“We need connection to others like we need oxygen. We are too vulnerable without it and we become obsessed with danger. It is how we are wired. When we feel rejected and abandoned by the person we most depend on, there is a special pathway in our emotional brain that is reserved for attachment panic.” — YAK PANKS
Are you asking yourself - how are we doing as a couple? Ongoing distress in a relationship is harmful to each partners' physical and emotional well being. Growing emotional distance within the relationship can leave us feeling like we are stranded in the middle of the sea - barely staying afloat and desperate for security, safety, and connection. Lack of commitment and trust further pushes our partners farther and farther away, rather than finding a way back to one another.
Who can benefit from Couples Therapy?
You may benefit from Couples Therapy if:
You find yourself repeating the same fight over and over again
You feel under-appreciated, unseen, and undervalued in your relationship
You experience emotional loneliness
You have different parenting styles that often conflict with one another
You experience attachment insecurities that stem from early traumatic experiences
You have changes in navigating with relationships - in-laws, work, friendships, health issues
You are not satisfied with the amount and quality of intimacy, affection and sex you have with your partner(s)
You feel you and your partner(s) are mismatched sexually
You and your partner(s) want to separate on positive terms
You are experiencing disagreement and/or mis-management on finances
You feel things are unfair with the division of chores/household responsibilities
There has been infidelity within your relationship
You and your partner(s) have experienced a major life transition - becoming parents, health issues, change/loss/job relocation, migration, or a significant loss
You and your partner(s) have different cultural backgrounds and values that often clash with one another
You and your partner(s) want to deepen your intimacy and connection
You and your partner(s) experience tension because one of you is struggling with coming out
You want to support your partner(s) who is experiencing gender dysphoria or is questioning their gender identity
Rachel's Philosophy for Couples Work
Rachel draws her approach to coupes therapy from attachment theory. The fundamental understanding of attachment theory is that we learn how to be human and all of our roles (partner, husband, wife, parent) from our early childhood relationships with our primary caregivers. The way(s) in which our parental attachment figures approached our physical and emotional needs shapes the attachment style we grow into as adults. Our attachment styles in adulthood reflect what we experienced as children. Unmet expectations and disappointments in relationships cause us suffering. Humans are wired for connection and strive for intimacy, but abandonment, betrayal, poor communication and feeling isolated are raw points that cause some of our most hurtful wounds.
Emotionally Focused Therapy
Rachel follows evidence-based best practices of John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Esther Perel and Tara Brach.
Emotionally Focused Therapy - created by Sue Johnson, is based on the concept that distress in intimate relationships is often related to deeply rooted fears of loss and abandonment. An individual's emotional response to these fears can be harmful and will influence the relationship. When partners are unable to meet each other's emotional needs, they can get stuck in negative patterns of interaction driven by failed attempts to get each other to understand their emotions and needs.
The Gottman Method - an evidence-based form of couples therapy developed by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. This approach assists couples in achieving a deeper sense of understanding, awareness, empathy, and connectedness within their relationships, that leads to increased intimacy and interpersonal growth. Couples learn to identify and address natural defenses that hinder effective communication and bonding.
Mindfulness & Yogic Relationship Science Fundamentals - Rachel integrates mindfulness with somatic-awareness tools that focus on emotional regulation, stress-reduction, identifying triggers, learning and tuning into your partners' body language and cues to enhance communication. Yogic relationship science fundamentals are also introduced and discussed to enhance and grow a couples emotional, physical and spiritual relationship with one another. Rachel incorporates meditation, breath work and kundalini yoga into treatment with couples who are looking to make serious and significant changes to their habits, way of thinking, and overall approach to life and their relationship with one another.
How Rachel Can Help
Conscious Uncoupling: Rachel will help you and your partner(s) through the process of changing your relationship and detaching from. your partner(s). Uncoupling is complete when you and your ex-partner can both define yourself as separate and independent from each other. Uncoupling occurs when being partners with your soon to be ex-partner is no longer a part of your identity. This process is carried out with compassion, support, guidance and will help facilitate a less challenging transition.
Inclusivity: Rachel works with heterosexual, queer, non-monogamy, polyamorous, gender-nonconforming and trans relationships. Rachel also works with partners from various nationalities and cultures; as well as second-marriages, long-term relationships not defined by marriage, blended families, and adoption.
Conflict Resolution: Rachel works with couples to engage and fight "right" - as fighting and conflict is a normal and natural part of any relationship. The work focuses on making effective repairs during and after the conflict, engaging in de-escalation, practicing psychological self-soothing strategies, and learning to compromise.
The best place to start is to schedule a complimentary consultation with Rachel to assess your needs and make a recommendation.
Meeting weekly or biweekly, couples therapy typically occurs for a minimum of 3 months in order to understand your relationship dynamics, identify conflicts, and recognize patterns. Tools and strategies for change will be introduced and implemented, so that you can see true progress with your identified goals.
Reading assignments, conversation topics to discuss, and couples check-in's may also be recommended in between sessions.