Couples Counseling

/Couples Counseling

The Truth About Relationships

If there is any area of life that is likely to expose our limits and elicit our least ideal version of ourselves, it is probably relationships, and especially romantic ones. Though most of us want our relationships to be fulfilling and meaningful, the current divorce statistics alone are staggering and suggest we are not doing well in this area of life as an overall culture.


The Odds Are Not Great

41 percent of first marriages end in divorce.
60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
73 percent of third marriages end in divorce.


What Actually Works?

Couples Counseling Centennial CO


A series of landmark studies in the past three decades have identified exactly what people who succeed in their intimate relationships do differently than those who fail.

Researchers discovered a core set of emotional habits that that are so powerfully positive that, when a people have them, they end up having satisfying long-term relationships over 90% of the time. This kind of predictive validity is virtually unheard of in most branches of science, and has captured the attention educators across the country, spurring the development of courses that teach this core set of habits that are so highly predictive of relationship success. Most people believe their habits will enable them to succeed in their relationships, but available evidence suggests that this is wishful thinking. Studies suggest that most people don’t meet the prerequisites for relationship success. Most of us don’t have the habits needed to make our relationships succeed over the long haul. In fact, most people don’t even know what these crucial habits are.

I Can Help

In our work together, I will help you and your partner more fully develop these emotional habits that are so highly predictive of relationship success.

The attitudes and behaviors necessary to succeed in relationships are easy to understand and learn, but can be very difficult to do, because, at key moments, you may find yourself in a state of mind that isn’t compatible with the needed behavior or attitude. In order to change your thinking or behaviors, you must develop the ability to get into the right frame of mind for the task. Marriage researchers have discovered that, when a marriage is distressed, each partner generally reacts to the other during arguments in highly predictable and patterned ways.

The Brain Is the Key

Thanks to some very helpful brain research in the past 15 years, we now know that this is because, across our lives, each of our brains gets conditioned to produce highly specific response programs. These are conditioned brain circuits that are pre-programmed so that, once triggered, they unfold as if they had a mind of their own, producing a predictable pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Brain researchers call these brain states “executive operating systems” or “intrinsic motivational circuits.” Ordinary people call them “states of mind” or “moods.” The important thing is not what they are called, but to recognize that these internal response programs can dramatically dictate how you interact with your partner. To improve your relationship, you will need to become familiar with the specific mood state patterns that happen inside of you during key intimate situations. Your best shot at acting differently comes when you develop the ability to shift internal states when needed.

A Solution That Works

I feel fortunate to have encountered the work and had the opportunity to encounter the work of Brent Atkinson, Ph.D., the creator of Pragmatic Experiential Therapy for Couples (PET-C), an approach which translates new knowledge about how the brain processes emotion into practical methods for improving relationships and increasing personal success. I’ve also been fortunate to attend a workshop with Brent and work with several other PET-C informed therapists, including teaching a relationship class I co-created on his model.

Let’s Do Something About This!

I can help you get your life on back from depression and encourage you to contact me using the pop-up form below to schedule a free 30 minute consultation. Or you can call me at my confidential business number (303) 748-4730.

I look forward to speaking with you about your concerns and am happy to answer any additional questions about how I might help you!


Same Argument Over and Over? Could Automatic Responses be Causing It?

Why do you suppose Groundhog Day remains a popular movie, some 23 years after its release? I’d suggest it has to do with the recognition of how repetitive patterns and automatic responses can give any of us that sense of deja vu. Didn’t we have this argument already? Where have I heard that response before? Was it yesterday or last week that we said all of this, word for word? […]

By | July 6th, 2016|0 Comments

Pet-C: Fall in Love Using Your Heart, Stay Together Using Your Brain

In popular culture, we’re raised on romantic comedies, love ballads, and the perpetual search for a soulmate. With our hearts on our sleeves, we rush forward into the kind of love we’ve come to feel we deserve. Yet, while 90 percent of those living in Western countries will eventually get married, many of them will not stay together. For example, the divorce rate in the U.S. ranges from 40 to 50 percent and spikes much higher for subsequent marriages.These statistics are not indicative of a some kind of love shortage. Love is abundant and often enduring. Compatibility, on the other hand, is and remains fluid.Unfortunately, there aren’t many movies or songs that delve into this crucial reality. When John Lennon sang, “love is the answer,” it’s a shame he didn’t include footnotes! If he were around today, the “smart Beatle” just might be crooning about Pragmatic Experiential Therapy (Pet-C). […]

By | May 6th, 2016|0 Comments

Boundary Basics

Most of us are familiar with the term “boundaries”. We may speak about people having “boundary issues” or “bad boundaries”, but what are they exactly? Boundaries refer to the degree of closeness and limits we have with other people, especially in families or intimate relationships. The term “boundary” is a metaphor to describe how and when we let people into our personal space, whether physically or psychologically. It refers to our ability to say “no” to unwanted requests, and to ask for the things we need or want. It also describes the quality of connection we have with others, and how intertwined our emotional and psychological well being is with theirs. We learn our boundary style from our family of origin and unconsciously continue the same pattern into our adult relationships, recreating the same amount of limits, connection, or distance with other people. Sometimes we overreact to our early boundary experiences and do the opposite of how we were raised! […]

By | January 28th, 2016|0 Comments

Love People, Not Pleasure

This NY times article articulates m [...]

By | February 25th, 2015|0 Comments