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Trauma Informed Couples THERAPY IN LOS ANGELES

Trauma-informed couples therapy isn't about pointing fingers or assigning blame. Instead, it helps couples understand each other through the lens of their past experiences: 

Couples learn to explore and share answers to questions like:

  • What events shaped the way you cope and protect yourself in this relationship?

  • When you find yourself withdrawing or becoming distant in your relationship, what emotions or reactions are triggered within you?

  • What factors contribute to your difficulty in listening or responding to your partner's words?

  • Is the perception that your partner is criticizing you based on what they're actually saying, or is it influenced by your own interpretations?

  • Do your partner’s words ever evoke a sense of familiarity, perhaps reminiscent of emotions you've felt in the past?


I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Group Psychotherapist, and I love helping couples and families connect and grow deeper, more fulfilling, and satisfying relationships. As the Clinical Director of a Residential Treatment Center in Malibu for over three years, working with trauma and providing trauma-informed care was essential in my work with clients, but also when I trained new therapists.

As an experienced trauma-informed therapist, I have found a bottom-up approach to therapy is a more effective way or working with some clients to facilitate healing and longer-lasting change. 

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This means in sessions we are likely to focus on processing bodily sensations and automatic responses first, acknowledging that feelings of unsafety and stress responses occur before cognitive understanding. It emphasizes creating a safe therapeutic environment and nurturing a healing relationship, both with the therapist and within oneself. This approach integrates dual awareness of thought and feeling, aiming to develop regulated responses in both body and brain, and seeks to integrate the whole brain (left, right, top, and bottom) for healthy regulation and healing.


In working with me, I notice that couples come to realize that, despite the painful experiences they've endured, the key lies in understanding the reasons behind these events.

Couples delve deeply into each other's psyche, exploring questions such as:

  • What triggered your emotional withdrawal or disengagement within the relationship?

  • Why did it appear so challenging to genuinely listen to your partner?

  • Were your partner's words genuinely critical, or did they evoke familiar past emotions?

  • Did certain words or actions trigger bodily memories of past fears or criticisms?


Sometimes, individuals resort to coping mechanisms like infidelity, excessive work, substance use, unhealthy eating habits, or pornography as a means to escape the agony of relational disconnect. Their aim is often to alleviate distress, as sustaining a relationship while grappling with overwhelming emotions can be daunting.

In our work with couples, we draw upon a range of proven therapy models, including PACT, IMAGO, EFT, and insights from Gottman's research.


However, our primary focus is applying Judith Herman's three stages of trauma recovery. This comprehensive approach helps couples rediscover security, safety, and happiness in their relationship, even after enduring the most challenging ruptures.


Stage 1: Safety and Stabilization.


The initial stage focuses on establishing emotional safety and stabilization in the relationship. This involves creating an environment where both partners can express emotions within a 'window of tolerance,' enabling them to regulate emotions and effectively listen to each other. The goal is to reach a point where each person’s feelings are manageable, allowing them to think and feel simultaneously. This stage isn't about one partner dominating but about sharing, listening, understanding, and developing compassion for each other and oneself.

Stage 2: Processing


In this stage, partners, now able to hear and emotionally support each other, explore the impact of their coping mechanisms and life experiences on their relationship. This includes understanding the reasons behind actions that may have harmed the relationship, such as infidelity or turning to substances. The focus is on rebuilding trust, identifying each partner’s needs, and finding ways to grow together rather than apart.

Stage 3: Integration


The final stage revolves around understanding the effort required to maintain a healthy relationship and enhance emotional availability. It's about being present and responsive to your partner's emotional needs. This stage involves practicing new solutions and coping strategies to heal and strengthen the relationship, ensuring that each partner feels supported and understood.


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