Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy

I integrate somatic therapy with attachment practices in couples therapy to facilitate a safe, constructive exploration of feelings, sensations, beliefs, and deeply embedded behavioral patterns.

Growing up in a difficult home we may have sought alternative ways to regulate our stress, in place of healthy relationships, bypassing the important developmental experience of feeling cared for, patiently listened to, emotions valued, and ideas considered.

By slowing dialogue down, clarifying, and inviting mutual reflection, I help couples experience respect, emotional care, intimacy, and safety from within the relationship, increasing understanding and connection. Reactivity in a couple may be a sign of complex trauma.

With traumatic stress it is difficult to get the support some couples need.

Difficulty in relationship is often due to emotional triggers from a past difficult relationship. If unresolved, triggers of emotional pain can quickly escalate stress activation from a simple disagreement. This can be very confusing for both partners.

It is very common for both partners to be carrying this kind of unresolved emotional pain–a recipe for volatility, divorce, emotional or physical abuse, and affairs; even in couples with a long-term friendship, great sexual chemistry, and deep love.

Couples therapy is an option to both heal from previous wounds, and at the same time, deepen the current relationship by asking for the love, care, respect, or quality of attention we didn’t get as children. Not in an angry, resentful, whose ‘right or wrong’ way, but in a compassionate, gentle, courageous and loving way.

Why is it important to see a couples therapist trained in trauma?

Many couples in counseling have experienced that their therapist too much focused on problem solving, which worked in the moment, or focused on learning new communication tools too soon, without establishing an understanding as to why the communication is breaking down in the first place.

Understanding the roots of quickly escalating reactivity when our relationships turn stressful, gives us a sense of control, compassion, safety, and solid ground to stand on as we work through challenging issues.

As we enter into new relationships, difficult patterns of relating from the past may move to the forefront of our life again, asking to be renegotiated. Without the careful support of “sensing into” our earlier somatic patterns of relating, we go on repeating them. When we are hurt, and feel trapped, as if we have no choice, we fight back. The overwhelming emotional pain makes it hard to explore clear, compassionate communication, leading to a loss of connection, intimacy, and understanding.

Healing in couples therapy is about discovering new choices, new options for loving and spacious connection. Slowing down and completing emotional pain responses from early attachment issues opens up more choice and ways of relating, allowing our whole self to be valued, respected, and honored—learning not to manage but to thrive in relationship.

Conflict of differences can be seen as an opportunity for further creative solutions for collaboration, respect, and inclusion. Part of the work of healing will be to recognize the difference between when we didn’t have choice, and the choices available to us right now. Couples therapy can do this.

   

FOR COUPLES THERAPY IN OAKLAND OR BERKELEY
Contact Joel: 510-229-9765 Oakland Office

   
   
    
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