Evolve your insight. Evolve your relationship.
*Please note I am currently on maternity leave and will return to the office in August, 2021*
Melissa Chosid is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Missouri. She offers counseling services to couples and individuals to help them reach a place of wellness and healing.
Melissa received her Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Family Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She works with couples on issues including heavy conflict, premarital counseling, trust issues, life transitions, peaceful separations and co-parenting issues. Melissa's approach is highly informed by her training in Internal Family Systems (IFS). IFS helps clients to identify, explore, and form connections with different parts of their internal experience. Melissa has also completed Levels 1 and 2 training in The Gottman Method, a model that uses research-based strategies and tools to help couples successfully manage conflict.
Melissa also provides individual counseling. She draws on her expertise in work with couples and families to help individuals with a range of relationship struggles including co-dependent patterns, break-ups, and maladaptive relational behavior.
MARRIAGE & COUPLES THERAPY
Problems can arise for couples in a marriage or committed relationship due to a complex web of factors. Trust can be corroded from an infidelity, intimacy can suffer when a couple's sex life is suffering, or communication can break down due to unmanageable conflict. Additionally, life transitions such as moving, career stresses, and raising children can contribute to frequent arguments or a lost sense of connection.
Couples therapy can help partners with these issues by approaching problems on a variety of levels: behavioral, experiential, and historical.
The behavioral focus helps a couple to learn skills for better communication, conflict resolution, and seeking connection. For example, a couple who defaults to name-calling and blaming during arguments will work with a therapist to approach one another from a calm, non-defensive position by practicing the use of "I" statements, active listening skills, and bids for repair. These behavior modifications can help couples move from major blow-out fights to productive, healthy, collaborative dialogs.
When we focus on the experiential, we are looking at one's experience in the here and how. Within a single interaction, our minds can spark a multitude of thought responses. Have you ever asked your partner to do a simple chore and his/her response is defensive and agitated? You're left confused as to how a benign comment sparked such an energized response. By examining the experiential, we can consider the following:
What cognitive distortions are at play? What core beliefs are being triggered? How is one partner processing and making meaning out of messages from the other partner?
When we get curious about the many thoughts and reactions that are happening within a conversation, we can begin to make sense of how communication can become disrupted and ineffective.
Lastly, the historical focus examines some of the deeper issues that each partner may be carrying from their past. We build our blueprint for how we operate in relationships from our family of origin. Due to trauma or emotional injuries in our early childhood years, we often carry deep wounds that are easily triggered by interactions in our adult relationships. Some of these wounds can be connected to fears of abandonment, anxiety around intimacy, low self-esteem, or a need for control.
By exploring all of these levels together, couples are able to be mindful not only of their maladaptive coping strategies, but also of the history behind these behaviors. This allows partners to be compassionate and supportive of one another as opposed to hostile and defensive.
Individual therapy can be beneficial in examining our own relational behavior. By taking a closer look at our individual histories and patterns, we are better able to take responsibly for how we show up in our relationships.
Avoidance of Closeness
Do you find that in your relationships your partners are always asking for more than you feel capable of giving? Does coupling with another person bring up fears about losing your autonomy or being trapped? There may be a part of you that learned at an early age to distance yourself in relationships in order to create safety. Getting to know your fears around emotional intimacy can change the ways you protect yourself and help you feel more comfortable with tolerating closeness.
You may find that you don't feel complete without a partner in your life. You're constantly searching for that one person who will save or complete you. In relationships, you may have a tendency to want more closeness than your partners or feel that you are constantly chasing. There may be a part of you who didn't fully get its needs met as a child and is looking for a sense of validation or fulfillment in significant others. Individual therapy can help you develop a more compassionate and caring relationship with yourself so that you no longer feel compelled to seek affirmation from the outside.
Picking Toxic Partners
Your family and friends say you have terrible taste in men/women. Each relationship seems like it's going to be different, but inevitably leaves you feeling emotionally beaten down and stuck. You've realized that the least common denominator is you, but how do you break the pattern? You may be replicating a dynamic from your family such as seeking out partners who are similar to an abusive parent or caregiver. It's not your fault that this relational model was given to you, but it is your responsibility to break the cycle.
Should I stay or should I go? You may not be ready to commit to couples therapy or you're unsure whether or not your relationship is capable of change. Exploring this ambivalence with a therapist can be a helpful starting point. Not every relationship is meant to be saved, and you may need some support in creating an exit strategy or building up the courage to leave.
Every fight with your partner leads to yelling, storming off, or throwing things. In hindsight, you're not even sure how you went from 0 to 60 so fast. Anger is a protective mechanism that we learn to utilize in order to survive. Individual therapy can help you slow down, examine this protective strategy, and develop some curiosity about the vulnerability behind it.
If you are working with Melissa as a couple, she may refer you to a separate individual therapist in order to maintain an equal therapeutic alliance with both you and your partner. Similarly, if you begin working with Melissa in the context of individual therapy, it may be challenging to shift to couples work because the therapeutic relationship is biased in one direction. An outside referral can be provided at any time to supplement the work already taking place.