“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be.  It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.  And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, your risk is even greater.”

Johnson, S., Hold Me Tight, (2011) 

Simply put – our relationships matter deeply to us.  We are hardwired to want to love and be loved.  We want to be connected to one another, to be respected, to cherish, and to walk through life with a partner and best friend.  This is often the most central issue of our lives – to resolve the conflict(s) and dynamics that threaten the love that fulfills and drives us.  To be more open to blaming less and loving more fully.  Love is what makes us alive, and it makes us be the best we can be.  

Saving a love or love story, a partnership, a marriage, a family, is amongst the most complicated and the most profound work that one can imagine.  Our shared histories are embedded with hopes, dreams, possibilities, and connection.  They are also often embedded with hurt, disappointment, distance, and loss.  Often, there is both conflict and vulnerability in this work.  Couples counseling is about how to shift communication, to understand and shift destructive relational patterns, increase communication, and see possibilities again, within both your partner and in the relationship.  I believe working with couples is extremely important, depthful, and transformative work.  Our relationships matter greatly to us, they are central to our way of being in the world, to our sense of well-being, they are at the heart of how we work and live. 

I believe there are tremendous healing opportunities available to the relationship and to the individuals who comprise it, and that the re-acquiring of love, trust, and respect is indeed a possibility.  Falling in love is a lot easier than loving your partner down the line.  What I have found works is listening, being attuned to the best way to connect and relate to the client, or couple, and understanding the deeper layers of the dynamic, so it can be held, felt, and shifted.  This is what I call healing by making meaning through relationship.  Ultimately to do this work, the therapist has to sustain a belief in love, and its power to transform.  The process begins with opening up to the beginnings of new hope and possibility.  Or just starting with opening, and seeing where it might lead.


Amy Friedman Ph.D.