1861 Solano Ave in Berkeley  510.496.2706
Renata Wu, MFT

Couples Therapy

Two people who decide to be together want to feel close and connected. They try hard to understand each other and put effort into doing things for the other person. Yet despite this effort they can often feel misunderstood by the other partner and end up feeling disappointed, hurt, and sometimes angry.

It's normal to go through difficult times in a relationship, to have strong positive and negative feelings towards each other. It's part of getting to know each other and working through differences. But when two people are in conflict most of the time despite their effort to work it out—if the dynamic creates unproductive, repetitive patterns that cause two people to feel disconnected from each other and hurt—that is a signal that they need help. For example when individuals get hurt in a relationship they often try to communicate how they are feeling. But often that communication can cause even more problems because when they feel hurt they often have a tendency to withdraw or lay blame or criticism on the partner. This usually leads to misunderstanding and prolonged isolation in the relationship because the person reacts to the outside behavior of the partner and not to the hidden message: I feel hurt and need you to understand how I feel so we can be close again.

In a relationship it can be hard to know what needs to change or how to do it. People can carry wounds for many years without resolving issues. They can live together for years while feeling isolated and resigned.

I work with couples using an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) research - based approach that has been proven effective at breaking destructive patterns and creating lasting change between partners. The EFT model integrates an internal focus on how each individual processes their own experience, particularly emotional responses, with an interpersonal focus on how partners organize their interactions with others into patterns and cycles.

As your therapist I'll help you learn to read your and your partner's emotional responses and understand how they affect each of you, in order to stop the negative cycle. Through our work together we can shift the old patterns by building blocks of trust and secure bonds so each partner can be a source of security and comfort for the other.

  Helping couples re-create connection and intimacy  
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