Raise your hand if you grew up in a household…
… that wonderfully modeled healthy, communicative, loving relationships.
My guess is that your hand (and so many other hands, too!) is not raised.
Instead, you saw a lot of fighting. Your house was tense with conflict – yelling and name-calling followed by the silent treatment and cold shoulders. One person is always being the martyr, dropping passive-aggressive comments. Vulnerable personal details were stored away for future ammunition. Even things that should have been nice gestures were loaded with tit-for-tat expectations or disingenuous motives.
It’s no wonder that figuring out how to be close to others can feel like the Wild West!
But that’s what you want with your partner, friends, and family!
You long for authentic and enjoyable connections, yet it always feels just out of reach.
You try for conversation, but it just feels so fake.
An argument arises, and you go silent.
A comment triggers you into anger, but you’re not really sure why or how to talk about it.
You try to open up, but the walls around you are tall and topped with armed guards ready and expecting an attack.
You’re weighed down by the heaviness and sadness that comes from feeling alone, even when other people are around. It feels like no one really knows you, but how could they when you don’t let them in?
The problem might be that you’re getting in your own way.
Maybe you try to find intimacy by attending to others’ wants and needs, so desperate to please everyone that you end up losing yourself in the process. You think that speaking up for yourself will lead to being rejected and alone, but you’re exhausted from always putting everyone else first.
Or perhaps you fear conflict, wondering whether “crossing a boundary” will result in yelling, tears, or shutdowns. And when those things happen, it’s probably only a matter of time before they leave.
Vulnerability can feel dangerous: “What if my soft bits are used against me??” You’re always on guard, holding big parts of yourself back and feeling like no one knows the REAL you. And if they did!? You’re pretty sure they wouldn’t stick around.
Intimacy can feel like such an emotional rollercoaster that you might even wonder whether it’s worth it!
Well, I’m here to tell you: It is worth it!
When your past is riddled with painful experiences, it can be hard to relax into a safe and supportive relationship.
Unlearning and relearning what a healthy relationship looks and feels like takes patience, practice, self-reflection, and, most of all… support!
Authentic, connected, and caring relationships are possible and provide some of the best nourishment and joy to be found in life. We all seek to belong and be loved. Opening to this possibility isn’t always easy…
But you CAN do it…, and I’m here to help.
Here’s what we’ll do…
Individual therapy is a private, nonjudgmental space where we can examine what you LEARNED about relationships and then remake that blueprint so that you can build something BETTER moving forward.
You may have heard of “attachment,” a term that describes our personal styles (and challenges) of being in close relationships. These patterns are formed from infancy, in body-to-body communication long before we have words. As a somatic and dance/movement therapist, I will guide you back toward this body-based and nonverbal experience of relating so that you can rebuild from the ground up.
By turning toward your body experience, sensations, and emotions, you’ll come to understand your emotions and reactions more clearly. Your inner child will get to express what they have been missing, and you’ll begin to build strong inner security that will change how you relate to those around you.
And our relationship will be a training ground where you can work through your fears with someone safe, understanding, and always on your side.
Together, we can practice communication skills, boundary setting, and how to strike that tricky balance between intimacy with autonomy.
You’ll learn how to stay grounded during conflicts, speak your truth without being mean, and share yourself authentically without fear.
But wait! You may be thinking…
“You don’t work with couples, Lauren. Isn’t this the type of isue you see a couples counselor for?”
Couples counseling can be a wonderful option for partners who want to improve their relationship and work on these things together.
But at the same time, each individual has their own history, habits, fears, and desires that deserve more specialized attention. In individual therapy, we will build your inner confidence and security, which you can then take out into ANY relationship in your life.
Building healthy relationships starts with YOU…
“You cannot build a deep connection with someone who is disconnected from themselves.” – Yung Pueblo
Your authentic connection to yourself must come first. When you can make space for your full self (the good, the bad, and the ugly!), you also expand your capacity to make space for other people’s full selves, and that is where genuine trust and connection can thrive!
If you’re ready to step into true connection, let’s talk. Schedule your free consultation call today.