Most everyone wants to love and to be loved. This is part of human nature. Many of us have obstacles. My focus is to help people remove obstacles to success in relationships and to find happiness in their family life. I’m also interested in making families a better place for kids to grow up (so that they’ll have fewer obstacles to happiness, success and love.) I do this mostly by working with couples since the best therapist for a child is always the parent. Children learn what they live with, for better or worse.
My approach is behavioral because I believe it’s what we say and do that determines our success in love. Attitudes are hard to change but behavior is easier to control once we’ve made the decision to do so. My objective is to offer clear choices to my clients and then invite them to choose how they will behave. Once the proper behaviors are in place, relationship satisfaction usually increases, along with decreases in stress and increases in overall health and happiness and peace of mind.
I try to teach people how to communicate better. Communication is the foundation of intimacy and monogamy without intimacy is dry toast. If you want butter and jam on your toast you have to learn to maintain the intimacy that makes monogamy fun and interesting. Of course, when you communicate fully, you inevitably risk conflict. Poorly managed conflict is probably the chief cause of relationship failure. So I teach conflict skills. I don’t believe in fighting. Even arguing is pretty destructive. But I don’t advocate caving in either. Couples can learn to disagree without distress once they realize that self-control is not optional for adults. Angry behavior and speech must be controlled. Lashing out in anger is not helpful. It harms love. Because love is pretty fragile. It needs skillful maintenance and protection from violence and insult. Love can and will disappear if it’s not protected.
I approach each couple or individual as unique even though I know that many people have similar issues and problems. I want to hear their story and I try to create a safe environment where they know they won’t be judged or criticized. Facing oneself and one’s partner does entail some discomfort. I try to keep things a little bit light without losing focus on the problems and the solutions. Therapy doesn’t have to be painful although some people avoid it as though it were worse than a trip to the dentist. Yes, change can be hard and problems can be confusing and distressing. But change is often necessary in order to meet evolving demands of relationships, families and life in general. People who don’t want to change are right to avoid therapy because therapy is all about changing. I don’t change anyone. People change themselves by growing to be a more mature version of themselves. Remember the old joke? How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but it has to want to change. Yeah, that’s right. I just try to make it a little easier, clearer and more certain for those who know they need to and want to change.