What is Couple’s Therapy and what can you expect when working with me?
Couple’s therapy is a way to identify challenges and destructive patterns in the relationship so that each partner can hold him/herself accountable for their part in it and make the necessary repair(s). It is also a way to learn about oneself and each other in ways that may not be obvious to the naked eye.
I use a relational approach which hones to understand, assess and transform, the way we interact with ourselves and others.
I see couples privately via tele-health or in-office.
Through Couple’s therapy, you can:
- Resolve relationship challenges with effective skills.
- Key into how adaptation of family of origin learnings spills over current issues.
- Identify the neuro-biology behind reactivity, defensiveness and other default behaviors.
- Heal from a crisis by repairing a breach of trust and or disconnection in a way that allows for relational growth.
- Use (inevitable) conflict for relationship gain.
- Lead/partner and parent with emotional intelligence.
- Gain communication skills as mens to carry out meaningful conversations, argue elegantly (most of the time, anyway!) set healthy limits and manage your ego.
- Tap into your sexuality.
- Question your affair with compulsive or addictive behaviors.
- Exercise healthy limits, from and towards others.
- Define your values and deal-breakers and stand by them with loving firmness.
- Uncouple successfully and respectfully when you need constructive closure.(couples)
In essence, couple’s therapy will equip you to make intelligent choices about your relationship based on new relational skills.
You will have deep insight about your contributions to the partnership, how to access your “wise” self , how to ask for what you want and get it , how to give generously to your partner, how to cherish each other and minute-to-minute know how and whether to stand up, stand down or clean up your part of the deal.
You will also come away with a clear map of how to live in full mutual respect.
It all adds up to having the skills and the chance to routinely choose how to interact kindly, how to repair hurts and poor choices and how to relate respectfully, effectively and meaningfully.
There are 2 ways to experience couple’s therapy with me:
1) On an hourly weekly/biweekly/monthly basis:
I like to see couples for a minimum of 90 minutes per session as it has proven to be more effective even if the intervals between sessions are longer.
COST: $225/50 minutes. $270/$60 minutes. $405/90 minutes/ etc.
2) Through half, 1 or 2 days Couple’s Intensives
Intensives are private to the couple.
- Mini intensives are 3 hours.
- If a half a day intensive, we meet for 4 consecutive hours with bathroom breaks as needed.
- For a 1 day intensive, we meet for 8 to 8.5 hours, take bathrooms breaks or leg-stretching breaks as necessary and 1.15 hours for lunch.
- For a 2 day intensive, we meet for 8 to 8.5 hours on 2 consecutive days, we take bathrooms breaks or leg-stretching breaks as necessary and 1.15 minutes for lunch.
Light snacks and water are included. In office or through a virtual platform.
INTENSIVES: 3 hours/$810/ 4hours/$1,080 1 day/$2,160. 2 day/$4,320
Forms of payment accepted: Cash, checks, credit cards (3% surcharge on credit card payments). I have a 48 hour cancellation policy. Sessions that are cancelled within 48 hours or less, are not charged if rescheduled for the same week.
Languages: English and Spanish
I offer 4 unique Couple’s Intensives:
- “WEDDING SOCKS” 1 or 2-Day-Intensive: an exciting and vital premarital program that equips couples with the necessary skills to hone into their different upbringings , points of views, values, deal-breakers, parenting styles, religious or secular beliefs, financial expectations goals, career goals, household roles, in laws, collateral influences and their individual purpose as well as their shared dreams for their relationship.
- “CONNECTION ADVENTURE” 1 or 2-Day-Intensive: a powerful program that leads couples to close a physical/emotional distance gap and or reclaim lost emotional connection. Go from power struggle or painful silence to aliveness, fierce intimacy and new meaning.
- “HEALING COURAGEOSULY” 1 or 2-Day-Intensive: a profound program that serves as an oasis when there is a breach of trust or betrayal. This program helps partners redirect erratic emotions and regain and restore a sense of sanity, which leads partners to uphold what matters most, compassionately and candidly, as the relationship undergoes a transitional phase from deep hurt to healing.
- “UNCOUPLING SUCCESSFULLY” 1 or 2-Day-Intensive: a supportive and concrete program designed for those partners that have decided to part ways and would like to reach constructive closure and/or commit to co-parenting maturely and thoughtfully as they learn how to say goodbye to their relationship in a respectful, caring, honorable and compassionate way.
A word from Yamel:
Research shows that couples get to therapy about 6 years too late. What that means is that they could stop the descend of disconnection much sooner if one or both would make a move by seeking help, when the first signs of disconnection are felt, and a new perspective is truly needed.
Couples’ 1 and 2-Day-Intensives are based on decades of research and practice of Relational Life Therapy, Encountered Centered Couple’s Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy and most excitingly, on groundbreaking neuro-scientifc findings. They were also developed from my extensive and ongoing training in the field, collaboration with respected colleagues and renowned couple’s therapists and the many experiences couples have so courageously shared and continue to share with me in therapy. The intensives and the workshops also have the unique component of personal empathy and compassion born out of my own life’s experiences. When I was 19 years old, my parents divorced and my 2 loving grandparents died suddenly and a month apart. The same year I moved to the USA, studied and lived in the USA for 2 years, at which time I went back home and married my then boyfriend left behind. We came back together and attempted at marriage… the key word here is ATTEMPTED, because we had no tools, no guidance, no means and no maturity, which, of course, led to a dissolution of it at age 25, but also the gift of my first child and the start of my mission to seeking life-meaning. I wanted a career, REAL love, protection, freedom, security, devotion, joy and mainly, I wanted true intimacy.
My now husband came into the picture in the midst of that wave of change and literally swept me off my feet. He too, was looking for meaning, love and belonging but also afraid to entrust his heart fully as his early years were plagued with big inconsistencies. He longed to be needed but was scared of real intimacy; I wanted real intimacy but not all the time!!! We both longed to be accepted, understood and heard by each other but afraid to risk being hurt, only, were unaware of it, so inadvertently closeness and distance became a way of relating: when it was good, it was awesome and when we got too close, one of us would do something that created distance and so it went. We then embarked on our own life journey. Fast forward 31 years, many stories later, the challenging and awesome task of bringing up 3 children, having our own business and careers and immense love for one another held us together, yet, a few years ago we were struck by a major relationship crisis, which brought my husband and I both to our knees. Talk about learning and growing from conflict! Indeed, we did. The growth that came with that experience (with help, courage, commitment and humbleness) elevated our relationship to a most intimate, real and loving marital adventure, the one we had dreamt about but had not, until then, learned how to experience fully.
We broke the cycle of survival and embraced a new, more genuine, meaningful and realistic relationship.
Not all couples have to go through a major crisis to reach this level of connection but many couples develop survival mechanisms, (the primal brain responses that keeps us out of real or perceived threat) as a means of relating. This is not a way to feel alive and loved; it is more a way to, well, survive, a poor recipe for a joyful life.
HOW DOES A COUPLE TRANSFORM SURVIVAL MODE TO DEEP CONNECTION?
The human brain has plasticity. What that means is that it is capable, given the right conditions, to adapt to new learnings and develop new neuropathways, which serve to “prune” undesirable behaviors and through practice and key interventions, create new ones, learn how to utilize emotions as navigational tools and also, reconsolidate. This is “core” change, vs. “surface” change by learning to negotiate, compromise and lead with the functional adult part of us.
The brain, once “opened” through “emotional presence” mutually activates mirror neurons (another brain). The careful and timely process of the therapist leading it, accomplishes this process. The brain has a “window” of 5 hours once activated, and it is then vulnerable and able to allow the amygdala, the part of the brain in charge of detecting threat and activate the fear response, to start taming.
This process is necessary to go from “survival mode” (fighting, yelling, criticizing, defensiveness, distancing, escaping, etc.,) to deep connection, a conscious awareness of our triggers, childhood wounds and deepest longings.
If this process is not accomplished, the change created in therapy may “feel” helpful, but it is not long-lasting. The reason for this is that, when in critical situations, the brain tends to resort to primal defenses, which prevents relational maturity and ultimately sucks away the joy and loving feelings for one another. These lyrics say it best: “It’s hard to kiss the lips at night that chew your ass out all day long”. (The Notorious Cherry Bombs)
Without the knowledge required to understand the reasons we are attracted to one another, why we trigger each other in places we are most sensitive, we lose the ability to connect intimately and we end up in a frustrated state, thinking we “married the wrong person”.
Through a series of tailored steps and key interventions, each person will be able to access the blocks that led to relating on survival-mode and will develop mature relating, a form of being present in each other’s “worlds in a totally different way which leads to fierce intimate connection.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM COUPLE’S THERAPY?
All couples do. Really. However, the ones that can benefit the most are those that:
- Are experiencing a sense of disconnection: some examples are: difficulty conversing by being unable to openly share thoughts and feelings, dreams and hopes/ arguing often/criticizing each other/showing contempt for the other/ using silence and defensiveness / disagreeing on finances or child rearing/ misplacing boundaries and hierarchies such as: letting in laws- TV- Internet – friends – work – social life – activities, pollute the relational space / manifesting poor emotional and or physical boundaries/ lacking sexual closeness or desire.
- Have a loving bond but would like to deepen the connection and safeguard the relationship.
- Experienced a breach of trust: some examples are: infidelity, hiding money, secrecy, gossiping about your partner, flirting, addictions, being unsupportive of each other’s emotional, intellectual and or career growth.
- Are thinking of moving in together or getting married.
- Find themselves thinking that “happiness” is the opposite of having challenges.
- Are considering or have decided to separate.
- There is an addiction or addictive behavior(s).
- *There has been aggression (I need to screen couples to assess level of physical violence as couple’s therapy is, at times, not the best course in these cases).
Couple’s therapy is not for the faint of heart. It requires commitment and an honest desire to explore and go through the process of how to elevate the relationship. It is extremely rewarding for those that truly expect and desire to live a meaningful and intimate life together through all of life’s unexpected turns.
The most difficult step to take is the first one. The reward of mutually uncovering each other’s longings and defenses and vulnerably, compassionately and courageously learn HOW to connect deeply an intimately (because of them, not in spite of them), is to experience a life-long adventure in relationship; you know, the one that you dreamt about when you said your “I do’s”.
To book a session, a mini intensive or 1 or 2 Day Intensive or for a free 10 minute phone consultation, please contact me via text or phone at 203 667-1812 or via e-mail:
Albert Einstein illustrated it masterfully: ‘We can not solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them”.
What if my partner does not want to start therapy?
It happens often that both partners may not be on the same “page” about going to therapy. That is normal. However, you don’t have to wait to start the process, you can start it by yourself. In therapy, you will learn how to approach your partner to invite him/her to join you. Even if she or he doesn’t attend, you will be much better equipped to relate to your partner and create or initiate the steps-to-change, needed to elevate your relationship.