"We set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on
how our actions affect other people’s hearts." ~ Pema Chodron
Relationships go through developmental stages, just like people. These are natural and inevitable. But what do you do once the blissful “honeymoon” stage is over and the next stage begins? The measure of a solid relationship that can endure the test of time is not only in the good times when you feel close. It is also in learning how to navigate and regain that closeness when there is conflict or when you are feeling distant from one another. Research shows that we count on our partner to provide us with emotional closeness, reassurance and security. When we cannot get our partner to respond, we protest that separation and distance, hoping to regain that lost sense of connection.
If you feel disconnected from your partner and long to reconnect, I can help. In couples work, we identify repetitive patterns of relating and learn to understand and express the need for a closer connection underneath the behaviors causing conflict and disconnection.
I am certified in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Developed by Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg of Ontario, Canada, EFT is a research based therapy which aims to reduce distress in adult relationships, recognizing that trust, flexibility, connection and safety rely upon secure attachments to important people. When couples feel close, they are more able to solve concrete difficulties and to collaborate effectively on solutions.
EFT is currently the best delineated and most empirically validated couple therapy of the past 20 years.
My clients identify as heterosexual and LGBTQ. While many of the issues of relating are the same in all couple configurations, I also have extensive experience in working with the issues unique to same sex partnerships and people sustaining or exploring alternative structures in relationship.
Do You Pursue or Withdraw in Your Marriage Conflicts?
If you are a pursuer, when you feel unimportant and unloved or unappreciated, you tend to approach your partner. Sometimes this looks like criticism, attacking, or pushing your partner to have certain conversations. When you feel this awful, frightening sense of not mattering, you might feel like you’re drowning. Similar to a person who is drowning in the water, when you need connection but fear abandonment, you get frantic. You panic. You pursue. But when you pursue, your partner feels attacked or criticized, and they pull away (thus reinforcing your feelings of being unimportant).
If you are a withdrawer, you probably focus your energies on avoiding conflict. (While pursuers don’t “like” conflict either, they want to engage, even at the risk of arguing.) Withdrawers say things like, “Nothing is going to be accomplished by arguing.” You prefer to talk about issues when everyone is calm and collected…or not at all. You might know that things will just erupt and feel that it’s easier just to ignore the issue. You want to protect the relationship (or yourself) from another painful argument. You hope that the issues will go away, or just resolve themselves with the passage of time. So, you withdraw. But when you withdraw, your pursuing partner is left with the impression that you don’t care or that you’re not really invested in the relationship.
"Our need to depend on one precious other - to know that when we "call" he or she will be there for us - never dissolves. In fact it endures....from cradle to grave. As adults we simply transfer that need from our primary caregiver to our lover. Romantic love is not the least bit illogical or random. It is the continuation of an ordered and wise recipe for our survival."
from Love Sense ~ by Dr. Susan Johnson
I became certified in EFT therapy in 2010:
To become an ICEEFT Certified EFT Therapist, candidates must meet various pre-requisites and complete several EFT training and supervision requirements including an intensive 4-day basic EFT Externship, Advanced training course(s), consultation / supervision by a Certified EFT Supervisor and review by a Certified EFT Trainer at ICEEFT of 2 different video excerpts demonstrating the therapist’s grasp of the model.