Couples Counseling

Why is long-term, intimate relationship hard? Because you need so much from it, similar to what you received (or did not receive, yet needed just the same) as a child from your primary caregiver(s). Most people seek a life partner because life is easier and more delightful with a partner. It is easier in obvious ways: paying the bills, making the home, raising a family – and also in less obvious ways: emotional stability, stress relief, consolation, affirmation, encouragement, protection. Deep in our hearts, coupling (and marriage is publicly committed coupling) is important at the level of survival. No wonder that divorce feels like death.



Adult Attachment

I help couples reconnect with this deepest level of mutual need, in themselves and in their partners. The work is intuitively familiar, since this is why they were connected in the first place. With a strong emotional bond restored, it is then fairly easy to negotiate between differing styles and self-repair after inevitable arguments.

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. ― Rainer Maria Rilke

How It Works

The theory and technique I use when working with couples is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)¹. EFT attends to experience (emotion) and system (interactional pattern, communication). The distressed relationship becomes a series of reactions fueled by ill feelings. Couples often have the same basic struggle over and over, with only the details changing. This tussle becomes the “dance” and the driving emotions are the “music.” Only the dance floor and sometimes the costumes vary.

I help you to change the music so that you will create a new dance.

Contact me at 925-223-7228,

  1. Johnson, Sue. Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love. Little, Brown, 2008.