Couples counseling can help you with the following:
- Have greater emotional and physical closeness.
- Learn to resolve conflict more quickly and deepen your connection.
- Get to know and understand each other’s specific needs, emotions and perspective.
- Identify your triggers and reactivity in your relationship and learn to respond effectively
- Learn to manage sexual desire discrepancies, why it is happening and how to keep the love alive.
- Learn to be effective and supportive as parents.
I have studies from experts who use different approaches to resolving these challenges.
The Differentiation model developed by David Schnarch, Ph.D.
I use the Differentiation model in order to understand each person’s difficulties in relation to oneself and others. The following concepts describe some aspects of the Differentiation process that affect long-term relationships:
- Differentiation is our ability to know and express ourselves in relation to our partner. That could mean knowing who we are, what we think, what we feel, what we need. The level of our differentiation determines our ability to hold on to that clear sense of ourselves even under pressure or in the face of rejection, criticism, or conflict.
- Our Differentiation determines our ability to “self soothe”, i.e., quiet our anxieties, manage our emotions, worries, and reactivity in an effective way. It determines how well we maintain composure, not withdraw or overreact – and at the same time keep our emotional connection with our partner.
- Our level of Differentiation determines our ability to “self validate” instead of heavily relying on our partner’s acceptance of us and opinion of us.
- Our level of Differentiation determines our ability to maintain our moral values and sense of authenticity. Especially when in a conflict.
The process of developing our differentiation is an ongoing life-long growth process. It requires a willingness and ability to tolerate a certain degree of discomfort, to learn to manage the anxiety and to deal with conflict within ourselves and others. This process increases our capacity for intimate and rewarding relationships.
The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) developed by Stan Tatkin, Ph.D.
I integrate and customize these approaches to help each couple become better equipped to deal with the challenges arising in long term committed relationships and in their marriage.
Ultimately, none of us can control the behavior of another. The above approaches believe that resolving marital problems comes from understanding and changing each partner’s actions and reactions. In order to do that, individuals need to know their own triggers and their partner’s, to learn how to manage their emotions, and respond to their spouse’s reactions with compassion and kindness.