Couples Therapy

Aging, the birth and growth of children, crises, deaths, pandemics, economic upheavals, and other life changes require that people in relationships revisit and sometimes re-negotiate the terms of their commitment. Most couples face these challenges successfully without a therapist, but occasionally couples gets stuck, overwhelmed, or feel hopeless figuring out what to do. Therapy is useful to couples who are interested in an outside, seasoned perspective and the strategies a professional can bring to help them hear each other differently.

I help couples and families. I like to focus on how psychological challenges evolve within interpersonal systems.

One of the draws to couples therapy for me is the chance to provide an affirmative, creative, strengths-based, sex-positive, reflective space for couples who want to work on their relationships or contemplate serious marital transition. I help couples explore ways of maintaining, invigorating, and re-inventing their partnerships across the lifespan, discovering the unique adaptations that are going to work for them, to allow both individuals to thrive. I work with same-sex, heterosexual, and mixed orientation couples.

My framework as a therapist has a strong grounding in interpersonal neurobiology and the science of resilience. For most of my career I have worked with people impacted by past trauma and extreme adversity, so I am accustomed to exploring how those legacies play out in intimate partnerships. The essential message of interpersonal neurobiology is:

  • Our brains and nervous systems are tribal and deeply and implicitly interconnected.
  • We have a deep need for closeness with other people (and other people are the greatest threats we experience).
  • Past hurts and injuries can heal through healthy, meaningful bonds to others.

I believe people can navigate challenging, sometimes emotionally fraught, terrain as a couple more harmoniously when they understand their own brain-heart-gut dialogue and the ways it plays out in relationship and see and hear each other more accurately.

My office is located in Portland, Oregon, in the lovely Buckman neighborhood near Revolution Hall, just a few blocks south of East Burnside, ten minutes from downtown, parking is convenient.