I BelieveDeeply loving and thriving . . . it’s all at the edge of your comfort zone. Romantic relationships are a rollercoaster . . . hang on tight, summon up your courage, feel the thrill - and maybe fear, and get ready to shout, “WOW, what a ride!”
About Deborah Fox
I am a licensed clinical social worker with over 35 years’ experience in private practice with two offices in NW Washington, DC. I am a Certified Sex therapist and a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, providing individual, couple and group psychotherapy, as well as clinical consultation and group seminars.
What do you think is at the root of people’s unhappiness? I was asked by a family friend when I was a teenager and without hesitation, I answered, insecurity. That was the beginning of my understanding that feeling safe and secure is central to being free to be the biggest and best we can be.
What I knew in my family growing up is that if things were good between my parents, then they each were more content and approachable with an easy step in their stride. In those moments, I could feel happy and secure in that safe space between them.
Looking back I can see how joy and a sense that All is Well was chipped away in little ways, in my parents and in me.
My parents would hide little things from each other - don’t tell dad we bought you this dress, just wait until you wear it and then it’ll go over better. They had given up on finding a solution together - as partners - in this conflict about spending.
So I was deprived of my joy in running to my Dad saying, ‘look, look what mom bought for me!!’ My Mom was deprived of her pleasure in both witnessing this and the deed itself. My Dad was deprived of joy in sharing this moment with both of us. One small chip in the experience of joy. We all need to feel joy to be our best selves.
Feelings about money ran deep in my parents. They were children of the Great Depression of the 1930s and each adapted in their own way in their families. I came to learn that those adaptations, born out of once-needed survival strategies, were what chipped away at my joy.
When considering my career, what I did know was that I felt most drawn to being actively engaged with people. Being a therapist emerged as a vehicle that felt most alive to me. Becoming a therapist for couples developed as I looked deeper into the quality of people’s lives and saw that the happier their romantic relationship, the more satisfied their lives were. My life has led me to know that the nature of the relational space between two spouses impacts who their children become as adults. I knew then that my work with couples could impact families and I could truly make a difference in people’s lives that could radiate out into the community and beyond.
When couples experience tension, increasing conflict and unhappiness, it can seem like such a mystery that a relationship that once felt so warm and loving has developed into one of pain, disappointment and disconnection. Feeling disconnected and/or experiencing conflicts and tension, can seem so distressing that the possibility of redeveloping a loving and fun relationship can seem dim.
My style of therapy, rooted in Imago therapy, is a particularly effective form of couples counseling which aims to help couples develop safe and more loving relationships, in which pain and conflict are turned into an opportunity for growth and greater closeness, improved communication, and better sex. Please visit my website to learn more.