Cultivating loving Relationships

Sharon Mead, LMFT

call for marriage counseling or psychotherapy
Sharon Mead couple and individual therapy

Free 30 minute phone consultation

What to expect in couples therapy

What I won’t do:

  • give you special phrases to use with each other. - they don't work
  • give you homework -- no one likes homework!
  • help you figure out who’s right. - that's not what matters

It doesn't matter who's right because that won't make you happier as a couple.  What matters is a secure bond that will lead to the positive and loving relationship you deserve.

How I will help

You will be safer to explore the issues that you haven’t been able to talk about productively at home. 

We’ll slow things down so you can discover

  • the patterns that are repeated from fight to fight
  • how reactive emotions and interactions take over 
  • your unexpressed and softer emotions and needs 

Experience is a powerful teacher

With new experiences you will

  • be fully heard and hear your partner
  • interrupt the patterns that keep you apart
  • see your patterns as the enemy, not the one you love.

Once it is safer to speak to each other from a more vulnerable place you will be able to come closer to each other and resolve problems much more easily. You will be able to turn to each other for comfort, celebration, and love.

Does couples therapy work?

Emotionally Focused Therapy is very effective.

 

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is based on a new science of changing intimate relationships.  EFT has been proven effective in 25 years of research. 

  • 70% of couples move from distress to recovery
  • Most couples maintain their gains after completion of therapy.

The most important indicators of success are

  • how well we can work together (alliance)
  • agreement on the goal:  a secure, bonded relationship
  • commitment to improve the relationship

Emotionally Focused Therapy works well:

  • even if you are frequently arguing or in conflict
  • even if one of you avoids talking about feelings

Dr. Sue Johnson, Soothing the Threatened Brain

 

hold me tight

Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

by Dr. Sue Johnson

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

 

Emotionally Focused Therapy was originated in the 1980's by Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Leslie Greenberg.  It was developed when Dr. Johnson noticed that her couples were not interested in fair fighting rules, negotiation skills, or insights.  Love relationships are emotional bonds and not subject to all that verbal rationality.  Emotion has a rationality all its own, a necessity for survival.

 

Emotionally Focused Therapy focuses on the needs and longings we all have for love and acceptance – our attachment needs --  especially from our romantic partners.  Love makes sense when you can see that fighting and distance in a relationship happens when love and acceptance seem threatened.  Often the response to threat is anger, criticism, or avoidance - a response that further threatens the relationship.  A self-perpetuating cycle sets in that is hard to break free from.

 

We have relatively new science about how the brain operates under the stress of disconnection and the protection afforded by a safe trusting relationship.  The way to build the safe relationship is through new safe experiences in therapy.  This video explains more.

love sense

Love Sense, The revolutionary new science of romantic relationships

by Dr. Sue Johnson

On this page:

Do we need couples counseling?

If you are not sure you need to see a couples counselor, it makes sense to make an appointment.  You are the one who knows if you are unhappy or wondering if things could be better and more loving.  Some sure signs are yes answers to any of these questions.

  • Are there touchy subjects you can't talk about without fighting or avoid altogether?
  • Do you feel lonely even when your partner is around, or because your partner is never around?
  • Can you go to each other for comfort when you are sad or frustrated?
  • Do you argue over and over about the same things?
  • Do you feel that you can never do anything right?

Most couples postpone seeking help for as much as 6 years.  In that time, problems become entrenched and hard to solve.

If your partner is reluctant, remember that for a relationship to work, both of you must be happy.  In fact, couples therapy is a good treatment for depression!

 

wordcloud (7)4x3 small clip bright