I work with couples to help them explore and find ways to better connect with each other during times of stress and tension. One of the most common reasons couples seek therapy is communication issues. This breakdown in communication is the worst during conflict. A healthy couple is able to tolerate difference and allow one another to express ideas. Following a developmental model created by Dr. Ellen Bader and Dr. Peter Bader, I work with couples to see where they have become stuck in a stage that does not tolerate difference. According to research, we start relationships feeling like our partner is on the same page – maybe that we think alike, have similar interests, and as a result, have very little conflict. There comes a point (should be developing about or before 2 years in relationships) when healthy couples need to be able to tolerate difference to move forward and progress. It is actually this differentiation that allows the couple to get stronger. It helps couples face stress, challenges, and brings newness into the relationship. Couples who stay in the symbiotic stage often avoid fighting (i.e. shut down) or become angry trying to bring home their point. These rounds seem to go on and on with no real winner. My approach to couples work is to help partners chose goals that will strengthen their relationship and ultimately help them discover the freshness and intimacy that they desire by allowing healthy differentiation.