Psychotherapy for couples and adult individuals.
Couples’ Issues: Affairs, Infidelity, Alcohol, Drugs, Porn & Sex Addiction, Frequent Fighting
Men’s Issues: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Husband/Father Challenges, Life Goals, Leadership
When relationships (or other areas of life) aren't going very well, we often forget that we have the opportunity to do things differently. Most of the time, we just don't know what to do differently. Wouldn't it be great if someone could just hand us a map, showing us which way to turn next? Let me guide you.
Using the Gottman Method as my primary relationship therapeutic framework, I use a direct approach focusing on the emotionally-driven exchange between partners. Guys - don't let this scare you! This does not mean you have to turn in your Man Card! You will not be expected to eat granola or hug trees while we're working together. You've got my word. Gottman Method couples therapy is the best couples therapy in my book. It is an easy to follow, systematic method of assessing hidden relationship problems, guiding clients through effective straight-forward interventions, and providing comprehensive marriage and relationship improvement.
Men and women are emotionally driven. This is a fact. Even men who avoid talking about emotions are emotionally driven by fear to protect themselves from being perceived as weak by others. The better we understand what drives us to do the ineffective things we do, in and out of relationships, the sooner we can improve our lives.
I help people tune into the meanings we give to behaviors, words, and situations we interact with so we can understand why we do the things we do. One of my goals is to help you understand how you can do things better in relationship that directly improve your life as well as that of your partner. It's common for a couple to enter therapy where one partner claims they're just there to support the other person who is the one with the problem. Often people get hung up trying to get the other person to change - after all, they're the one with the problem! Even if they do have a problem to work on, we can to learn to identify what part of our interactions with them are within our control and learn how to interact with them in better ways that help the other person improve their part of the relationship, which benefits both partners. When we operate from a place of us versus them, the relationship is adversarial and neither partner wants the other to win because they're so focused on winning at the other's expense. Does anyone wonder why these couples are in trouble? As John Gottman, PhD points out, when we have our interests and our partner's interests in mind, we find ourselves in much happier relationships and stay together longer.
Happy, healthy couples do specific things that contribute to their success. There are also particular things that unhappy, unhealthy couples do that almost guarantee their demise. It is worth learning what both of these behavior sets include. Once you and your partner learn the differences between these, you can use them in your relationship immediately.
Men enjoy working with me in couples therapy because I understand how to speak to them in terms that they relate to and without making them feel like I'm revoking their Man Card. Women enjoy working with me in couples therapy because I understand how to elicit a positive response from men. I also understand the core needs of men and women. I am able to translate each partner’s needs and experiences in ways that the other understands.
It is worth noting that Gottman’s research shows that 69% of all conflict in relationships is not resolvable, and healthy couples know how to get along like best friends despite not being able to agree on most conflicts. Would you like to know what their secrets are? Would you like to learn how to bring them into your relationship? Quickly?
Intensive Couples Therapy
One (male) or two (one male & one female) therapists are available to work at one time with couples in crisis who require half-day, full-day, or multi-day sessions. Crisis can include affairs/infidelity, addictions, life stage dilemmas, and comorbid mental health conditions. Often, one or both partner’s early life trauma causes marital or relational problems. Unresolved trauma can make otherwise good partners feel like failures or that they are with the wrong partner. Working through trauma can be done more quickly than you might think and can give new life to relationships that appear to be over. Do not give up just yet.
Customary once weekly couples therapy can be very effective; however, when relationships are at high risk for ending, intensive couples therapy can be a better option. The couple chooses whether they want to work with just Ryan or with Ryan and his couples therapy clinical partner (and girlfriend) Jessica Farrulla, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Intensive couples therapy with Ryan and Jessica working together with the clients allows therapy to address more issues, more deeply, and much more quickly than single clinician couples therapy. Clients benefit from receiving professional feedback and insight from the male as well as female perspective. Additionally, Ryan and Jessica are able to model effective couples communication, conflict management, attunement, positive sentiment override, trust building, and relationship rupture repair. We are both Gottman Method Level 2 trained therapists.
Clinical and scientific research (Boegner & Zielenbach-Coenen, 1984) has shown for decades that (what Dr. John and Julie Gottman refer to as) “massing and fading” is more effective for successful couples therapy outcomes than standard one hour and one session per week therapy schedules. This is especially true the greater the depth and complexity of marital issues disrupting a marriage or committed relationship. Massing and fading is defined as longer duration couples sessions upon the start of therapy with a tapering off of session length and frequency over time. In other words, science supports the efficacy of Intensive Couples Therapy, especially at the start of marriage and couples therapy. Effectiveness of and adherence to newly learned relational techniques is significantly improved by conducting Intensive Couples Therapy.
Boegner, L, & H. Zielenbach-Coenen (1984). On maintaining change in behavioral relationship therapy. In K. Hahlweg and N.S. Jacobson (Eds) Relationship interaction: Analysis and modification (pp. 27-35). New York: Guilford Press.
Counseling for Men
Whether you are married, dating, or single, being a man in today’s world comes with its challenges. We are supposed to be tough yet sensitive, strong yet gentle, and take charge yet not be selfish. Wait, what?! Traditionally, men’s roles have been well defined in society - work hard and provide for your family. Men worked with their hands outside the home. Our skills included physical strength, endurance, and practical problem solving. In modern society, many men struggle balancing traditional skills with softer skills of empathy, nurturing, and attunement. Men tend not to pass these softer skills down to their sons because they are seen as feminine, which is assumed to be judged by other men as bad or weak. In our competitive nature, encouraged by our historical necessity for survival, we have been taught to never allow others to see us struggle or fail. Despite the advancement in women’s demands for more emotionally attuned men, many men (especially younger men) have not learned the skillset required to satisfy modern relationships. It’s not that men are not capable of being emotionally attuned to their wives or girlfriends; they simply have not been taught the skills needed.
How many times has your wife or girlfriend come to you, telling you all about a co-worker who makes her job painful and difficult? What do most men do? They do what they’ve been trained to do - problem solve! There’s that good old skill saving the day. Your wife or girlfriend becomes upset and says you just don’t listen to her. Wait, what?! You just solved her problem, and you’re baffled that she is upset with you.
Every man can learn successful relationship skills. It is not rocket science. It just takes willingness, effort, and time. The best part about it is that you can do it while maintaining your masculine identity. In fact, when you master these skills, you give your woman the green light to be magnetically attracted to you like never before. Your sex life could greatly improve. You can fight less, love each other more, and enjoy more fulfilling lives together. Isn’t that what we all want?
I provide therapy services for male and female adult individuals who seek help with stage of life challenges, depression, anxiety, social anxiety/shyness, and anger.
My style is a direct, client-centered approach incorporating values-driven compass to help resolve personal dilemmas. I help clients determine what is truly important to them then make life decisions based on their findings. Life is easier to navigate when you know what is important to you. It also helps most clients to chunk overwhelming stressors down to easier to understand steps. Otherwise, clients often feel lost, not knowing why painful things keep happening to them - often finding themselves in repeating patterns of unhealthy behavior or relationships or jobs/careers. I also work with adults in relationships individually to help them recognize an internal locus of control. I believe in each person taking full responsibility for their lives, not blaming others. Sure, sometimes we get blindsided and it hurts. The sooner we look for ways to accept responsibility for our part of the dilemma and look within ourselves for the way out of pain, the more successful and fulfilled we will be. When we blame others, we are admitting that we have no control over ourselves. We feel powerless, defeated, and feel like giving up. Let’s get your mind back on track.
The amazing thing that I have learned about life is that just because we can’t see a viable, livable solution to a situation today, doesn’t mean it will not present itself at the right time. Likewise, just because we can’t see the value or lesson in a situation we deem “bad” today, doesn’t mean it isn’t actually a very beneficial path to a much better life. I have experienced both of these phenomenons. Certain that a situation in my life was the most painful possible (and it was very painful at the time), once I worked through the challenge of overcoming my resistance to the situation, I looked back at that very same situation as if it were the best thing that had ever happened to me. The facts and details about what happened had not changed one bit. Only my perception about what it meant did. That’s one of the most powerful tools to learn in life! I love helping clients recognize the same phenomenon in their lives!
Challenges we ignore follow us into bed at night. The longer we avoid the shadow following us, the longer we delay our relief from it. Have you ever noticed a problem that keeps occuring in your life? Is there a pattern of pain, failures, or dead ends that seems to follow you around? Have you ever moved far away, hoping to start over, only to notice the same frustrating things happen to you there as well? The more time and energy we put into trying to avoid that which we really can never avoid, the more destructive our lives and the lives of those around us become. You may think avoiding the thing is avoiding pain, but all of the drama you put yourself and others through in your effort to avoid causes more pain than the original challenge. That which you avoid only traps you as long as you attempt to avoid it. As soon as you face it, its powerful grip over you disappears.
When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. -Paulo Coelho
Are you ready to begin?