Portland Couples Therapist

If you’re in a relationship, you’ve probably discovered that relationships can be really difficult. A healthy relationship thrives on a mutual openness to sharing ordinary moments. Ordinary moments can be common everyday occurrences. They can also be moments during which we witness for each other the profound array of our different life experiences. The strength and contact of these shared moments over time creates intimacy.

You may remember those simple shared moments that were so profoundly satisfying and uncomplicated, and now those moments happen less and less or not at all. What is this about? You may ask yourself: Are my partner and I incompatible? Are these issues workable, and is healing possible?

Patterns naturally develop in relationships, and it is often these patterns that interfere with our ability to share moments in the same ways we used to. Couples experiencing relationship challenges are often stuck in patterns; you may find yourself always getting into the same argument with your partner, inflicting the same wounds, or encountering the same defenses. In any case both people are missing important information about one another, and each partner may be unaware of what is happening for her or himself. Perhaps one or both partners is feeling unseen, unacknowledged or disregarded.

To recover those truly authentic shared moments, we need to be able to make contact with each other in the present moment. “Contact” is a term used in Gestalt therapy to describe our ability to be aware of ourselves and aware of somebody else (and our surrounding) at the same time, and to accept and honor our differences and the boundaries between us.

Our ability to be in contact requires attention and awareness of our own personal boundaries. This allows us to take responsibility for our needs. When both partners are regularly tending to their own personal needs, tending to the needs of the relationship becomes a possibility.

How I work with Couples:

Couples therapy is interactive and engaging: in a supportive environment, we will engage in dialogue that fosters growth and builds better communication skills.

  • I work to help couples unravel patterns so that both partners can see what is actually happening more clearly.
  • I help both partners practice skills with each other so that communication can become more effective.
  • I support both partners in developing ways to say what is at times difficult to say, to feel heard when saying something difficult, and to co-evolve while discovering new things about one another.

Struggling in relationship is often the result of one or both partners having unresolved personal challenges. As couples therapy can be of great help, our personal struggles in life may also show up as sources of reoccurring patterns in our relationship. For this reason, attending individual therapy may also be helpful in conjunction with couples therapy.