intrusive and frightening traumatic memories and triggers; dissociates to avoid pain; severe depression, PTSD.
  • Antisocial; lack empathy and remorse; aggressive and punitive; narcissistic, no regard for rules; substance abuse and criminality.
  • Likely to maltreat own children; scripts children into past unresolved attachments; triggered into anger and fear by parent-child interaction.
  • Own children’s often develop disorganized attachment.
  • Love is a source of comfort and fear.
  • Difficulty trusting & asking for help.
  • Feelings are overwhelming & confusing. Behavior unpredictable & erratic.