"For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
James Framo, a pioneer of family therapy, points to the disquieting reality that participating in a relationship that is truly intimate can have its challenges. He says “The day you wake up, turn to your spouse and realize that you’ve been had, that the person you fell in love with is not the person you are in bed with, that this is all some dreadful mistake – that is the first day of your marriage.”
“The first day of your marriage” that James Framo describes can be a bitter sweet day. Bitter because perhaps you never imagined that commitment to intimate relationship could be so challenging. Sweet because it is very likely that you and your spouse have the capacity to cultivate a connection in which you are mutually supportive, compassionate, kind and respectful; where your spouse is interested in you, your struggles, your passions, and how your day went; where you can trust that your spouse is going to have your back no matter what.
By the time most couples find themselves feeling disillusioned with their relationship and wondering “who is this person I wake up with every morning?” they have well entrenched patterns - destructive words and behaviors, accusations, withdrawal, defensiveness, etc. – that undermine their deep longing to feel the secure connection of an intimate relationship.
Brenda’s aim is to help couples identify their damaging “dance” and how each person’s behaviors escalate that dance. She helps each person explore his/her inner world and how that inner world experience is expressed in the relationship. New insight, along with a willingness to risk, creates a possibility for couples to move beyond disharmony into connecting with openness, curiosity and compassion.
Brenda’s approach in working with couples is a blending of Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy, Dr. Terry Real’s Relational Recovery Therapy and mindfulness philosophy and practices.
Disclosure and Consent
Abrahms Spring, Janis, After the Affair. New York: Harper Collins (1996).
Gottman, John M. & Silver, N., The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Three Rivers Press (1999).
Hendricks, Gay & Hendricks, Kathlyn, Conscious Loving. New York: Banton Books (1990).
Johnson, Susan, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. New York: Little, Brown & Company (2008).
Kirshenbaum, Mira, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. London, England: Penguin Books (1996).
Paul, Jordan & Paul, Margaret, Do I Have to Give Up Me to be Loved by You? Center City, Minnesota: Hazeldon Education Materials (1983).
Real, Terrence, How Can I Get Through to You: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women. New York: Simon & Schuster (2002).
Real, Terrence, I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression. New York: Simon & Schuster (1998).
Real, Terrence, The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work. New York: Ballantine Books (2007).
Richo, David, How to Be an Adult in Relationships. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala Publications Inc. (2002).
Wellwood, John, Journey of the Heart. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. (1990).
Wellwood, John, Love and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. (1996).