How do you get along with someone whose perceptions are so completely different from your own?
It can feel unimaginably hard to discipline kids, discuss finances, or resolve a hurt when you don't see eye to eye. And yet, having different perspectives is an inevitable part of being in a committed relationship.
I can help you and your partner understand your differences and recognize them as
a source of strength. By getting to the heart of the matter and feeling empathy again,
you'll feel more connected and better able to support each other in solving problems.
In a climate of acceptance, each of you can safely risk sharing and hearing the humanity in each other's experience of the relationship. I begin by coaching each of you to communicate your needs, wishes and fears in a way that the other partner can hear. Often, this involves slowing down the conversation, helping you express and listen from the heart, and translating messages that are painful to hear or feel "triggering."
I model plenty of empathy for each of you—the one who is trying to speak a difficult truth, so that you can be more present in the relationship. And empathy for the one who has to really stretch to hear that difficult truth with curiosity.
Support for Revealing Yourself with Strength and Vulnerability
From our earliest loves and losses, many of us needed to learn how to hide our feelings. We've relied on strategies to avoid the risks that come with closeness and conflict. Maybe those strategies have worked okay for us in the past. As adults though, we can also see how these strategies might keep us at a distance us from ourselves and others--and keep us from getting the support and closeness we all deserve.
Your willingness to risk being vulnerable can infuse your relationship with renewed tenderness, hope, passion and intimacy. Vulnerability is a clear sign of strength, contrary to messages many of us have absorbed from family, school, and cultural backgrounds. We may have learned that needing something from someone is a set-up for hurt, or we may have learned that "negative" feelings are a sign of personal weakness. I strive to offer each person a safe experience of vulnerable sharing, where your truth can be received and welcomed by your partner or family member.
How Would I Approach Your Relationship?
You and your partner or family member have unique histories, personalities, values and aspirations. I can tell you more specifically how I would approach your particular issues after I have met with both of you.
I may include the following elements:
Observation, assessment and feedback on your communication patterns
Homework (if desired)
In-session practice of mindfulness
Translation (speaking for each partner)
If you are interested, I invite each of you to contact me before scheduling a first session to hear my voice, ask questions, and get a sense of how comfortable each of you feels with me.