As a new therapist I was a generalist like most new counselors. Quickly I was fascinated by my sessions with couples. There was something interesting that unfolded in the dynamic between a couple. However, working with couples was also overwhelming. Often the interaction came with a title wave of emotion that swept us all away. Even couples that were quiet came with a tension that could be felt in the room.
I started reading and completing trainings by leading researchers and couples’ therapists Drs. John and Julie Gottman. Their four decades of research described what I saw in my office with couples. Their work led me to Dr. Sue Johnson co-creator of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
Michelle has completed:
Level 1 & 2 Clinical Training Gottman Method Couples Therapy
EFT Externship, Core Skills 1 &2, & supervision hours
Emotionally focused couples therapy, EFT, drew me in because in an already overly diagnosed culture each person’s behaviors were normalized. Dr. Johnson and fellow colleagues developed EFT by watching their own work with couples to discover what worked and what did not over the course of 30 plus years. EFT provides a map for myself as a therapist to understand where couples get stuck and most importantly gives a rout out of the mess.
Of course, couples hold the greatest knowledge about their own relationships. I learn from couples’ unique qualities everyday what it means to be in love and have a partner. Also, what it looks like and how it unfolds when something is broken between them.
At the onset of therapy couples unpack the sources of frustration, anger, hurt and disconnection that bring them into counseling. Common themes in communication are uncovered. Each person sees their own role in where they get stuck. Couples also see where their partner is coming from and what they are trying to say.
To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.” ~Berne Brown
I’ve never met anyone that did not have a good reason for what they do during a fight with their spouse. We react to each other poorly when we are in conflict with our partners not because we don’t know how to fight correctly but because we naturally respond in a way that provides protection for ourselves, pushing back or shutting down.
Working with couples inspires and moves me daily. It is heartbreaking to see two people who care for and deeply love each other unable to reach or feel this from one another. It is equally powerful and touching to watch couples learn what is getting them stuck in a downward spiral and begin reaching out and being there for each other in a new way.
“We were together. I forget the rest.” ~Walt Whitman
- Reconnect and build partnership
- Strengthen sexual closeness and physical intimacy
- Rebuild trust after infidelity
- Strengthen communication
- Slow down fighting that goes no where
Michelle uses Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Gottman Method techniques in her work with couples. Learn more about these methods from the experts themselves in the videos below.
Emotionally Focused Therapy | Dr Sue Johnson
Making Relationships Work | Part 1 | Dr. John Gottman
E-mail Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about her work with couples.
Katy Couples & Wellness Counseling Serving
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