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Relationship/Couples Counseling

Relationship counseling can take many forms – as relationships come in all shapes and sizes and is not bound to a dyadic partnership.

 

When working with relationships we will discuss the “dances” that happen when the different internal parts of people come together. 

Our past informs our present and future, regardless of whether the past was happy and secure or painful and traumatizing. These relationship frames can permeate through all kinds of relationships in adulthood – and when we look deeper, we can often see patterns.

 

We’ll work as a team to map out early experiences of attachment and trauma, how those relational blueprints can impact trust, understand pieces of you that want to protect you from pain, and parts that may interact or react in ways that contribute more to relational difficulty (even when well intentioned). We help improve understanding about what’s going on inside ourselves so that we can better interpret and interact with our partners.   

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I do not subscribe to many of the mainstream couples counseling manualized models, as I am inclusive to all kinds of relationships and LGBTQIAA+ experienced and affirming.

 

I blend an integration of safety and stability into the relationship with understanding the impact of trauma on attachment, trust, and shame – and how the impact of these factors cause a multiplicity of responses to situations in relationships.   

 

There are many interventions and books out there that emphasize intentional physical intimacy, enhance communication about emotions, and put large amounts of emphasis on other things involving “thinking our way out of reactions or responses”.

While it is important to identify what areas of need exist in a relationship, for individuals with a history of trauma (where one or more than one individual relationship has a history of trauma – specifically interpersonal trauma) planning a night to engage in sexual activity, or even talking about topics that include emotional vulnerability can be incredibly threatening to an individual’s feelings of safety and therefore incredibly counterproductive to the connection and attachment to the partner. 

 

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Do you find yourself asking:

“Why do I sometimes try to please my partner to the point of negating my own needs or pushing down my own feelings?

Why does my partner lash out or run away when I try to vocalize my concerns or criticisms?

Why do I “check out” during sex?

Why does my partner get mad at me when I ask for space … but also get mad at me when I want to spend time together?”  

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Understanding the way that we attach to others, disruptions in that attachment, developmental trauma, the neurobiology of trauma, the multiplicity of ego states (how different parts of our psyche step in to protect us when we’re feeling vulnerable), and how complex trauma manifests into adulthood and relationships, will give us a better insight into the balance between support of our partner, support of ourselves, in support of our relationship. 

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Dr. Jen's MOSIAC Model for Relational Counseling 

The MOSIAC Model interweaves the recognition of: 

  • How our body initially responds to trauma.

  • How our body stores and makes meaning of that trauma memory.

  • How the trauma fortifies preexisting inherent multiplicity of ego states and parts.

  •  The development of  negative cognitions about self in the world,.

  • The development of neuroception and subsequent neuroceptive misfires.

  • Ongoing somatic responses to trauma triggers.

  • Feelings of safety and security during development of sexuality.

  • How attachment issues and wounds are pervasively impactful throughout adult relationships. 

Within this model, we will:

  • Work together to make meaning of the trauma and responses,.

  • Take ownership of our own parts and internal responses to stimuli.

  •  Establish internal somatic and emotional safety of ourselves and reassure external safety for our partner,.

  • Build healthy attachment to our partners and ourselves.

  •  Learn and redefine safe ways to be intimate and vulnerable.

  • Reestablish agreed upon connection and co-regulation that involves Self based awareness and boundaries.

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