Your relationship is your most important asset.
The quality of a couple’s relationship is often the most important determinant of their sense of wellbeing, success and satisfaction in life, both as a couple and individually.
A satisfying relationship with your partner is not always automatic or easy.
Adult learning and development is invigorating and enjoyable as well as challenging, and much of this learning happens in the couple’s relationship. Being part of such a relationship is both rewarding and demanding. Understanding the difficulties of life as a couple as normal and even necessary is the first important step to engaging with these difficulties in a productive way.
Too often couples think that they are having problems because one of them or the relationship itself is flawed. My experience is that couples have difficulties because life as a couple is challenging and requires that they develop skills and understandings beyond those that they had when they first got together. When couples engage with difficulties as competent adult learners, they turn problems into development.
It’s all about learning.
The Learning Partners™ approach to couples therapy starts with the assumption that couples who can turn their difficulties into learning will thrive and develop both as a couple and individually. The couples therapist’s role is to facilitate this learning and teach the couple how to facilitate each other’s learning.
Couples find their relationship in a downward spiral when they are not able to turn the problems into learning. Working with me a couple learns a healthy respect for problems and how to turn downward cycles into virtuous cycles.
Helping couples turn problems into learning is at the center of my work with couples. I approach my work with couples as collaborative teamwork. I have studied many approaches to couples therapy including Susan Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and the science based approach of John Gottman. My goal with each couple is to get to know them as quickly and as well as possible in order to discover what will be the most helpful to them. This is a consultative approached based on building trust and teamwork. My aim is transparency so that my clients understand what we are doing and why and are able to see results in each session.
Dialogue and Aperture™
In my couples sessions dialogue and Aperture™ are the central focuses. This approach starts with the assumption that the very best relationship and the very best solutions to problems will be achieved when partners are able to engage in conversations that are explorations.
Dialogue, described by Isaacs as “thinking together,” is a process of collaborative discovery.
Aperture™ refers to the openness between people. With openness we are able to be aware of ourselves and the other and to articulate our desires and experience.
I use a conversational format to teach couples the skills of dialogue, where openness is prized and uncertainty privileged. Couples learn the skills that help them stay open in difficult conversations so that they become a high functioning team.
For the past 15 years I have been developing and teaching Aperture™-focused dialogue with couples that features:
- Learning and development,
- Mindful attention to interactions,
- Supportive work with each individual’s emotional vulnerabilities,
- Building the skills for open Apertures™and dialogue,
- Increasing trust and understanding.