Couples Therapy

How Therapy Can Help

Many of the couples that I work with find themselves stuck in an unhealthy dynamic with their partner. In many cases, problems with communication cause or intensify this dynamic. One partner may withdraw and won’t communicate how he/she actually feels because it doesn’t feel safe. As a result, the other partner becomes frustrated and may even feel rejected. Other couples I work with also struggle because they themselves or their partner is managing anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and/or autism spectrum disorder. They too may find it difficult to understand one another, communicate effectively, and/or get stuck in an unhealthy dynamic.

Therapy can provide a safe environment, where both partners can feel supported and understood. As a therapist, I can be an impartial observer and talk openly with the couple about their problematic behaviors and teach more effective ways to relate to one another. I can help partners become more attuned and sensitive to their partner’s needs, as well as help clients learn better communication skills, in addition to providing information about various psychological concerns. In session, skills can be practiced and mastered so that each partner can feel confident communicating to their partner more effectively outside of the session.

My Approach

When working with a couple, I help each partner identify his/her own reasons for wanting therapy, as well as what they hope to get from it. Identifying these reasons and goals, helps me find a common ground for the couple. Typically, I meet with both partners on a weekly basis. At times, I will request individual sessions with each partner so I may gain a better understanding of an individual’s perspective, concerns, and goals. I will then meet with the couple to discuss the individual sessions and help facilitate better communication between the couple.

As a couples therapist, I observe the dynamic of the couple and pull from different theories to identify the skills that are best suited for each partner and problem. For example, if one partner is having trouble communicating his emotions, I may integrate emotion-focused therapy techniques and communication skills into the session. Some specific effective interventions that I use include the following:

  • Identify communication styles of each partner and learn more effective ways to communicate
  • Identify problematic dynamics within the relationship
  • Learn how to identify your needs and ask for what you need
  • Provide information regarding psychological concerns and disorders
  • Explore how your early attachment relationships affect your current relationship
  • Learn how to identify your boundaries and how to put them in place
  • Gain insight into how you affect your partner’s behaviors
  • Learn more effective ways to manage your own emotions

Deciding to Begin Therapy

Some people have reservations about starting couples therapy. Some clients fear that they are going to be judged or told that they are the problem and are the only one in the relationship that needs to change. My job is not to judge you or your partner or point fingers, but help both partners identify behaviors and more importantly their contribution to the relationship dynamic. My goal is to have both partners feel supported, heard, and understood.

I believe it is necessary that the therapist should be a good fit for both partners. Just like in everyday life, personalities can clash or complement one another. Therefore it is important to find a therapist that works well with each partner.  I am more than happy to provide a phone consultation so we may briefly discuss what brings you and your partner to therapy, possible goals for therapy, as well as give you an opportunity to ask questions about my therapeutic approach, practice, and experience. 

Insurance, Fees, and Cancellation

I currently accept First Choice Health, Group Health Cooperative (Options PPO, Access PPO), Regence Blue Shield, Premera, and can be seen as an out-of-network provider for many insurance companies. If I am an out-of-network provider for your insurance company and you choose to use your insurance, you are expected to pay the full fee at the time of your appointment. Depending on your insurance company, I can either provide you with a bill that may be submitted for reimbursement from the insurance company or I may submit the bill directly. As an out-of-network provider, services may be covered in full or in part by your insurance company. It is the client’s responsibility to check with their insurance company to determine coverage. If you are unsure about what questions to ask your insurance, please see Insurance Benefits Verification Form (pdf).

 

Appointments that are not canceled with at least 24 hour notice will be charged the full fee for that session.