Vanessa Wolter, MA provides couples therapy and is located in San Francisco.
Difference as an opportunity
Virtually every couple will experience difficulties, confusion or an impasse at some point in their relationship. But it doesn't mean this is an obstacle that can't be overcome. It might actually be a good thing! When things get difficult it can be a great opportunity to go deeper, to improve and strengthen a relationship. This is how I hold couples therapy, as an opportunity for a better relationship.
Two people coming into a relationship is no small task. Each one of us has different histories, families, and cultures. In the beginning it is much easier to focus on our similarities, but there comes a time when our differences come to the forefront of the relationship and it can be a scary and lonely experience. The anxiety this produces often times makes it difficult to stay open to other partner's perspective. This is when it's helpful to find support from an objective, trained party to help de-escalate, deconstruct fears, and help the couple communicate so they can see each other more clearly.
How I help
My role in couples therapy is to help both of you find each other again. I do that by de-escalating anxiety and slowing down the emotional reactions that are natural to being in a relational crisis. I also will help each of you understand and express your needs and goals and translate these to each other. I model a way of communicating that is more grounded and less triggering and help you practice this in session so you can do it at home. Additionally, I help identify your strengths and positive characteristics so you can nurture and build on these.
Bridging and rekindling sexuality is another area in which I support couples. Here again it is common to find that there are differences in the relationship when it comes to sexual personality, but this can also be an opportunity for self and mutual exploration and experimentation and a new adventure for the both of you! It's often vulnerable to speak of what we need and want sexually and so my role is to help you feel safe and more confident in expressing these in the session with each other. I can assist in deconstructing resentment and fear and develop new ways that you can both get to know each other again physically and emotionally and reinvigorate passion.
Issues I support couples with
- Better communication
- Bridging different needs and wants
- Anxiety, depression or past trauma in one or both partners
- Planning family and/or future
- Open relationship
- Differences in ethnicities, culture, sexual identity
My approach is grounded in Emotion Focused Therapy, Gestalt and Attachment Theory. These are therapeutic models proven to be effective for couples.