Emotional Intimacy in Romantic Partnership
I support women and couples to cultivate a deeper sense of closeness and connection in their romantic partnerships.
Are you yearning for more intimacy?
What is emotional intimacy, anyway?
Denoting close familiarity or friendship.
The term intimacy comes from the Latin term intimus referring to “inner [and] inmost."
Intimacy is often defined by scholars as the sharing of one’s innermost feelings or emotional life with another, or what is called "self-disclosure."
However, intimacy includes more than just sharing one's feelings with another. In fact, even scholars agree that intimacy naturally has a kind of fuzzy-ness to it—it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you feel it. In a general sense, you can think of emotional intimacy as feeling close and connected to another.
There are many different kinds of intimacy—emotional, sexual, physical (non-sexual), intellectual, spiritual, and more. In my work with individual women who are in romantic partnerships or with couples themselves,
I focus on emotional intimacy in romantic partnerships—how to cultivate and deepen the feeling of closeness and connection including how to become more skillful communicators and navigators of conflict.
We've all heard the adage, "Relationships are hard work."
A so-called "healthy" relationship is not necessarily one that is void of conflict, disconnection, or difficulty. Even in the most satisfying intimate relationships, partners will experience ups and downs, moments of deeper intimacy as well as distance, and places of diversity (where partners feel different from one another).
In addition, in my research on romantic partnerships, I've found that many couples are experiencing unprecedented levels of complexity, chaos, and contradictions within the territory of emotional intimacy in the last 15-20 years due to a variety of recent societal factors.
And, while it's true that romantic relationships take a commitment to exploring what is sometimes difficult emotional territory, cultivating self-awareness, and building one's skills around communication and conflict, if your relationship with your partner regularly feels really hard, then you are likely running into sticky spots without having the right tools to navigate through them.
Most likely you have entered into your romantic partnership with blindspots—assumptions, patterns, and unconscious beliefs and values about how to relate—without realizing that these default settings and approaches are often limited and don't necessarily lead to greater emotional intimacy.
You probably also brought some "baggage" with you—all the difficult experiences (trauma, abuse, neglect, unmet needs, etc.) that you have carried forward from your childhood and your previous relationships. These blindspots and difficult experiences significantly impact the painful dynamics that occur and recur in relationship with your partner. Cultivating deeper emotional intimacy with your partner includes developing a growing awareness of these inner and outer dynamics along with learning skills and strategies to navigate these experiences inside and out.
This is where I come in.
When it comes to cultivating emotional intimacy in relationship, it is critical to have a set of outside eyes, of highly trained eyes, and of loving eyes to identify the places that need more witnessing and unfolding along with re-educating you with the right skills and tools so that you may arrive in your relationship as your most authentic self and be available for truer closeness and more satisfying connection.
My approach is best suited for...
...women who are eager to engage in a practice of self-reflection and self-awareness, who desire specific guidance and re-education around relationships and intimacy, and who are committed to building more emotional intimacy with their partner. Likewise, my work with couples will be most effective when both partners are committed to building self-awareness and intimacy and are ideally seeking this support independent of an urgent crisis in their relationship. All racial and ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations are celebrated and welcomed.
ALSO, PLEASE NOTE...
I am an independent consultant, not a licensed therapist. I am unable to work with those who have at any point been hospitalized for or diagnosed with bipolar and related disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, or borderline, narcissistic, or other personality disorders.
In our sessions, we can explore...
Where you get "stuck" with partner, where your inner critic blocks you from saying or doing things that leave you feeling frustrated and hopeless rather than empowered and optimistic.
When you get "defensive" or feel triggered in your relationship—when you feel unseen or misunderstood by your partner or where fear, anger, or hopelessness arise and you need loving witnessing.*
How you may be unconsciously expecting your partner to "read your mind" rather than having to speak your needs and desires more directly.
How you may be projecting either a "positive" or "negative" parent on to your partner. The "positive" parent is the parent you longed to have—the parent who would have given you unconditional love and who would have met all of your needs. The "negative" parent is the parent who abused, hurt, or neglected you, didn't provide you with unconditional love, or who somehow didn't meet your needs. We can explore how to remove those misplaced projections from your partner so that these needs can be met without placing an undue burden on your relationship.
In our sessions, I can teach you skills and strategies including...
The art of "meta-communication"—how communicate about your communication—as a highly effective way to build greater intimacy.
How to take your own side in a conflict more effectively, how to genuinely take your partner's side, and how to become more fluid so that your conflicts become opportunities for greater emotional intimacy
How to de-escalate conflict especially during those times when disagreements turn to knock-down-drag-out fights in a moment's notice
How to build self-awareness around your outdated relationship patterns that no longer serve you and move towards completing the processes embedded in those patterns that are still longing for expression.
*My partner, David Bedrick, developed the concept of the loving witness in his pioneering work on UnShaming.
As we work together, you may start to notice that...
You feel more seen, known, and understood around your deepest, private feelings especially as they show up in your relationship life.
You feel a growing sense of confidence in yourself and your ability to navigate challenging spots in relationship that used to cause you anxiety or agony.
Your relationship feels more nourishing and satisfying because you are able to get your needs met and set boundaries that care for you.
You feel more joy and satisfaction in your relationship and more of the yummy in-love (ooh la la) feelings towards your partner.
You know that you can be more of your authentic self while in relationship rather than having to choose between authenticity and relationship.
You have a growing pride in how much you, your partner, and your relationship has grown over time.
You feel a sense of the profound, divine connection that exists between you and your partner. You revel in the spiritual or cosmic "rightness" of your connection.
What clients are saying...
“Our sessions with Lisa are an inspiring, intimate invitation to deepen our loving for one another. She is an astutely skilled listener, meticulous in how she ensures the space for each of us to explore important threads more deeply, tracking what emerges in awareness in an organic way with effortless, sensitive flow. She hones in on what is present with enveloping compassion, loving curiosity, and brilliant insight. We are often surprised and deeply touched by what we share and discover together. We consider it a privilege and great joy for us to work with Lisa.”
—M.M. & K.G., ALBUQUERQUE, NM