Couples Counseling

There’s no pain quite like the pain that can occur in intimate relationships. It’s all about emotional connection. Here’s why: a part of the brain (the amygdala) experiences a break in emotional connection as a literal threat to survival. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. Sensing a “break” in the connection can feel like being trapped under water and not being able to breathe.

It’s awful. And it’s happening because your amygdala is flashing “threat to survival” warnings, just as it would if you were unable to breathe.

This is what is happening behind the scenes when the two of you fight. It only seems like what you are fighting about is money, sex, the kids, what was said two years ago, etc. The real fight is to re-establish the emotional connection – to get to the surface of the water.

I’m a trained and certified Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) for couples. EFT is a proven highly effective approach to addressing couple problems through identifying and strengthening partners’ inherent needs for secure attachment with each other. Using EFT, I will help you and your partner recognize and respond to the powerful emotional processes that live within your relationship, and learn how to quickly re-establish connection when it is lost. You and your partner may discover a level of intimacy you may never have known or dreamed could be possible.

Contact me to see how counseling may benefit you:
703-771-4041  • jackchilderslpc@yahoo.com

Learn more about EFT

FAQs

I don’t mean to be personal, but are you married?

My wife and I have been together over 18 years, and are very happy with each other. The concepts I learned through EFT have been hugely helpful to us.

My husband will never come to couples counseling.

Tell him I understand: much of what is called “couples counseling” amounts to giving partners a forum to assert the shortcomings of each other, and women are often better at that than men. Imagine how it feels to hear how big a disappointment you are to your spouse. Would you want to pay money to hear that?

Here’s the secret: in my couples counseling I don’t focus much on what you say to each other. I focus on how you are with each other – how you affect each other and how aware you both are of your impact on each other. That’s what a relationship is after all, isn’t it?

Tell him this: in my office, it’s often the wives who have more of a struggle.
I guess you should know that, too!

Should we meet with you together the first time?

Yes. I think you should think of the first session as an introductory session: a time for you and your partner to meet with me, and start to get a feel for what working with me is like. If all goes well, I will next ask for an individual assessment meeting with each partner. After those are completed, we return to meetings with the three of us, and this is where the couples counseling really begins in earnest.

How long will the couples counseling last?

The average is about 15-20 sessions, but, as long as you feel we are making progress, we should keep meeting until the relationship goals that you and your partner have established for yourselves have been met. The important thing is that the two of you should feel like we are moving in the right direction. Maybe not every single session, but most of the time.