Do you feel alone in your relationship or marriage?
More like roommates, strangers, or even enemies instead of lovers and best friends?
Are you reeling from betrayal or infidelity?
Are you struggling with a partner who has an untreated mental health or substance use disorder or trauma?
Are you having endless conflicts about sex, mess, kids, in-laws, work, money or something else?
It’s scary, frustrating, and isolating when we feel like our relationship is off course.
We rarely enter intimate relationships with research-based relationship skills to guide us in creating a happy, fulfilling and passionate long-term marriage. Instead, we’re taught that love will conquer all. We think relationships are common sense, but we’re actually flying without a map especially if neither sets of our parents were the model we wish to emulate. In all other important endeavors in our life- work, parenting, health, financial planning, and even hobbies- we realize the importance of reading a book, taking a class, and consulting what the experts say, and yet very few couples are encouraged to invest in learning how to have a healthy long-term relationship. It’s no wonder why marriage is difficult.
If you’re thinking, “But it was so easy in the beginning! What happened?!” You are not alone. I can still recall receiving the book Passionate Marriage as a wedding gift and wondering, “who needs a book on this when it all feels so natural?” What most couples don’t realize is that: there are 3 distinct relationship stages that we all go through (harmony/bliss, disharmony/disillusionment, and repair/mature love)~ more than once during our marriage.
The key to an amazing relationship is learning how to move from disharmony to repair and strengthening your bond.
After the honeymoon (harmony) period ends or after major life changes, such as having children, you may find yourself struggling in a variety of ways- feeling emotionally disconnected (like roommates), not appreciated, not having your needs or dreams supported, missing the passion you once had, or having endless unresolved heated arguments that leave you feeling hopeless, disillusioned, and afraid that either your partner will leave you or your partner will never be able to satisfy your needs.
All couples have relationship issues at different points in their journey.
As a couples therapist, teacher, parent, and spouse married for 20 years, I am well aware of how common it is for couples to experience challenges as part of their story. While you might be feeling overwhelmed by your relationship challenges and desperately wishing life could just go back to an easier time, you and your partner would be missing out on some of the greatest personal and relationship growth opportunities possible. In my experience personally and professionally, it’s not the conflicts or mistakes that are the deal breakers. What causes relationships to stagnate or deteriorate is when one or both partners lack openness to deeply listen to and understand our partner, refuse to apologize or make a repair, and lack willingness to work on our own areas of needed growth.
Fortunately, there is hope!
Investing in couples therapy can help you and your partner heal and move beyond your limitations and pain from the past in order to become your best selves. With the help of a compassionate and experienced therapist trained in advanced couple therapy methods, you can reconnect to your partner and recreate a more fulfilling, supportive, and passionate relationship.
You can heal from past hurt, breakthrough gridlock conflict, and revive your love.
Couple Therapy Sessions Are:
Heart-centered & emotionally-focused – Grounded in attachment theory, I will elicit greater authenticity, empathy and understanding for you and your partner by drawing from your your current feelings and relationship dynamic, childhood, and previous intimate relationships. You will be supported to speak and listen from your heart, so you and your partner’s needs, hopes, fears, and longings will be heard, understood, validated, and empathized, and your relationship dynamic can be changed to a more supportive one.
Evidenced-based – I primarily utilize EFT, which is the gold standard for couples therapy as it has the highest success in outcome research studies- 95% of people feel better, and 75% report their issues resolved. I also draw from other effective models (including PACT, RLT, Esther Perel, & Gottman). Since every couple is unique, I will incorporate the most helpful skills and concepts to match each couple’s needs.
Strength-focused – You have strengths as an individual and as a couple that deserve recognition. When others see the best in you, you feel safe and more open to change. You can also feel more hope as a couple when your strengths are honored and reflected back to you.
Active-oriented & Practical– You will face each other as I coach you to better express yourself, attune, and care for one another. You will practice in real time different solutions related to your problems and/or goals, ex. effective communication, conflict resolution, rebuilding trust, and intimacy skills. You will rediscover the fun, sense of adventure, and passion you previously had to continue writing fabulous chapters in your love story.
Collaborative/empowering – Since every couple is unique, I will follow your lead with you identifying your relationship goals. My job as a couples therapist is to help you reach your goals by providing “process consulting”, skill coaching, drilling down together to the root of your struggles, and supporting you in taking small steps to reach your desired goals.
In PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy), you will learn about:
In “Secure functioning” relationships~
Partners are willing to do whatever it takes to help their significant other feel safe, secure, loved, & vibrant. Partners depend on each other. Partners tell each other everything. Partners have each other’s backs. Partners protect each other. Partners only use attraction, not fear or threat to get what they want. For a taste of PACT and a free relationship exercise, watch my “couple bubble” video.
Becoming an expert on your partner so you can more deeply understand and more successfully meet your partner’s needs (& they can meet yours too).
Cutting-edge (relationship) research in three areas: neuroscience, arousal regulation, and attachment theory, and how it will help you create and maintain a more loving, fulfilling, and passionate relationship. Learn more about PACT.
In EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy):
EFT is the gold standard for couples therapy as it is the only model that has the highest research-based success rate- 95% of people feel better, and 75% report their issues resolved- and the lowest relapse rate.
Your couples therapy session is grounded in attachment theory, which views human beings as innately relational, social and wired for intimate bonding with others.
Your emotions are prioritized because they are considered the messengers of love and help you bond at the most intimate level.
Your “attachment” needs, fears, and longings are taken seriously. For example, these questions you might have will be validated by your partner: Can I count on you? Depend on you? Will you respond to me when I need you? Do I matter? Do you need me? A.R.E. you there for me? (emotionally accessible, responsible, & engaged)
You will identify the negative interaction patterns that keep you from connecting in the way you desire, and learn how to shift these into positive patterns of connection so you can decrease conflict and disconnection and feel closer than you ever imagined.
“When I know I can reach you, you will respond to me emotionally when I need you, and you value me and will stay close to me, then I will feel securely attached.” – Sue Johnson, creator of EFT
What Sets Me Apart as a Couples Therapist
- I’m excited to offer online counseling as one of my services! I use Zoom’s Pro version, which allows us to have secure, HIPAA-compliant video sessions. A free additional service is that I can record your sessions (with your permission) and play back for you, which provide outstanding learning opportunities.
- I have been married for 21 years and am incredibly fortunate to have a spouse who is as devoted as I am to relational growth. We reap the benefits of continually learning and growing and are committed to passing down a legacy of a loving, fulfilling, and vibrant relationship to future generations.
- While many therapists in private practice complete their education (except for the required minimal CEU’s) when they earn their master’s degree, I continued on in a two year rigorous post-graduate training in Marriage and Family Therapy at Denver Family Institute.
- I have completed The Gottman Institute’s training, “Couples and Addiction Recovery”, PACT Level I training, and RLT Level I and II training.
- Currently, I am working towards earning my EFT certification.
I’m considering couples counseling, but still have questions and concerns…
I’m worried that couples counseling will cause more problems to surface.
Many couples initially worry that counseling will either entail an attack against them or their spouse and then feel overwhelmed by more problems. I help couples by leading you both out of your never ending conflicts and/or lonely disconnection. I will guide you to listen again, speak from your heart and remember what made you fall in love with your partner. Your sessions will focus on you clarifying and implementing your vision for your relationship .
I equally provide a safe space for you to express your concerns by maintaining a highly respectful, collaborative environment. I will help you identify the source of your relationship struggles (which may involve some personal growth work) and support you in addressing these issues directly and effectively by learning and practicing new skills in real time.
I’m worried about the cost and time since we’ll have to find childcare. How long will it take for us to see some improvement?
Couples therapy is one of the best investments of your money, time and energy because you’ll be tapping into your relationship strengths and feelings of love that may have been forgotten and addressing your relationship issues at their source. By engaging in couples counseling, you are increasing your odds that your child will also be learning (from your example) how to create a fulfilling, supportive, and vibrant relationship—and that is priceless.
I understand the challenge of securing childcare and parents feeling spread thin. Thus, it is a win-win for couples when I only recommend they find childcare twice a month and engage them in longer sessions to help them get present and do the deep work they wish to in order to achieve long-lasting gains. The amount of time it takes for couples to experience positive change varies. The couples identified relationship goals, initial level of functioning, and motivation to be open and willing to change will influence the length of treatment. On average, couples need 6 months in order to reach their goals. Couples who attend therapy more often (weekly) might achieve their goals faster.
I am also committed to helping ALL couples who wish to invest in their most important relationship. Therefore, I offer a few sliding scale spots and have several community referral sources I can recommend as well.
I also offer highly affordable couples workshops a couple times a year.
What if my spouse refuses to attend couples therapy?
This is a very common issue because more often than not one partner is ready to get help immediately and the other is reluctant for a variety of reasons, including the beliefs that relationships are common sense and that adults should be able to solve all of their issues by themselves. If only these statements were true, the divorce rate would not continue to be at 50%. Thus…
- Ask first! And if you hear anything, but “yes”, calmly ask your partner if they would be willing to listen to your feelings for just the next 5 minutes (when you would briefly share your hopes for your relationship). After you’ve planted the seed, let it go.
- Go anyway. If you’re ready to get help- you, your relationship, and your legacy to your children will still improve by going yourself! This is due to the ripple effect that relational therapists see all of the time in families! The partner who attends therapy will learn new relationship skills, decrease feelings of anger, anxiety and depression, and increase feelings of hope. By just exuding more confidence and conviction to no longer accept the relationship’s status quo, that can influence your partner to consider attending couples counseling.
- Keep the door open. Let your partner know that when they’re ready, you would love for them to join you at the sessions. Oftentimes when spouses know that their partner is going to therapy to discuss their relationship, they may feel more motivated to participate so their voice can also be heard.
I can still remember the anxious moment I asked my husband (who has a degree in engineering) to attend our first couples retreat and how pleasantly surprised I was to hear an instant, “yes”! I probably registered us within the next 59 seconds. Both my husband and I found that first retreat to be transformational and he admittedly is on the personal and relationship growth bandwagon.
Do you work with diverse couples? (LGBTQIA, different religions, race/ethnicities, etc.?)
Yes! I grew up in a diverse community in a Chicago suburb, attended Pride since I was a child, and purposefully sought work as a teacher and therapist in diverse communities as I find life is so much richer when a variety of perspectives and wisdom can be shared. I also believe that at our core, humans have more similarities than differences.
Next steps…toward creating an amazing relationship
Simply contact me for a free 20 minute free consultation. You can conveniently schedule your consultation or first session on my on-line calendar or call Lana Isaacson, LCSW, CAC III, Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy at 720.432.5262.
You can also check out my one of a kind affordable workshops:
Keeping the Spark Alive! – A 3 hour interactive workshop for Parents of young children (middle school and younger).
Have Each Other’s Backs Again – A transformational all day interactive workshop supporting couples in recovery (from substance abuse, mental health issues, trauma, and/or generations of divorce or unfulfilling relationships).
What clients are saying…
“What we appreciate about working with Lana is that she is so open and non-judgmental and a great listener. Lana always stayed positive and focused on what strengths we were bringing and how to strengthen the weaknesses.” – A
“I had fears that therapy would suck. I didn’t like talking about difficult issues and I thought counseling would be that on steroids. I should be able to understand and fix anything all by myself. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. It has massively improved my life and the benefits stay with you going forward… (continues below…)
If I could wish for something, it would be that the negative stigma (especially among men) around therapy would disappear. I was trying to build something with no training and without the correct tools.Lana gave us perspective, the training, and toolbox to get the job done right. I was taught [metaphorically] how to keep my saw sharp and tuned properly, how to clean and adjust the carburetor and change the spark plug.” – J
“We have conversations we never would have had on our own. The exercises we did in sessions spurred conversations we never would have had on our own. Lana helped us realize we can be partners for life. We were not sure we were going to make it as a couple, yet Lana has been able to get us to a place of open communication that we didn’t achieve after 4 years of dating.” -L
“Our marriage feels more resilient. We started couples therapy because our marriage was in crisis. Lana’s therapeutic presence and her use of the PACT techniques really helped us. My husband and I are more connected and much more generous with each other. We are moving closer towards each other versus moving against each other. Our marriage feels more resilient. I truly thought my marriage was over and beyond repair. I was willing to try therapy one more time and I’m so glad I did.” – B
“Lana guided us through the darkness we had been experiencing for months by helping my husband and I talk through the conflicts we had been facing and had us practice various exercises. After seeking couples therapy with Lana, I have literally fallen in love with my husband all over again. With her guidance, we have learned so much about ourselves and each other. We have come to such a wonderful place in our relationship where each day we are fostering greater understanding, respect, trust, friendship, and love. We have grown so much and established a renewed sense of commitment.” – K