I have found that it is important to balance understanding a couple as a whole and the two individuals that make up the relationship. In therapy I help a couple focus on ineffective and dysfunctional communication patterns that result in frustration and discouragement. I encourage each person to express his or her emotional needs more directly and openly. People often express their anger and criticism about their partner’s behavior, but have difficulty asking for what they need in a clear, non-attacking way.
My approach to couples therapy enables each person to feel more comfortable in asserting his or her needs while also developing a greater understanding and appreciation for the validity of the other person’s emotional needs. This leads to a shift from an adversarial stance toward one another to a greater ability to find solutions that have space for each person’s important feelings, values and goals.