CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND RESTORING INTIMACY
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Many couples come to therapy to learn how to better navigate conflict in their relationship.
In response to conflict or a perceived disconnection from one another, couples often fall into a "pursue/withdraw" pattern in which one person pursues the other (in an attempt to work things out) while the other partner withdraws from the interaction (most often in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict). Although both of these behaviors are motivated by a desire to feel connected, both the pursuer and the withdrawer tend to feel uncared for by their partner in these moments. Emotions are heightened and often things are said or done that are hurtful to the relationship.
In therapy sessions focused on conflict management, I help clients learn to recognize their vulnerable emotions (fear, sadness, hurt) and their desire to feel connected to their partner. I work with the couple to begin expressing these emotions to one another. I teach couples concrete ways to express their feelings and needs in a gentle way, and help them learn to validate one another's perspective while working together to feel connected.
RESTORING INTIMACY IN THE RELATIONSHIP
It is common for couples to come to therapy reporting that they feel more like "roommates" than spouses. Sometimes this is a result of months or years of having the same argument and one or both partners feeling unheard, slowly pulling away from each other and becoming resentful of one another. Other times, the couple can't quite pinpoint why or when this happened yet report that the busyness of life and the multiple roles they each play (with work, children, aging parents) seems to have gotten in the way or made it more difficult for them to feel connected. Therapy can help a couple re-prioritize each other and rekindle the passion they once felt for one another. I work with couples on concrete ways to strengthen their friendship, show appreciation for one another, talk gently with one another about their needs, and reconnect both emotionally and physically.