I facilitate your awareness of your impact on your partner.
- I ask questions and model responses designed to deepen your ability to take your partner’s perspective and imagine their world
- I gently and respectfully confront beliefs, values, behaviour, or thought processes that are limiting emotional safety and connection with your partner.
- I point out “blind” spots; the hidden “ghosts” which you cannot clearly see but which trip your partner
- I teach, model and coach communication that is emotionally safe and personally responsible
- I watch for patterns of defensive behavior, helping you see how you avoid connection, intimacy, differentiation, personal responsibility
- I support you to be curious about what your body language, tone, eye contact is conveying to your partner.
I give developmental assists to support differentiation.
- I listen for the content of what you’re saying, and for the underlying, symbolic meaning of the issues/events to you, and what developmental stage you are in relationally.
- I listen for your relational strengths and resiliencies, and assist you to build on them.
Using the developmental lens I interpret where your bond is stuck and give you developmental assists to continue maturing interpersonally
- I support you to locate your relationship values and share them with your partner and then coach you to behave in ways that are congruent.
- I contribute my wisdom, insight, and understanding of marital dynamics such as distancer-pursuer.
- I offer alternative explanations/theories to the relationship “story” help partners gain more perspective. I point out your projections and help you pull them off your partner.
I coach the bond between you towards optimum strength.
- I teach you how to repair after a blooper and what a genuine apology sounds like
- I support you to learn to hold (versus take on or abandon) each others wounds and fragilities
- I teach the skills of presence, attunement, emotional expression and regulation
- I lead an exploration of your languages of love so that your partner can get it just right with you
- I assist in gaining the fine art of Compromise: developing the capacity to willingly sacrifice for the greater good and to agree to disagree
- I work with you to Affair-Proof the relationship
- I mobilize and increase the capacity in partners to respectfully confront–to withstand conflict in the interests of growth–and to meaningfully endure intense emotions
- If there are mental health, addiction, or personality issues I name them in the therapy and offer resources for treatment
WHAT I DON’T DO:
Take Sides or gang with one partner against the other.
There are no good guys or bad guys; there are two people doing the best they can. My job is to help partners increase skills. All dynamics between couples are co-created, though not always equally. Both sides of the dance must be explored for a new dance to begin. So no matter who puts the issue on the table, both parties will need to address their part in it.
Tell you if you should leave the relationship.
I do engage you in a depth process of self analysis (Discernment Therapy) to find your own truest answer. And on rare occasion I will share my observations about your alliance, but only when invited and only if I believe you have enough capacity to make your own decision.
During the course of our work together, I do not engage in “side car” communications between sessions with one partner where the other partner is not privy to the content. This ensures a basis of trust and transparency at all times.