Specialties and Approach

Couples Emotional Relationship Development

I work with couples who struggle feeling deeply emotionally connected with one another. Some of these couples struggle with a lot of conflict but other just feel as if they are coexisting and living two separate lives under the same roof. In my work with you we might address questions such as:

  • Why do we struggle so much communicating on both the ‘small’ issues and the ‘big’ issues?
  • How connected are our relationship struggles to our childhood family relationships?
  • Can we overcome our tendency to constancy criticize and belittle one another?
  • Why does my partner seem to connect better with others than with me?
  • What do I do if it feels like I am falling out of love with my partner?
  • What do I do if it seems that we only connect around issues of running the home and other logistics but lack real friendship and companionship?

    II. Couples Sexual Identity Development

    We each develop multiple parts of ‘self’ in our early years and the development of our sexual selves is an important part of our identity. We bring many beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings about sexuality into our marriages and these merge with the beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and feelings of our partner. Sometimes this goes smoothly but sometimes it does not. In our work together we will look at concerns such as:

  • How do we work with major mismatches of sexual desire?
  • Why do I always feel like I am pursuing (or being pursued) sexually?
  • How can I know what types of sexual expression are acceptable and appropriate?
  • How much do my struggles with sexuality have to do with attitudes that I picked up from the church, my childhood family, my community?
  • How do we merge very different sexual backgrounds, tastes, experiences, preferences?
  • How can we come to enjoy healthy and vibrant sexual intimacy in our marriage?

    III. Sexual Addiction Recovery (For the Addict and Partner)

    Few of us have not been effected in some way by internet pornography and its impact on intimate relationships. I have advanced training in sexual addiction prevention and recovery and many in my caseload are individuals and couples experiencing the miraculous life transformation of recovery from this intimacy disorder. In our work together we will address such issues as:

  • How struggles with sex addiction are often related to early coping strategies and is a method of auto regulation.
  • How the brain is impacted by the addiction and how it can be healed.
  • How to recognize triggers, overcome shame, and learn to reach out to others as an alternative to sexual acting out.
  • How the partner is impacted by the trauma of either disclosure or discovery of sex addiction.
  • How the trajectory of recovery is different for the recovering addict and the spouse.
  • The importance of utilizing a higher power and incorporating group recovery work in the recovery process.

IV. Parenting Issues

If only there were a master instruction manual for raising our children! If you have found it, please send it my way! I enjoy working with parents of young children and adolescents who wish to strengthen their relationships with their kids. I often work with parents and their children together as we address such questions as:

  • How do I navigate my child’s compulsion to be on screens and social media?
  • How can I teach my children respect and a healthy sense of confidence and competence?
  • How can I talk to my children about issues of their emerging sexuality?
  • How do I set boundaries with my kids as they challenge me and other authority figures?
  • I struggled connecting with my child as an infant (due to depression, adoption, overwhelm, etc.) and I’d like to learn how to be closer. How do I do this?
  • How can I prepare my adolescents for the transition to adulthood and its accompanying responsibilities?
  • How can I help my child who is struggling with issues of depression, social anxiety, perfectionism, or bullying issues?

V. Personal Development

We each are striving to become the very best and most fulfilled versions of ourselves and many feel deep down a yearning for a ‘something missing’ as they transition into and out of difference stages of their lives. I love to do work of this nature and find some of my most rewarding work is found in watching the beauty of an individual slowly unfold before my eyes. As I work with individuals with these existential questions we go deeply in issues like:

  • How do I find meaning and purpose in life when my primary responsibilities have changed due to the changing dynamics of my family?
  • How do I find the courage to see myself as worthy of that next big step in my life? Like going back to school? Developing that new hobby? Asking for that big promotion?
  • How do I overcome my struggles with comparing myself and my relative inadequacies with those of my friends, neighbors, fellow church members?
  • How can I overcome struggles with developing rich and deep adult friendships since it seems that I have forgotten how while immersed in career and family development?
  • How can I reconcile my experience of feeling both grateful for all that I’ve committed to my family while also feeling that I have left my own personal development behind?
  • How can I balance a commitment to cultivating personal interests, loves, and talents with the needs of my partner and my family?

VI. Relationship Struggles Related to Early Trauma

I am extremely interested in working with individuals who have struggled with early childhood trauma and neglect who come to me wondering why they continue to struggle with their current relationships. In our work together they come to realize that they are not broken, crazy or weak, but rather that their brains have been wired to respond to relational threat in a way that made sense at one time but does not make sense any more. My relationship with each individual overcoming relational developmental trauma is incredibly fulfilling because as a therapist I get to help them see—through our relationship—that they are worthy of love and competent of being the loving, giving, and compassionate friends, partners, and parents that they strive to be. Doing this work is like watching a miracle take place as our warm relationship translates in their blossoming ability to practice this way of being in their larger lives. In this type of work we might answer the following questions:

  • Why do I struggle with so much pent up anger?
  • How can I overcome my desire to honor my parents while acknowledging that my childhood was painful in many ways?
  • Why am I so depressed and/or anxious and how can I learn to find joy in life?
  • Why can’t I seem to connect with others well?
  • How is my chronic pain related to my childhood story?
  • How can I overcome struggles with addiction (eating, shopping, gaming, sex, substances, etc.) and how is this related to my life story?
  • How can I make sense of my own life story so that I can be a better parent, spouse, etc.?

For more information about working clinically with me and an abundance of other great resources, please check out the website for my professional group at attachmentcounselor.com  (my page is found under the “Therapists” tab). Under “Client Resources” you can find an abundance of resources including highly recommended books for couples, individuals, parents, and those recovering from addiction.  You will also find a variety of video presentations, mindfulness exercises, and presentation transcripts by me and other highly qualified therapists and professionals in this field.