• My first goal is helping couples build the skill of creating a safe space between them in which they learn to be fully present to each other. Within that space of safety, they are able to do the deep work removing core blockages which have kept them stuck and disconnected. They develop effectiveness in syncing up to each other and as a result, they are able to make good decisions about the well being of each person and their relationship.
    What are the goals of a therapist in working with couples?
  • Couples who view relationship issues as signs and signals that they need to stretch and grow rather than run, fight or hide. This requires courage, grit to go into uncomfortable places. It also requires the qualities I have already mentioned-respect, trust and a commitment to helping each other grow.
    Why do some couples not make it while others do?
  • Respect, trust and vitality. Respect speaks to openness to our partner’s opinions, especially when they are different from our own. We are wired to feel threatened by difference. Successful couples have skill in staying open and curious to our partner’s differences. Anyone can develop this skill with enough practice-we are not born with it. Respect also speaks to honoring our partner for who they are-not who we want them to be. Trust: The three most important questions that all mammals have in relationship are: Do you have my back? Am I your priority? Are you there for me? The family dog requires the same confirmation every time we walk through the door. Why would we have less expectations for each other than our dog? Vitality: Successful couples are like successful people, they are resilient and align with habits, experiences and activities which foster growth, wellness and aliveness.
    What are the qualities that make relationships successful?
  • Ultimately for couples to gain clarity about what they want and need and learn ways to achieve those goals without getting hijacked by old blocking beliefs and ingrained coping mechanisms. The work of becoming conscious and claiming the driver’s seat our lives and relationships can be very tricky to navigate without a skilled therapist who can help you through this process. I highly recommend seeing a therapist who specializes in a couples therapy model such as Imago Relationship Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy or Encounter-centered Couples Therapy. I’m partial to intensive sessions when couples are in crisis. This allows for an effective, clarifying and transformational experience for couples who have been stewing in uncertainty, confusion and have been lacking clarity about their relationship.
    What can couples gain from therapy?
  • If you can share in future dreams together. A powerful exercise that I do is called, “Wildest Dreams.” Couples arrive feeling stuck, negative, angry and hopeless. Asking them to share their wildest relationship dreams shifts them out of the “problem mindset” into the “possible mindset.” It’s like a relational re-boot. More often than not, couples are aligned in their dreams even when their current reality seems very out of sync. If your big picture life dreams align, then it means that the relationship needs support in realizing those dreams. If your big picture visions are out of sync, then all the work in the world might not help you save your relationship.
    How do you know you have a relationship that is worth saving?
  • Consider if you have expressed your biggest frustrations with your partner in a way that they can really hear you? Consider if you’ve been open and curious about understanding your partner’s biggest frustrations with you? If not, then positive change is clearly not possible. Couples who divorce tend to handle conflict by either going into attack mode or avoiding conflict altogether by fleeing or shutting down. These ancient survival mechanisms are built into us and override our ability to think clearly, stay grounded or feel compassion. Don’t assume that your partner isn’t capable of hearing you until you have successfully heard them with an open heart and mind. Building skill and effectiveness in how you exchange your feelings and thoughts can change the climate in a relationship from cold and emotionally unsafe and to warm and emotionally comfortable.
    What should I consider in making my decision about getting a divorce?
  • Darn, nancyh hasn’t written any scoops yet!