We all want happiness with our partners. Relationships usually start off strong; fun, exciting, sexy, new… Yet, no relationship is “low maintenance,” no matter how evolved we claim to be. In relationships we experience our most profound emotional experiences. We love yet inevitably hurt one another, and when we aren’t attuned to our partner and don’t understand how to practice quick repair, our wounds turn to scar tissue and we drift apart.

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without, and know we cannot live within.”  -James A. Baldwin

We all want happiness with our partners. Relationships usually start off strong; fun, exciting, sexy, new… Yet, no relationship is “low maintenance,” no matter how evolved we claim to be. In relationships we experience our most profound emotional experiences. We love yet inevitably hurt one another, and when we aren’t attuned to our partner and don’t understand how to practice quick repair, our wounds turn to scar tissue and we drift apart.

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without, and know we cannot live within.”  -James A. Baldwin

Relationships Often Suffer From:

  • Lack of understanding how your partner actually works
  • Explosive or frozen emotions
  • Trauma symptoms experienced by you and/or your partner
  • Affairs
  • Sexual problems
  • Behaviors used to avoid contact with partner
  • Lack of passion, fun, and playfulness
  • Poor understanding of why you’re together in the first place

Areas Of Learning For Couples:

Arousal patterns:  Moment-to-moment changes in our bodily stress, sensations, and emotions hugely impact our ability to think and engage socially.  How stressed we feel directly impacts what we say, the tone of our voice, and our body language. By identifying these patterns, we can start to talk about them rather than act from them.  We can request support around our experience, and offer support to our partner in turn.

Attachment styles:  All of us have been programmed from experiences in our family of origin which lead us to respond in our partner in ways that are automatic.  Not good, not bad, just to be expected. Part of couples therapy is gaining insight into these attachment patterns- ways we push our partner away and pull them towards, so they can be understood and worked with.  Insecurities around intimacy that are shaped by the past can destabilize our partnership, and we need to enlist support from the one who is most available to us, our partner.

Communication:  As partners, you tell each other everything, right?  This can be a gauge to view how secure a relationship is functioning.  Identifying and expressing what we need from our partners will take us far.  We all have the need for understanding, security, sex, shared purpose, family, autonomy, honesty, ease, growth, play, etc.  Positive emotions flow from our needs being met by our partner and vice versa. Couples therapy helps provide a safe opportunity to communicate our needs and forge a path towards greater mutuality.

How Couples  Therapy Is Different

  • Session length for couples is longer than individual therapy sessions.
    •  Initial and follow-up sessions:  1.5 hours (80 minutes)
      • This format creates a needed spaciousness for both partner’s issues to be addressed.  Complex and sensitive couples issues are often difficult to unpack, make progress on, and then pack up again in a 50 minute period.
  • Another difference from individual therapy is that couples sit in chairs facing one another.  The point of focus is on their partner more so than on the therapist. This allows for couples to learn how their partner works in real-time, and to see how the living, breathing, sacred, pain-in-the-butt, ever-changing being in front of them is the best guide available for creating a happy relationship together.

Couples therapy can be one of the greatest opportunities for the development of self-awareness, relational skills, and emotional maturity. Secure functioning with our partner can launch us to do great things.

Client Testimonials

“My experience with Matthew for marriage counseling was excellent. He is great at avoiding confrontational set-ups and never takes sides. Frankly, he probably saved our marriage. If real communication is what you are after, look no further.”
- Biologist
“As a queer woman, I’ve been nervous in the past about finding a therapist who I feel comfortable with – I felt totally comfortable with Matthew from the start. I also appreciated that Matthew suggested some creative and somatic exercises that I found helpful, but was also great at guiding more straightforward talk therapy.”
- Graduate Student in Public Policy
“Matthew excels in the most important qualities for a therapist: he is highly compassionate, imaginative, intelligent and well-trained in variety of techniques. His warm and calm demeanor put you at ease quickly, and you can sense his commitment to getting at the root of difficulties, not just letting time pass in conversation.”
- Retired Venture Capitalist
“I found Matthew to be a compassionate and empathetic listener, but who also was able to ask probing and insightful questions at the appropriate time. Matthew helped me learn the value of acceptance and seeing each moment of my day as a gift, and to be open to what that moment has to teach me.”
- College Professor
“Matthew has a gentle, thoughtful approach, and I truly felt cared about in his sessions. I highly recommend at least one session of sandtray therapy with him. It was fun and a highly imaginative method.”
- Art Historian
“Matthew was the first therapist who really helped me make headway dealing with my internalized homophobia. In addition to being a skilled therapist, which he most certainly is, Matt cares about his patients. From my experience working with him, I can tell that for him being a therapist is more than a job; it’s a calling.”
- Social Worker
“I worked with Matthew on a number of issues, including depression, anxiety and developmental trauma. I appreciated that he helped me slow down and tune-in in more with myself, and valued the spiritual approach that he is able to bring to issues.”
- Lawyer

Ready to talk? I’m ready to listen.

Call (512) 638-1917 or email Matthew@LitschiTherapy.com

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