When you are in my therapy office, you are the most important person in the room. My entire focus is on listening to you with undivided attention and interest. Understanding your struggles and your pain is my primary objective. In sessions, I get a picture of how you cope with frustrations, anxieties and disappointments in relationships that aren’t working for you. You’ve probably tried many ways to find relief from discomfort and hopelessness. And, attempts at talking to friends and family about your relationship issues have probably had minimal effect. It’s important to me that you get something more substantial and meaningful in therapy.
When you first come to relationship therapy it’s natural to feel anxious and stressed. My first job is in helping you feel safe and relaxed. Once you feel that I have your back—that there is a safety net under you—we get to work.
Although you might feel broken, sick or inept right now, throughout our work together, you can begin to see your potential to live like a beautiful and strong tree—full of life, enjoying the sunshine and weathering the storms. The seed of life inside you just needs more rich and fertile soil in which to grow, bloom and take its natural place in the world. I aim to provide you with exactly the right conditions for your seed to burst open. I believe that we were all born with the ability and desire to relate, feel connected and grow individually and within our most intimate relationships. However, early disruptions in young life, often involving emotional trauma, causes many, if not all of us, to subdue and hide our natural wishes and needs. The good news is that growth and healing are possible. You don’t have to learn a bunch of new ways of relating to others or taking care of yourself. Rather, it’s about recovering the buried treasures within and feeling safe enough to use them organically. My therapeutic stance gives you that chance.
Responding to Immediate and Pressing Needs
In initial sessions, our work together will center on identifying and addressing immediate concerns and pain so that you can begin to feel a sense of relief. I will help you manage the anxiety and fear that gets in the way of you telling me about the many complicated and overwhelming things that you are facing.
Coming from a psychodynamic perspective, I believe that we have many competing needs that come from our dependent infant and child selves, our confused and uncertain adolescent selves and our maturing adult parts. When you are anxious and stressed, needing soothing and reassurance, the child in you reaches for it, but your adult mind may not approve, making your child self feel ashamed. These sorts of experiences often lead to an inability to make and maintain nurturing relationships.
In relationship therapy, I encourage all parts of you to show up. When they do, we can get to know them all and notice how they contribute to your current experience of suffering. Early attachments are pivotal in determining how you engage in and experience your closest adult relationships. Insomuch, I approach relationship stresses from an attachment point of view, helping you recognize the origin of your challenges and work through them therapeutically. When you can connect the dots in your life and understand and own your experiences, you can become the master of your present and your future.
As your therapist, I can help you see the patterns in your experiences that cause you heartache, anger and hopelessness. I become a mirror in which you can look into and see what is otherwise hidden from your awareness. Once you see your particular pattern, you get to choose whether to repeat it or not. This work truly can remove layers of scar tissue from your wounds. I help you heal it by giving you the consistent care and nurturing you need until you are ready to take the reins. When you see what’s really going on under all that scarified tissue, you have the opportunity to make choices.
In addition, I aim to help you:
- Understand the relationship stresses you experience and reduce negative effects on your health.
- See your blind spots so you can have more control over your present and future experiences.
- Appreciate the many choices open to you when stress doesn’t cloud your judgment.
- Get a handle on the emotional obstacles that keep you stuck and repeating the same ways of relating.
- Develop healthy personal boundaries so you are neither burdened by having to take responsibility for your loved ones or let them walk all over you.
- Realize when you are being self-destructive and sabotaging your goals. I’ll initiate a conversation about the emotional rewards of sabotage so that you can choose whether these immediate rewards are worth it in the long run.
- Access your natural reservoirs of desires and strengths, as well as your capabilities to use them.
- Become aware of the conflicted motivations that make you feel stuck in a relationship or reliant on someone else to fix for you.
- Build up your emotional intelligence so that you don’t get overwhelmed by storms of disappointment and hurt.
- Put your deepest feelings into words, being your authentic self and proud of it.
- Get acquainted with fears of emotional intimacy born of being betrayed, shamed or abandoned.
- Feel worthy of love and commitment so you don’t have to go around with a thick guard up. You can actually let love in and enjoy it.
Unfinished business from the past is an important part of the therapeutic journey
One of the reasons you may experience frustration and anger about making and maintaining good quality relationships is the unfinished business you carry around from your past. It weighs you down and interferes with your ability to enjoy the here and now. When you work with me in therapy, I encourage and facilitate the unraveling of all that leftover stuff. For instance, if you have always wanted to tell your mother how much she hurt you when she repeatedly forgot to pick you up after school, you can become aware of it and process those feelings in therapy. You get to complete the loop with me—someone who accepts and tolerates it—rather than taking it out on your loved ones. There’s likely to be a ton of stuff like this that is hampering you finding, connecting with and establishing a healthy relationship. Therapy with me is the place to let it all out and get over those painful wounds. You can then enter into relationships with your loved ones in a clean and organic manner.
I personalize my approach to fit your particular needs
Your uniqueness is vital in determining the flow of relationship therapy. Everything I offer you is tailor-made to suit your specific needs, history, personality and therapy goals. There will be times when you need understanding and comfort above all else. I will give you that until you are okay. There will also be times when you will need to develop new skills and practice using them with me. At those times, I will be an honest mirror and give you ‘in the moment’ feedback. At other times, you may need to understand the way your loved ones’ minds work and what their intentions are. When that is necessary, my efforts will be directed toward teaching you how to ‘mentalize.’ You can learn how to think about what the other person is thinking and feeling, including their intentions and motives.
I can also help you understand what goes on for you when you get triggered in raw places that make you mad, ready to give up or determined to make your loved one into the person you want him or her to be. I will walk with you in that journey, helping you see the rocks in your way and fostering your natural ability to make good choices. You can overcome the roadblocks that have kept you stuck, unhappy and in pain.
I invite you to give me a call on 310-985-2491 and begin the journey toward transcending your childhood traumas and moving toward healthier and more satisfying relationships.