Individual Therapy for Healthy Relationships
What the hell is a healthy relationship, anyway?
We all know this is one of those things we’re supposed to be able to “do” as mature, well-adjusted adults and decent human beings. But very few of us have ever had the chance to see one of these mythical “healthy relationships” up close.
Instead, we’ve learned how to:
- Stifle our negative emotions because “no one wants to see that”
- Feel guilty for having needs, much less expressing them
- Make ourselves smaller because we don’t want to be “demanding” or “difficult”
- Anticipate other people’s needs in order to win their love and approval
- Perform and pretend to be someone we think others would want
- Blame ourselves for the ways our relationships implode, without ever knowing exactly what we did wrong.
It’s not just about “communication skills.”
Even for those of us well versed in nonviolent communication, processing, and consensus-based decision making, it’s possible (and I daresay expected) to keep tripping up in our intimate relationships in ways that baffle and infuriate us. Why? Because our deeply ingrained framework for what we expect relationships to look like has been set up inside us long ago, and continues to shape both who we’re drawn to and how we behave with them.
I know how hard you want to work on being the kind of person someone else will be able to love.
But you know what? In all likelihood, that approach is only going to crush your soul and push you further away from your goal.
Let’s try something different.
What We’ll Do
As your therapist, I’ll work with you one-on-one to get to the bottom of what’s keeping you stuck in unsatisfying relationships.
Unsurprisingly, it will involve a lot of talking about your relationships, both past and present. Yep, we’re gonna talk about your parents. And your exes. And your friends from elementary school. It’ll be fun, I promise. (The laughing-while-crying kind of fun. Other people think that’s fun, right?)
Together, we’ll help you:
- understand the common roles you step into over and over in various relationships
- discover and respect your own boundaries
- break codependent habits and practice new ways of handling your feelings
- deal with conflicts in a way that stays mindful, honest, and connected with yourself
- fix your “picker” and break the cycle of gravitating toward lovers and friends who hurt you in the same frustrating, demoralizing ways
- become your own advocate and take your needs and desires seriously
- care for yourself with the same compassion and attentiveness you give to your significant others.
By the way, as a sex-positive, LGBTQ-friendly therapist, one thing I won’t be doing is pathologizing your sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship configuration, or sexual practices. Healthy relationships can look all kinds of different ways. What’s important is what feels right for you.
What about couples therapy/relationship therapy?
I don’t work with couples or other relationship configurations, but I have lots of great colleagues who do, and I’m happy to connect you to them.
Why I Care
So much of our individual pain is expressed through our relationships. We long for connection, feel isolated or abandoned or rejected, and fear closeness because of how it’s hurt us in the past. Systemic oppression and trauma ramp up our very real need for self-protection from harmful others. At the same time, these protective mechanisms can also cut us off from genuine connections and the ability to trust that we’re safe with anyone.
I hate that the most marginalized of us have had our worlds shrunken by the walls we’ve had to build keep the danger out. And I believe it’s not just possible, but necessary to reclaim our ability to love, connect, and trust in order to empower ourselves in the face of oppression.
I love watching people come to life in therapy after years or decades of going without authentic connection. When we reconnect to our own sense of being lovable, our worlds open up. And we’re able to let a lot more good stuff in, in all areas of our lives.
I don’t want you to wait any longer to let in the good stuff.