"We just argue about the stupidest things … and  then these fights get way out of hand… it's not that I don't love him ..." 

"We’ve been married for 36 years, and … I just don’t know her anymore.  I feel like it’s over." 

Couples, Family, Relationship Issues - I've never liked the phrase, 'Relationships are hard work'. I prefer to quote the well-known couples therapist, Dan Wile: Relationships are solutions that create new problems. The 'relationship solution' gives us a powerful source of affection and support, a shelter from life’s stresses, and a bulwark against loneliness: A life partner. The problem: our life partners may not always understand what we need, what we feel, what we fear. And we may not always understand what they need, feel, and fear.

When we feel unheard, misunderstood, dismissed, or unfairly criticized by the person closest to us, we react. It’s natural. And our partners react to our reaction. By the time we react to our partner’s reaction, we’re off and running: we are caught in a cycle of reactivity, and our real feelings have gotten lost in the noise.

It’s this cycle that’s the enemy - causing the fight you keep having, over and over again. By coming to understand your particular cycle, you can learn to catch it before it starts. By getting your real feelings across to your partner, you can experience yourself as understood. By hearing your partner’s real feelings, you experience him or her in a completely new way. And by understanding one another, you open a new gateway in your relationship. Quoting Dan Wile once more – there is a real conversation hidden in your fights – a conversation that you’ve never had.  I believe I can help you to have that conversation.



I synergize two approaches to help couples; the synergy works.

Emotionally Focused Therapy  (EFT) is the foundation of my work with couples. It is unique in the safety, speed, and depth it provides, especially in the toughest situations; moreover, its effectiveness has been validated by solid clinical research - something of a rarity in the couples field.   EFT focuses first on identifying the steps in your cycle - the dreadful tango you dance every time you fight.   It then helps you both to clarify and process the powerful emotions driving this cycle, and experience one another in a new, profound way.  Look for Hold Me Tight, and Love Sense by Sue Johnson, PhD, on my Resources page.  Couples find these brilliant volumes both profoundly life-changing and reassuring.  These books provide basis and structure for true dialogue, and the beginning of mutual insight. 

Collaborative Couples Therapy is unique in its observational wisdom, pragmatism, and use of humor.  CCT views every fight - no matter how 'awful' - as an opportunity. Buried in this fight is a conversation - a real one.  What keeps you from having this conversation is: you've lost your voice - the voice of your leading-edge feelings. The practical nature, wit, and wisdom of this approach come straight from the heart of its founder, Dan Wile, PhD.  Look for After the Honeymoon and After the Fight on my Resources page.  Couples prize these books for the 'page-turner'  pleasure of them, 'aha moment' insights, and humor.  The lovely thing about After the Honeymoon: Dan understands that sometimes, only one partner is 'on board' for treatment.  And so the book is designed to help one partner start the change process, when this is the case. 

Both of these approaches are LGBT affirmative - as am I. 


About conversation, and therapy