If you are experiencing issues like these, I can help — perhaps even if you have previously tried couples therapy without success.
I draw from more than 25 years of experience working with couples. My approach is most strongly influenced by ISTDP and the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), both of which apply knowledge from the neuroscience behind real, enduring changes.
Get Along Better
Are you experiencing any of these relationship problems?
You rarely feel heard or understood by your partner
Conversations devolve into disagreements without resolution
You have a hard time recovering from a particular event or time in your relationship
Other relationships feel like threats to your current relationship
Something is missing, but it’s hard to put your finger on it
PACT starts with the simple principle that a couple does better in a secure relationship. Drawing from attachment theory, neurobiology, and arousal theory, PACT helps couples create a sense of mutuality, safety, and trust.
A few of the principles of secure relationships include:
Partners are “experts” on each other
Partners understand and respond to each other’s needs and emotions through careful attunement to body language and facial microexpressions
Partners aim for mutuality: “good for me and for you”
Love relationships must operate on attraction (flirting, influencing, bargaining, persuading), not fear
The relationship must be an ecosystem in which both partners can thrive and survive
Partners work to repair emotional injuries quickly before “bad relationship memories” set in: “It doesn’t matter if you broke it. If your partner is hurt, it is your problem”
When issues of safety or security arise, partners should make reassurances quickly
Commitment, permanence, and loyalty are fundamental to attachment security
Improve Friendships, Work Relationships
I also work with individuals seeking to improve their relationships with romantic partners, friends, work associates,
or family members.
In couples therapy we address every action that violates these principles through both a “top-down” cognitive approach and a “bottom-up” experiential approach allowing both partners to practice these principles, experiencing them on a bodily level.
Violations of these principles can throw partners’ sympathetic nervous systems into a state of threat alert, leading to automatic, often unhelpful, responses.. For example, a partner may escape to work or disappear inside himself. This in turn can trigger an equally negative reaction in his partner, who may suddenly feel abandoned at a critical moment. This can lead to a downward spiral of increasing conflict that becomes harder and harder to turn around.
It can really help to have some practical “street knowledge” about the neuroscience behind love, attachment, and arousal. Learning some of these basics can help you become curious and more compassionate toward the idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities of your partner that might otherwise drive you to distraction. Developing a more refined “owner’s manual” of your partner’s attachment tendencies can help you respond more empathically. Experiencing the attachment security that results from putting these principles into practice tends to greatly accelerate the recovery time that it takes to build a more satisfying relationship.