Counseling and therapy for couples and relationships is about finding greater hope for what the partners have built together. It is my responsibility to facilitate that with respect, skill and compassion.
Whether or not a couple or relationship has had prior experience with counseling and therapy, the partners may have anxieties about what the therapist – client connection will be like. A frequent concern is that the therapist will ‘take sides’ with one partner’s position(s), based on the therapist’s beliefs about relationships, gender, eroticism, sexuality and more.
My therapeutic approach begins with forming a collaborative alliance with each of you. I take particular care to keep my connections with you balanced. An example is when an interaction I have with one partner creates simultaneous, meaningful impacts for all partners.
Understanding Relationship Systems
I facilitate your disclosures about who you are and your family background, helping each of you to be more clearly seen and known. The ways you affect each other, your values and desires – these are positions in a relationship “system”. Better understanding these positions can help you develop a clearer picture. And what each person can begin to do to improve things.
Differences In Sexual Desire
Significant differences in desire for an erotic life together present powerful opportunities for personal and relationship growth. Sexual behavior is a truthful language, loaded with meaning that words cannot always express. It connects directly to each partner’s personal history and development, the truth about the intimacy they want, and can handle. It brings heartfelt depth and durable meaning to the relationship therapy I practice.
Your emotional commitment to each other, and our therapeutic relationships, intensify the difficult, rewarding process of personal growth and maturity known as “differentiation” (and see “Therapy Links” tab). Therapy can facilitate this growth process, increasing your ability to handle intimacy at higher and higher levels. It’s the ability to truly want and choose your partner(s), reducing automatic and reactive emotions, pursuing far deeper caring and better self-care of your anxieties.
Robert Odell LICSW/3214 W. McGraw St./Seattle, WA 98199/(206) 282-3137