Relationships can be our greatest source of strength. They can also be destabilizing. Dr. Mandel employs evidence-based principles of care to help couples identify patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that undermine intimacy and entrench conflict. When distressed couples seek his services to improve or repair their relationship, he helps them experiment with and experience new interaction patterns designed to cultivate enduring connections that feel safe and rewarding. Separating couples may seek his services to work toward effective collaboration as divorce partners or co-parents.
With couples looking to improve their relationship, Dr. Mandel adopts a non-pathologizing stance and focuses treatment on the relationship rather than the individuals. That’s a complicated way of saying that in couples therapy, Dr. Mandel works under the assumption that a relationship may be sick while the individuals within that relationship are well (albeit unhappy). To be effective, treatment must first identify how each partner’s thoughts and feelings motivate behaviors that maintain the relationship’s illness. Treatment then helps the individual partners experiment with new ways of responding to emotions that feed connection and starve conflict. Over time, negative interaction patterns thaw and positive interactions rekindle intimacy.