Being sucessful in a relationship requires many things including the ability to recognize troublesome differences. Occasionally, our relationships get strained and are not able to function at their optimum level. This can cause great distress within each person in the couple as well as compromise the integrity of the relationship itself. Whether you are recently dating or involved in a long-term relationship, I will provide you with the support and insight needed to better understand and work through your relationship difficulties.
The goal of couples therapy/marriage counseling is to help you better understand the dynamics of your relationship so that conflicts get resolved and the connection you once shared becomes revitalized. Utilizing the principles and skill set from Imago Relationship Therapy and Somatic Experiencing, you will be guided to safely explore core thoughts and feelings that may be creating stumbling blocks to real and lasting intimacy. You will gain the ability to negotiate differences, to better manage conflicts, to identify and avoid repeating patterns of distress, and will learn effective and concrete communication skills. Acquiring these tools will re-ignite the connection that brought you together so that you may enjoy a successful, happy, and fulfilling relationship for years to come. You will complete therapy with an entire tool set to support you in creating and maintaining a more solid bond over time. With increased insight and better communication skills, your partnership will be restored to its natural state of balance and connection.
Nicole invites you to see couplehood as the greatest opportunity for your own spiritual growth and healing.
- Frequent Fighting/Poor Communication
- Loveless Marriage/Relationship
- Sexual/Intimacy Issues
- Household/Financial Management Differences
- Parenting Discrepancies
- Conflict in Defining Roles
- Premarital Counseling
Being in a committed relationship usually means that we have found someone with whom we are deeply connected. This commitment also means that we will likely experience periods of distress, hostility, and disconnection. Disagreements in our intimate relationships are quite healthy and normal, but frequent fighting and/or poor communication–including name calling, yelling, temporary abandonment, on-going sarcasm, blaming, stonewalling, lying, shaming, manipulating, criticizing, and acting contemptuously–is tremendously harmful to the health of our relationships.
In couples therapy, you will have the opportunity to transform this conflict from something negative into a channel for your own growth and healing. Conflict is the sign that our relationship is ready to deepen and we can become more connected with our partners. Without the proper tool set, however, this conflict can quickly turn into a battlefield. Engaging in couples therapy will give you a safe place–free of shame, blame, and criticism–to express your truth and find the solutions that will serve your relationship best. You will also acquire the tools that will allow you to effectively use conflict as a way to solve problems, better understand yourself and your partner, get your needs met, and deepen the level of intimacy within your relationship. With continued use of the tools learned in therapy, your relationship will become a conduit for lasting healing, growth, connection, intimacy, and love.
As we move through our busy lives and fulfill all of our responsibilities, we can easily lose focus on keeping our intimate relationships a priority. Over time, then, the love, passion, and excitement we initially experienced fades and we might be left feeling numb, out-of-love, disconnected, anxious, sad, bored, and confused. Being part of a committed relationship is difficult, yet hugely rewarding if we are willing to give it the time, care, and nurturance it needs to thrive.
Engaging in couples therapy will offer you the opportunity to explore the possibilities your current relationship has to offer. If you are committed to remaining in your relationship, with the right guidance you will discover that your once mundane relationship can transform itself into the relationship of your dreams. Therapy provides a sound structure to explore all of your fears, needs, and desires while providing a safe passage to deepen the intimacy, passion, and love between you and your partner. Over time, and with consistent application of the tools learned in therapy, your love will be restored and the connection you once felt will be revitalized.
In our close relationships, sexual intimacy is of utmost importance as it provides a way to deeply connect and maintain an emotional bond with our partner. Those who experience sexual/intimacy problems (i.e., erectile dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, loss of desire due to a temporary condition such as illness or pregnancy, inability to achieve orgasm, or overall discomfort with being intimate) may find that it is extremely difficult to feel happy, fulfilled, and connected in a committed relationship. While it is important to rule out any physical imbalances that may be interfering with one’s healthy sexuality, psychotherapy knows that oftentimes sex in a relationship is hardly ever just about sex.
Couples therapy will provide you with the safety and guidance needed to explore the issues underlying your sexual problems. Sexual/intimacy problems are usually just a symptom of much deeper, unresolved matters within yourself and the relationship. You will gain a concrete set of tools in dialoguing that will lead you to uncover the roots of this issue. You will learn to verbalize your needs and in so doing, provide an opportunity for your partner to stretch and grow into his/her fullest potential. As each of you grow, you are able to heal old wounds that create an open space to safely explore sexuality and sexual needs together. As you share yourselves with one another and deepen emotional intimacy in the relationship, the sexual health of your relationship will be restored to its natural state of connection, excitement, and fulfillment.
Infidelity is complex, painful and confusing. There are various kinds of betrayal–the most common being physical and emotional affairs. When the relationship sustains an infidelity it is crucial that intervention be sought immediately. Marriages/committed relationships can and do heal from affairs, but it is a process that requires time, patience, an understanding of oneself, and a commitment to the future health of the relationship. While infidelity seems to be the sole responsibility of the betrayer, it is important to realize that both partners have played a role in the current state of the relationship.
In therapy, you will be given the space and time needed to heal from this deep wounding, while discovering your own answers in response to this troubling issue. In this safe and structured environment, and through the process of dialoguing, you will learn to take responsibility for your own feelings and for the role you have played in the relationship thus far. Each partner will explore issues underlying the infidelity and explore how each partner could provide the other with the support and healing needed to have a fulfilling, honest, open, and loving relationship. This conflict provides a tremendous opportunity for both partners to grow and heal – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Being in a committed relationship requires that we shift our focus from only taking care of ourselves to taking care of our partner and our relationship. This change can place tremendous strain on our relationship especially since we often have different ideas about how to manage our money and our home. According to a December 2009 article in the New York Times, Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University found that ”couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.” Disagreeing about how to manage our finances and our home life is something that can either destroy or renew our commitment to one another.
By engaging in therapy, you will gain the benefit of a neutral party who can guide you to find common ground amid shaky territory. You will explore your own beliefs as related to money/home life and have the opportunity to share these values with your partner in a safe and validated way. Through structured dialoguing you will rediscover what is important to you and you will realize the values and beliefs that shape your partner. As empathy and understanding increase, the connection between you and your partner becomes restored. This restoration will allow you to find the answers that will meet the financial/home needs of both you and your partner. Your relationship will be a safe haven and balanced place within which decisions are made jointly. This calm and focused collaboration will propel you toward reaching your personal and relationship goals.
Having children is one of the greatest joys a couple can experience. It does however, bring with it infinite responsibilities and even greater potential for strain on your relationship. All of us have had unique childhood experiences that has helped to shape who we are today. Many of us decided long before we met our partners that we would “teach our children that” or “never make our children do that!” While learning from our past is helpful, our ideas about raising children often create tension in our committed relationships.
Engaging in therapy will allow you to connect to and better understand the roots of your own child-rearing values. Therapy will also provide the opportunity for you to safely and openly share these values with your partner, without the fear of being shamed, blamed or criticized. You will each learn how to be in relationship with one another and love each other fully, even if you don’t agree on something as important as how to raise your children. You will collectively find solutions and common ground so that you can become a united front and provide your children with the benefits of being part of a loving, respectful, and healthy partnership. Greater alignment and consistency between you and your partner significantly increases the happiness and well-being of your children.
Before we enter into our committed relationship, we tend to have preconceived notions about the roles we, and our future partner, will play in the relationship. We may assume that one partner will be the breadwinner, while the other raises the children. Or we may assume that both parties will be in the work force and that other family members will help to raise the kids. We may find that our expectations are not shared by our partner or that over time our expectations change. These differences can create immense upheaval and imbalance in our relationship.
Therapy provides the guidance and tools needed to identify and express your beliefs about what it means to be in relationship as well as who you want to be in your relationship. You will safely explore the roots of these beliefs, while deepening your connection to one another. Your relationship will move from being hostile, confusing, and disappointing to one that is understanding, uplifting, and equitable.
Entering into marriage is an exciting yet serious commitment. Marriage is one of the biggest transitions a person can make, and so it is quite normal to experience feelings of anxiety, confusion, and even doubt. As we live in a culture obsessed with the “perfect” wedding, we often lose sight of the importance of nurturing our relationship and our forthcoming marriage. Premarital counseling provides couples with a safe space to freely discuss desires, needs, and concerns within the relationship as well as to examine the integrity of the relationship’s future. Couples are given an opportunity to discuss topics that often get ignored amid wedding plans, such as marriage expectations, money, children, role expectations, and core values. Therapy fosters healthy and more open communication between couples and paves the path for both a smooth transition into marriage and a fulfilling, long-term relationship.
Nicole provides counseling and therapy for families, couples, individuals, adults, and teens. She treats issues including depression, anxiety, grief, loss, healing trauma, addiction recovery, eliminating overeating, weight management, stress management, life transitions, personal growth, self-esteem, relationships, premarital counseling, improving communication and chronic pain. Nicole serves the greater San Diego area including La Jolla, University City, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, UTC, Sorrento Valley, Carmel Valley, Del Mar, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma.