Couples Therapy

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” ~ Khalil Gibran

Relationship as a Contemplative Path
Relationships can serve as powerful vessels for personal growth and contemplative practice. A deep intimate connection offers boundless opportunities to stay present, act from a place of integrity and self-awareness, and cultivate compassion. True intimacy sharpens our minds, opens our hearts, and helps us integrate our shadow. When we consciously embark on this path with a partner, we set the stage for the most fulfilling kind of relationship.

Mature Love
In sharing ourselves deeply with another, we uncover previously hidden parts of ourselves: habits, expectations, wounds, and longings. We can become trapped in painful emotional dynamics and repeat unhealthy behaviors rather than engage in conscious, loving interaction. True intimacy is not about unbroken harmony but the ability to stay creative, willing, and open-hearted when seeing each other’s imperfections and limitations.

I offer guidance to couples curious about and open to exploring new, deeper ways of relating. My perspective will support you in de-escalating conflict and unravelling habitual patterns. My approach returns your awareness to the present moment, where you both can uncover the simplicity beneath confusion and miscommunication. By addressing both individual concerns and relational dynamics, you cultivate kindness and compassion for yourself and your partner.

Often, assumptions about love and relationships steer our actions and fuel our conflicts. Painful and pervasive misconceptions include…

  • You are responsible for my happiness. By taking full responsibility for nurturing ourselves, we can enjoy our partner’s affection all the more. Self-care is essential to our own well-being — and to the health of our relationship.
  • If you really love me, you should always want to spend time with me. Mature intimacy is rooted in the ability to spend time by yourself. Balancing togetherness and independence looks different for every couple, and changes throughout the cycles of a relationship.
  • You should only see the best in me. To create genuine intimacy, we must be willing to be seen with our fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities.

Uncovering assumptions like these and re-evaluating those that no longer serve us opens the door to a deeper intimacy based in honesty and freedom of choice.

I will come to you my friend, when I no longer need you. Then you will find a palace, not an almshouse. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Skills, Stages, and Patterns
Beyond the honeymoon phase, we have an opportunity to mature into a deeper, more holistic connection. This involves choice, responsibility, and dedication. In my work with couples, we cultivate skills for this new, more rewarding intimacy:

My husband and I could not have walked through the stories, beliefs, opinions, and pain that we have without Afra on our team. She has helped us see how many places we were holding back from truly sharing ourselves with each other and gently worked through those areas with us. We will forever be grateful. ~ S. A., Boulder, CO

  • Inviting lightness, ease, and generosity — especially during times of conflict.
  • Creating an environment of acceptance, affection, and appreciation.
  • Recognizing cycles of romance, conflict, and integration.
  • Discovering current roles and dynamics — and bringing more choice to them.
  • Becoming comfortable feeling and expressing all your emotions — including anger.
  • Stepping outside the emotional dynamic — especially when both of you are triggered.
  • Letting go of the fantasy of a perfect partner — while remaining nurturing and compassionate.

Compassionate Witness, Insightful Guide
My approach integrates gentle compassion and penetrating clarity. By asking simple, powerful questions, I invite a reverent, lighthearted curiosity and help you unravel emotional knots. As you practice honoring both of your perspectives, the relationship itself emerges as a distinct, separate entity to nurture. Through returning to the present moment again and again, you can create a new culture in your relationship: one of freedom, awareness, choice, and appreciation.

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A mature, fulfilling relationship looks different for every couple. If you are curious to explore new depths of intimacy — and learn the tools to create this together — I can help.

Contact me to discuss the possibilities of working together.