Kirsten Sidell, M.S. LCMFT
268 Main Street, Gladstone, Peapack and Gladstone, NJ, USA
I see therapy as a way of organizing your inner world and the feelings that get stuck there. This is not an easy process, especially because many of us have not been shown how to deal with our emotions as children, or have never had the experience of emotional attunement to understand its importance. What we learn to do is to cope on our own with distress, which is too heavy of a load for the nervous system. Without help, we learn to turn away from others, away from our feelings, or become easily defensive because managing the discomfort alone is too painful.
Fast forward many years, and you become an adult who continues to use the same coping strategy - because it has worked in making you feel better. The only problem is in your most important relationship, it gets you in trouble. You are not trying to cause trouble, far from it! But that very coping strategy that helped you feel better as a child, sends a different signal to your partner. This happens because you do not have healthy experience in communicating your emotions.
It does not have to be this way. Learning to use your emotional muscle takes practice, and it pays off. Through Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, you can learn to cope relationally, so that in your worst moments, you can have confidence that you will actually receive help from your love. What you are left with is a sense of relief, feeling understood, and feeling connected. Your nervous system actually thanks you for it.
I know that sharing the message of the importance of emotional attunement is my calling because of how motivated I am to respond to my toddler aged daughter, especially when she is experiencing any heightened emotion (aka tantrum!). I want her to experience the feeling of "feeling felt" or feeling understood. My hope is for her to have the experience of being able to organize her emotions (with my help of course), so that when she is an adult, she will not get stuck in one way of coping (that doesn't really work!). My hope is that she will have a plethora of experience in coping relationally, so that she has more practice than I did in being in a healthy, adult, loving relationship.
I want to you to get in on this movement! When the couples I work with start to feel safe and connected, I know that not only are they getting practice in re-engaging with their most important person (each other!), they are also able to transfer their new emotional skills to others they love too. And spreading more love in this world feels pretty important to me! Thanks for reading! If you would like to learn more, reach out, or visit my website - www.coupleandfamilytherapist.com. I am accepting virtual appts for those anywhere in NJ (and MD and DC). I also see clients in person at my office in Gladstone.