Couples Counseling & Therapy in Austin, TX
Couples can find such joy and pain in each other. Are you suffering in your relationship? Or has the connection faded? Maybe one of you feels betrayed by the other and trust needs to be rebuilt? Or maybe you or your partner just got bored or disappointed over time and want more out of your relationship. As a couple evolves, differences or lack of effective connection and communication can lead to building resentment, fighting, and hostility. Perhaps your relationship is going great but you want to utilize the latest understandings of how to make it even better. Whatever your situation, we can help.
Healthy relationships lay the foundation for a happy, meaningful life. Sense of belonging through relationships and search for community or family are incredibly powerful driving forces. Let us build your confidence in navigating relationships, from communication and emotional skills to complex dynamics affecting how you are seen by your partner and how you understand him or her in return. So many of us have some type of struggle in relationships–from choosing the wrong person to date, to putting our own needs last, to having trouble accurately reading our partner. Relationships are complex and exciting. Whether you want to explore and deepen your tolerance for intimacy and emotional availability, or learn how to handle a specific recurring dynamic, we love working on your skill and ease in relationships.
We believe being a couples’ therapist involves specialized training. Most of our therapists have advanced specialty in couples therapy and have studied with national leaders in the latest, most-effective approaches. As a whole, our couples counseling tends to be very experiential, attachment-oriented, and rooted in an understanding of the brain and arousal states (such as trauma and nervous system regulation).The field of couples therapy has experienced a huge evolution. Some of the old-school approaches, such as communication training, are less effective because they focus on the more verbal, rational parts of the brain. These parts of the brain, and all the skills we learn when we are calm and collected, go offline when we are very emotional or upset—in moments where we are either too aroused (highly emotional) or not aroused enough (emotionally frozen or shut-down).
Couples therapists have recently expanded their tool-belt, discovering ways to facilitate faster, more powerful change. Our therapists have brought these new tools into our practice through advanced training in the most cutting-edge approaches to couples therapy (such as PACT–Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy). These new couples counseling approaches draw on a greater understanding of how the brain works, how arousal and threat-responses lead to triggering behavior, and how secure attachment can be facilitated. This type of couples work therefore helps people to understand how their partner’s brain works and what they can do to shift both people’s brain states from fight or flight toward safety and connection.
This shift is so important! When we do not feel safe, our minds are primed to either attack or shut-down. In these difficult moments, rational or verbal solutions simply do not work. When the neocortex (the most advanced part of our brain) goes offline because of being emotionally triggered, couples must learn to focus on communicating to subcortical parts of their partner’s brain. Through touch, tone of voice, proximity, etc., couples can practice working together to shift each other’s internal system away from defense, attack, or freeze toward collaboration, support, and mutual care.
Couples Therapy Approach
Because these skills take practice, the approach we use with couples is active, experiential, and concrete. Our therapists are engaged, playful, and direct. Believe it or not, couples counseling can be fun! Our clients express feeling excited and empowered to discover how to bring out the best in their partners. And doing so leads to huge rewards! We encourage couples to actively create the relationship they want!
There is wonderful research that a healthy couples bond can serve as a profound source of healing and growth. The longest longitudinal study on humans (which tracks participants for 75 years), clearly showed that relationship is the most powerful predictor of one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. On the flip side, couples can do damage to each other when they are not in a good place. It is important to be proactive when it comes to one’s partnership. Couples therapy does not need to be a last-ditch effort. It can be a space of exploration, a time to get to know your partner more deeply, share a bonding experience, and develop a mutual vision of your life together.
Whether your relationship is in crisis or you just have some things to work through that could be easier between you, we are here. Couples counseling is a strength of our practice. If you would like support, please reach out!