Start by doing what is necessary;
then do what is possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible…
Francis of Assisi
Most of us want our primary relationship to be a safe and stable haven in a shaky world but life changes us whether we welcome it or not. Sometimes when we need it most, the one person we expect to care for our needs is nowhere in sight.
You may find your relationship in jeopardy and asking yourself big questions like: "Why can't we talk without arguing?", “Why can’t you hear me?”, “Where is the person I fell in love with?”, “Where did the passion go?”, “Why don’t I like myself in this relationship?”, “Why are you abandoning me?”, "What happened to sex?", “What do I do now?”
Whether you are in crisis, simply unhappy, or seeking a deeper connection with your partner; committing to couples therapy can be intimidating. Therapy might seem like something “other people” do. It can feel like an admission of failure or it can be difficult to imagine creating something positive from a place that feels embedded in failure. On the other hand; committing to marriage therapy can be viewed as committing to a richer happier way of life. Most find that the skills you gain in creating a fulfilling marriage or relationship in therapy often carries over into all your other relationships.
The good news is that you can only improve your relationship in the present moment. Like Goethe said, “The only way out is through,” so you do what is necessary. You invite positive change through therapy. You find yourself doing what is possible as you learn to move through and past disappointment, anger, and disillusionment. Trust is rebuilt which makes honesty possible. Honesty allows you and your partner to express and negotiate your authentic needs and wishes. At some point you may look in your partner’s eyes and realize you are both doing the impossible. You find yourself naturally allowing for "the heart's desire to circulate human warmth freely back and forth, without putting limits or conditions on that exchange."* It is safe. It is intimate. It is loving. It feels like home.
A Few Thoughts About Couples Therapy
Therapy is not like a book that you read once and put on a shelf to be admired. It’s designed to be effective when you take what you discover and use it in your world. I invite you to play with your new skills and knowledge. Being mindfully engaged in a relationship is like learning a sport or to play an instrument. New skills often feel clumsy and inauthentic. Yet the more you exercise your new skills, the easier they become. Fundamentals become habits. Habits become natural. Naturalness allows depth and improvisation. If there is any goal of therapy it is to support your experience of the lightness of being and the joy of taking your relationship to new levels of honesty, creativity, and passionate living.
Except when therapeutically necessary, I require both partners to be present for each session. Sessions begin only when both parties are present. This is because I will not keep secrets from either of you. Anything said to me on an individual basis such as during a phone call will be made known to your partner. When appropriate I can help you frame the conversation you need to have. I am on your side because I don’t take sides.
Keep in mind that I am a mandated reporter which means that I must report to the appropriate authorities if I believe that one of you intends to hurt yourself, your partner, a child, an elder, or any other person.