My passion and life’s work is empowering people to feel connection and safety in their relationships.
Typical issues brought to counselling are:
Volatile reactions /emotional dysregulation
Infidelity, betrayal, and mistrust
Impasse on an important decision
On the brink - When one partner is leaning out of the relationship and the other wants to work on it - Discernment Counselling
Dwindled passion and sexual intimacy
Recovering from addiction
Mental health issues (depression, anxiety, trauma) or neuro-diversity such as ADHD
Therapy is not a one size fits all approach. How could it be when every person, situation, and/or circumstance is different? I work with clients who are monogamous, polyamorous, LGBTQ2+, Cishet, monogamish, arranged marriages, BIPOC, White Settler, all cultures and ethnicities, neurodiverse, and differently-abled persons. I’m committed to educating myself, uncovering my unconscious biases, speaking truth to power, and incorporating the feedback I receive on my blind spots. If and when you reach a point where you may feel the need to work with a more specialized therapist, I can refer you and make prioritize best continuity of care for you.
“We were having a lot of trouble communicating. It seemed like we were not ever being heard. It was getting to the point where we felt extremely distant from one another and were growing apart. Diana gave us new techniques to open up better dialogue and communication. Not in how to talk to each other but how to listen to one another. Things are improving. While there is still some work in front of us, we can now work more effectively through our issues, knowing that our point of views have been heard.”
Process and Approach - Relational Life Therapy (RLT)
Humans are inherently good and have positive intentions. Nevertheless, we pick up habits and behaviours that are non-relational. This is not our fault. These behaviours or defense mechanisms often stem from when we were kids and mostly in reaction to our family dynamics and/or the unhealthy societal norms to which we are pressured to adhere. They saved our butts at a time in our lives when we were kids which is to say: dependent, powerless, and vulnerable. We had to adapt as we had no direct influence on our life circumstances. Seeing these behaviours through this lens can engender self-compassion and kindness to ourselves as we confront these behaviours,attitudes, and beliefs and move forward into emotional maturity and relationality.
As adults, it is 100% our responsibility to heal and change our non-relational behaviours to healthy ways of being not only with others, but with ourselves. Please know, this is the bar to which I will compassionately hold you and I hold myself.
These non-relational behaviours or losing strategies can include: fighting to be right; retaliation; withdrawal; unbridled self-expression; controlling your partner.
I also help you identify the unhealthy dynamic you and your partner are stuck in. All couples have at least one, and in RLT we call it a bad deal. A simplified example is: the more one partner does a particular behaviour (not taking out the garbage), the other partner follows with a reactionary, unhealthy behaviour (nagging), which in return, the other does more of a disconnecting behaviour (shutting down). Think of it as needing to know what the dance is, before you can change the dance steps.
Along with understanding how our family of origin dynamics influence how we react in relationships today, RLT also considers the growth needed in our self-esteem and boundaries as those are cornerstone to any healthy relationship. Learn more about The Grid here.
After the first or second session, and in reviewing the information I have gathered, I will present to you where I think the focus needs to be. If you are in agreement, then the transformational work begins.
Although we get to the heart of the issue quickly, changing your dynamic and reactions to healthy relational ways of being with one another can take time. It is a process that takes patience, meaningful perseverance, courage, and vulnerability. My role is one of a compassionate teacher, coach, and cheerleader through it all. I recommend being open to a 12-session commitment although some couples reach lasting change in less time, some in more time.. Usually sessions are once a week for the first month, then every two to three weeks.
To get you well on your way, I will ask you to listen to Terry Real’s audible, Fierce Intimacy, before we start our work together.
Prioritising a relational way of being with each other
Ability to take accountability, make amends, repair ruptures
Strong sense of being on the same team as your partner
Welcoming the differences between you and your partner
Loving firmness communication to teach the world how to treat you
Negotiation instead of compromise
Trust and a sense of safety with one another
Understanding, acceptance and compassion for one another
Increased passion and intimacy
A healthy balance between togetherness and separateness