How I Work With Couples
Collaborative Couple Therapy asserts that most relationship problems emerge from a loss of voice: An inability to adequately express one’s leading edge feeling. Leading edge feelings are the authentic hopes, fears and vulnerabilities we all feel from moment to moment and that may get particularly activated during conflict. CCT attributes loss of voice to a lack of entitlement from freely expressing these authentic, vulnerable feelings due to self-critical beliefs. Inhibited from acknowledging uncomfortable feelings like shame, anxiety, self-doubt, or even hopes and desires, during conflict, people often resort to fighting with or withdrawing from their partners.

The foundational task of CCT is to help couples have intimate conversations about their problems through relating with each other as allies and confidants. In a collaborative conversation partners talk with each other as if observing the problem from a
platform, suspended high above the fray, looking down at the situation and people with compassionate curiosity, awareness, and reflection. To facilitate these conversations, the therapist often speaks for both members of the couple at strategic moments to model and promote platform conversations within the couple and between the therapist and each individual. The method for doing this is called doubling (adapted from Jacob Moreno’s Psychodrama Therapy).

As your therapist, my ongoing internal question is, “How can I help this couple have an intimate conversation about their present dilemma?” CCT
solves the moment, rather than specific complaints, by gently returning to each individual’s expression of her leading edge feeling to her partner. Leading edge feelings are what is most “alive” or relevant for each person in the present moment. In this way, even arguments are an opportunity to deepen emotional intimacy when we permit ourselves to reveal our hidden hopes and sometimes haunting feelings and vulnerabilities.

For more information on marriage couples counseling please call me with any questions at 503-252-3739.