Couples & Family Therapy
“He who conquers others is strong; she who conquers herself is mighty.” – Lao Tzu
The key to a healthy and mature relationship with those that are closest to us is authentic communication which leads to authentic connection that truly feeds us. Authentic communication means for people to express their truth to one another and be able to listen and honor the truth of the other. Of course this is easier said than done, that is why couples and families need professional support at times to get out of stuck places.
In my experience, the breakdown that happens in relationships for couples and families is almost always the result of people either not being in touch with their own truth (what they really feel, think, and believe), being in touch with it but not being able to give voice to it with the other, and/or not being able to listen to the other with empathy and honor their experience for what it is. It is often very difficult to hold space and listen to each other when what is being expressed triggers uncomfortable feeling for us.
Without effective and nonviolent modes of communication, nothing healthy can come out of therapy with couples and families, so the first element of my work with couples and families is focused on cultivating healthy emotionally intelligent patterns of communication. Healthy optimal communication involves the art of healthy self expression of one’s truth, while honoring healthy boundaries and the sovereignty of all parties involved. The heart of this work is aimed at supporting each person to cultivate the two relational skills mentioned above:
- The capacity for expressing oneself openly and vulnerably with the other including what one authentically feels, thinks, and needs
- The capacity for empathic listening and holding space for the other to express their truth
Some of the process involves teaching about these principles, but most importantly in sessions I invite couples and family members to engage in dialogue with each other about whatever issues they are needing to work on and then intervene and facilitate the interaction as needed to support each person’s cultivation of these relational skills. Within this framework, I work with each participant with wherever their personal challenges and blocks are in the process. This skillful facilitation guides the couple or family to have moments of authentic connection in sessions and supports a shift in the communication patterns outside of sessions over time.