In couples therapy, I primarily use Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) which is an evidence-based treatment for relationship counselling. Research consistently shows that EFT is more effective than the average couples therapy treatment (over 70%) AND it doesn't have to take forever. In fact, the research shows that 8-20 sessions can lead to a meaningful improvement in relationship satisfaction and a more secure attachment to one's partner(s). As a bonus, these gains have been shown to last for 2 years post-treatment (i.e. after the counselling has ended)! [1, 2]
Many of my couples leave their first session with a newly refreshed hope that things could actually get better, often after years of things feeling stagnant. With each session, my hope is that you feel as though you have greater insight, renewed hope for positive change and tangible things to be working on toward your goals.
Starting from the first session, I am interested in figuring out what your specific cycle of communication and pattern of relating is. I will help you identify and understand how these negative cycles, and the emotions that underlie them, keep couples stuck in problematic dynamics. By unpacking these cycles, it allows for new ways of interacting with each other that are healthier, more constructive and more meaningful.
I will support all members of the relationship to attend to feelings of hurt, insecurity and anger in a way that does not leave partner(s) feeling judged, inadequate, criticized or blamed. This helps partners to move closer together, building a stronger relationship than what existed before.
When booking an appointment, I offer two options for couples therapy/relationship counselling/ marriage counselling: the standard 50-minute session as well as an extended 80-minute session. I find that the extra time is really helpful in relationship work, especially at the beginning as there is lots to cover and we need a bit more time to get into things. That said, the standard 50-minute session is great too if that works better for your schedules/budgets.
Offering in person therapy serving Waterdown, Hamilton, Burlington and beyond, as well as virtual services across Ontario.
Do you feel like your relationship could use some counselling but your partner refuses to attend or doesn't believe there's a problem? This is not uncommon. I can help you too!
Many people believe that if they end up in couple counselling that this means they are headed for divorce. This is a myth! Couples counselling is an important tool to keep relationships healthy and on track and can work towards healing problematic dynamics that might lead to divorce or separation. I am a huge advocate in coming to therapy before you're at the brink of divorce, but it's better late than never.
If your partner still refuses to come, we can absolutely do some individual work to enhance the relationship. EFT is adaptable to individual work . If your partner sees you working on things, perhaps the ripple effect will happen, encouraging them to take positive steps to enhance the relationship as well. Click here to learn more about individual therapy options.
It is not uncommon for partners to be on different pages when it comes to staying in the marriage or not. Counselling can help with this! I can help with this.
This type of therapy is called Discernment Counselling. The focus of therapy is to pause, slow down and carefully consider your options: 1) Continue the status quo (whatever your relationship currently looks like), 2) end the relationship and proceed with separation/divorce, or 3) move forward with couples therapy with a commitment of 6 months (enough time to see if change is possible, no one has to commit to forever).
This focus allows each partner to reflect upon how you got here (what happened within the relationship that has led to divorce being considered) and to better understand our own roles in this. The goal is not to solve the problems in the relationship, but to see if they are solvable.
Regardless of what happens, my hope is that I can create a safe environment for each partner to express their feelings, feel heard by the other and identify healthy next steps. Even if you know the next step is divorce, this style of counselling can help to ensure positive communication throughout the separation process, which can make the process less stressful and financially burdensome. This is especially important when children are involved.
Thinking ahead, doing this therapy work now can be helpful in future relationships too.
Future relationships may be enhanced when we reflect upon and take ownership of our contributions to relationship problems.
This process is similar for relationships that want to dissolve in a friendly manner. I can support all relationship styles open up, close down or separate in a way that is respectful and healing.
I have experience and training in supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and relationships of all structures. While this has never been the bulk of my work, I strive to always create a safe and welcoming place for all people, and continually work to queer my relationship therapy process.
I am ally and offer sex positive, relationship affirming therapy.
 Spengler, P. M., Lee, N. A., Wiebe, S. A., & Wittenborn, A. K. (2022). “A comprehensive meta-analysis on the efficacy of emotionally focused couple therapy.” Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, advance online publication.
 Wiebe, S., Johnson, S.M., Burgess-Moser, M., Dalgleish, T., Lafontaine, M., & Tasca, G. (2016). “Two-year follow-up outcomes in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: An investigation of relationship satisfaction and attachment trajectories.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 43(2), 227-244.
 Johnson, S. M. (2019). Attachment theory in practice: Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with individuals couples and families. New York: Brunner-Routledge.