Couples and Sex Therapy

Couples Counseling Seattle

Maintaining an intimate relationship probably ranks as one of the most rewarding and also the most challenging activities in which you will likely engage. While you stand to derive terrific benefits from the companionship of a partner in life, you also make extremely painful prioritizations to your own values to make a relationship work over a long period of time. Whether in a traditional marriage or a same-sex couple, the issues are largely the same.

Do you and your partner fight about the same issues repeatedly?
Does your partner push your buttons, seeming to want to hurt you?
Do you wish that you had a more fulfilling sex life?
Have you faced issues related to infidelity in your relationship?
Do you feel distant from your partner? Like you don't connect?
Do you and your partner avoid making difficult joint decisions?
Do you feel like you cannot be yourself around your partner, sexually or otherwise?
Do you sense that your partner does not respect your point of view?
Does your relationship feel like it revolves around power struggles?

I perform couples counseling with the intention of helping you and your partner to develop the skills and strengths that will make your relationship more satisfying.

I typically will see you and your partner together every week for the beginning of our time together and then move to a biweekly or even monthly schedule depending on the nature of the issues involved in therapy. Once I have worked with a couple, I expect that I might hear from the couple as new challenges confront the relationship. I occasionally will meet with each member of the couple individually, though only when I feel like it will help me to more expediently get information about you--anything that I learn about you I will assume that I can share with your partner as well.

Three key principles will come up repeatedly in my work with you as a couple. First, I will help you to understand that some of the issues that you are trying to solve are not amenable to an easy compromise. These issues represent places where a clash occurs between very strong parts of who you are as distinct individuals. For these cases, I will help you to communicate effectively about these differences rather than making the differences go away. Helping to preserve your individual self while still maintaining intimacy with your partner is a very important part of my work with you.

Second, I will often look at your issues through the perspective of a family system. Quite frequently, the problems that you exhibit in your marital relationship mirror similar issues that existed in each of your families while growing up. I will help you to understand--and move past--the patterns that keep you stuck. Relationships also act as a system in that they tend to push individuals towards opposing roles, accentuating differences and hiding the real person of you and your partner. I will help you see these cases and balance them. You might find that working through the issues that your relationship presents to you will have far-reaching impacts in the rest of your life: at work, with extended family, with friends.

Finally, I believe that relationship issues often have a sexual component to them. Therefore, when working with you, I will often ask for information about the sexual aspects of your relationship to see how they compare with the other issues in your relationship. While I don't consider myself a sex therapist, I do view the resurrecting of a fulfilling sex life as a cornerstone of my work with any couple.

Many people wonder whether couples counseling is a prelude to divorce or if it makes the relationship worse by dwelling on issues in the relationship. I strongly believe that the attention that couples counseling directs to a relationship--with all the difficulties that sharing a life with another person entails--serves to make the relationship stronger and more satisfying. Clients who seek couples counseling usually feel some discomfort from their relationship already. Bringing into the open the underlying causes of this discomfort strikes even the most skeptical client as productive. In some cases, couples counseling might encourage a couple to go their own separate ways. In the vast majority of cases, the focus is on strengthening each partner so that, regardless of whether you stay together or part, you will approach future relationships in healthier ways. In either case, I will work with you and your spouse to make you the best possible relationship partners--for your current or future relationships.

If you are looking for couples counseling or marriage counseling in Seattle (or via Skype from other areas), you may request more information or to set up an initial session, call me at my office.