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DEPTH COUPLES WORK:
I love doing individual depth work with people. I have seen quite transformative changes in peoples lives and found it quite meaningful to be part of that process. However, I have come to believe that it takes a lot longer and is a lot more expensive than Depth Couples work.
HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS HELP HEAL ATTACHMENT WOUNDS:
Why does Todd think that Depth Couples Work can be more effective than individual psychotherapy?
Part of the answer to this question has to do with what I think is necessary for a person to be healthy and flourish. I believe that healthy relationships create healthy people. If our parents were very healthy, then it is very likely that we will internalize a capacity to feel safe with others. We develop an attachment style that is secure. We then are naturally drawn to healthier relationships and our sense of groundedness is contagious and helps others be able to be more grounded.
However, if our parents did not have the capacity to be healthy enough for us, then we, as adults have to learn how to find other relationships that will give us a different experience that will allow us to change our relational blue-print so that we can feel safe and grounded. We learn to defend ourselves from the environments that we grew up in and adapted to that by usually becoming overly anxious and clingy or uncomfortable with intimacy and overly independent. If we’re in this category, then we need to find a healthy relationship with a healthier person so we can change our blue-prints so our ways of defending ourselves (anxiety or avoidance) become less necessary. The problem is that what we think is normal in a relationship is often a little tweaked, so we are drawn to relationships that will not necessarily give us that. I believe that we’re drawn to those type of relationships because they allow us to re-create the circumstances necessary to rewire / reprogram our blue-prints that need adjustment. With help, these relationships can be transformed. Otherwise, these relationships often repeat a similar kind of wounding that we got when we were children.
So, the cheapest solution to transforming your blue-print is to find a partner that is extremely secure and loving (you don’t have to pay a therapist for this!). Over-time, you will learn that you can trust to be more secure and loving yourself. Your secure and loving partner can give you some of the missing experiences that you had from your childhood that will make it so that your blue-print for how to relate in the world will change.
So, what do you do if you seem to be in a pattern of finding partners that are not super-secure and grounding? I see three solutions:
1) Individual Psychotherapy
2) Depth Couples Counseling
3) Continue to live and don’t bother trying to transform the negative blue-prints that set you up for a lot of pain in the world.
For individual work to be effective for helping people change their relational blue-prints, my clients have to develop a strong attachment bond with me over time. [NOTE to self: add link to individual work page] This costs $120 per hour and my experience is that it takes between 6 months and 2 years of weekly meeting to have a significant impact. It does work, but it is time consuming and very expensive. Also, many people who go to individual psychotherapy often end up ending their relationship with their partners. This is because as you grow (and your partner does not), you will want more (health) in a relationship. Often this can create strains on already stressed relationships and the healthier person will ultimately be happier by leaving their existing partner to find somebody capable of more intimacy.
The advantage of DEPTH COUPLES COUNSELING is that I, the therapist, can take advantage of an already existing attachment bond (between you and your partner). If we are able to stabilize your relationship and transform the culture of it so your attachment needs are met in it then your relational blue-print can be transformed. Also, I believe that having a healthy relationship with a partner is more transformative than having a healthy relationship with a therapist. Think about it, you are around your partner more often. You wake up next to, you have sex with, you talk regularly with your partner. So, if that person that meets a lot of your needs for connection is healthy and there for you and able to witness and love you and help you transform your relational blue-print, that is a lot more meaningful than if some person you pay an hourly rate that you are with only once a week.
I BELIEVE THAT DEPTH COUPLES COUNSELING IS 8 TIMES AS EFFECTIVE AS INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOTHERAPY
I believe that a healthy loving couple engaging in Depth Couples Counseling can get far more bang for their buck in Depth Couples counseling than they can in individual psychotherapy. I believe that 6 months of this type of couples counseling is equivalent to 4 years years of individual therapy (2 years for each member of the couple).
In a nutshell, I think that the way of becoming healthy is to find somebody healthy that is willing to love you where you are at and help you become healthier (the cheapest and most effective method). Another way is to pay a professional to help your primary attachment bond (you and your partner) become healthy so you will both help each other heal each other’s attachment wounds (the second most effective method). A third way is to pay a therapist to become that attachment figure for you (the most expensive method). I believe that all three of these options are excellent options. I just believe that Depth Couples Counseling has the potential to create much quicker change that is also more transformative and cost-effective.