Couple Therapy

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Understanding and Rekindling Your Relationship

Many couples who start out with a close, loving bond often wonder what happened when rigid, destructive patterns begin to take hold. Effective communication feels difficult and negotiations can dead end. Conflicts erupt over child rearing practices, money concerns, shared activities, health worries, sex, household responsibilities and a variety of other issues. You end of feeling alone in the relationship, and it can seem as if the “storm of living” has eroded some of the basic fabric of your connection.

Partners struggle to diagnose issues and regain previous balance and connection. In her ground breaking book, Hold Me Tight, psychologist Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, maintains that we become ultra-sensitive to the other’s “dissatisfaction” and “disappointment” cues, as what used to feel like a “safe harbor” may now be experienced as unreliable territory. This can lead to eruptive fights and/or reactive distancing or patterns of stonewalling and ineffective communication. Sometimes we even begin to rewrite our romantic history and wonder if we’ve been fooled into choosing the wrong mate or partner.

Recognizing Triggers and Relational Patterns

Although each relationship, marriage or partnership is unique, many of us blame our mate when we are scared or threatened. It’s usually somewhat harder to see our part of the conflict. We mirror and trigger our partners. Our mate’s negative words and behaviors can provoke defensive reactions in us which triggers negative reactions from them. Breaking this cycle can be important in healing. In addition to recognition of the trigger points, the partners can learn to investigate and jointly notice the reactive dance that has developed. In this way, we can learn to deescalate and appreciate and make sense of the feelings and needs of our partner that propel this pattern. Behind anger is often hurt and a worry or belief that the partner isn’t available, doesn’t care or isn’t reliable.

Reconnecting With Love Basics

EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) provides a well-researched road map that has proven successful with couples who have lost their way. Defensive postures that reflect survival mode can be eventually be replaced with team building approaches as security is reestablished in the couple’s connection. The relational bonds, once strengthened allows for greater empathy and flexibility, the grounds for effective communication within the higher conflict content areas, increases. Old hurts and misunderstandings that have blocked the couple’s intimacy and connection attempts can be repaired.

The couple is now primed for a weatherproof relationship story that appreciates how the team is continuing to build upon their love foundation.

If you would like further information about EFT and how this method can help you to  reconnect with  love basics, please contact me. You can also download and take the Marriage Inventory located in the Forms section of this site as one way of assessing certain aspects of your relationship as it now stands.