Couples Therapy

specializing in couples therapy

Couples Therapy New York City

As a relationship matures responsibilities and new challenges can change the dynamic between you and your partner. Conflicts may center on sex, money affection, parenting and infidelity. These conflicts can lead you to feel emotionally disconnected from your partner, resentful, unappreciated or angry. Some couples that are struggling may chronically feel tense as though they are walking on eggshells waiting for their next explosive conflict to occur. Other couples may feel withdrawn from each other as though they are living with a distant roommate. The fondness, admiration and enthusiastic anticipation of engaging with your partner may have disappeared. Dysfunction in marriages may not only contribute to psychological despair, but also physical health issues suppressing the effectiveness of one’s immune system.

Below are different dynamics that you may experience in your relationship. Some couples may have elements of both categories.

The Emotionally Distant Couple

In this dynamic the couple may function amicably on the surface. There may be many pockets of adaptive functioning free of intense emotional discord. However, in this dynamic the couple may feel mostly emotionally or sexually disconnected from each other. When the couple is together they may be on their phones or engaged in parallel activities. Parallel activities are not necessarily problematic. However, if they persist without a joining or sharing of internal thoughts and feelings this can be problematic. The emotionally distant couple may not go to sleep at the same time, go out on dates, or exchange or share their life vision, goals or meaningful moments. Partners may feel lonely and have exchanges that are mostly transactional.

The High Emotion High Conflict

This couple may have some periods of peace and quiet where there is not overt conflict. However a fight may precipitously erupt over ostensibly trivial issues. Conflicts may emerge even with the absence of a discernable trigger. This conflict may filled with devaluing comments, sarcasm, contempt and vicious criticism. Usually negative comments are not situational, but center around the person’s character and are global in nature. For example, global statements such as labeling the person as cold, aggressive or selfish may often occur. After a disagreement one partner may also stonewall the other holding onto to negative feelings. Even when a fight abates tension may linger. One or both partners may be feel the next intense emotional dispute is lurking in the background and could potentially erupt at anytime. Partners in this dynamic may feel unloved, unappreciated, misunderstood, and disconnected. Overall, there is a lack of positive sentiment that the couple has toward one another.

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How I Can Help

There may be many issues that bring you to couples therapy. Additionally, there may also be fear about attending. Will the therapist take your side? Or team up on you? Will the relationship get worse? Fortunately, therapy can help you improve your relationship or gain clarity about how to move forward. I offer a balanced and non-judgmental space where couples can feel safe exploring and working on their relationship.

I provide an extensive assessment to help you see the strengths and weaknesses of your relationship. Validating the strengths as well as weaknesses can help you identify specific areas that can be contributing to problems. Through the assessment process, I can help you understand interpersonal patterns that re-occur between you and your partner that create conflict or disconnection. You will learn to identify behaviors (ex: passive aggression, stonewalling, blaming) that increase conflict and new strategies and regulation skills that can lead to a stronger emotional connection. I will help you understand how dynamics from your own past may be interfering in your current relationship. I will help you and your partner manage emotions such as aggression, or resentment that impair your connection and may push your partner away. You will learn how to express yourself more adaptively to foster more emotional and sexual intimacy and bring back more passion into your relationship.

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Michael Brustein, PsyD. New York Psychologist // New Jersey Psychologist // 80 East 11th Street, Suite 234 New York, NY 10003 // 917-847-4217