people in committed relationships
who care about their partner,
but feel discouraged, disillusioned, or disconnected
this sound familiar?
You care deeply about your partner, but the conflicts
are wearing you out and you often feel separate and alone. No
one suggested that intimacy would be so thorny and hard. How
is it possible that this person you fell in love with causes
so much turmoil in you?
You have probably been struggling to get them to change,
alternately attacking and withdrawing, hoping this will make
them treat you better. You may sometimes think that you picked
the wrong person, or that you are the problem and are
just not capable of being close.
You know by now that its impossible to force someone to
change, and you may realize that distancing yourself doesn't
work either. Its all-too-easy these days to end this
relationship and get a new partner, but does this really solve
the problem, or do you just start over with a new set of
something about you that makes this process so
difficult, but that's not a reason to quit. Besides, you like
being connected to another person in this way, and being alone
doesn't really work for most of us in the long run.
The difficulty you face is not you or your partner. The
problem is that our society has undergone a revolution in the
way we view relationships and your expectations for equality,
deep intimacy, and individuality have raced ahead of your
ability to achieve them. We don't yet know how to share power,
be vulnerable, have personal expression, and be genuinely
connected to someone else.
part of a couple today is the most difficult thing anyone
can do because no one ever taught us how to do it, and all the rules
have changed so dramatically in the course of one
essential now that you learn skills for responding to each
others emotions and needs so you can have the deep and
supportive relationship you really want.
What you need are tools that enable you
to understand and express your feelings and needs without
blame and listen to those of your partner without judgment.
There are skills that help you to establish healthy boundaries
and negotiate directly so that each of your needs are met. And
there are ways to access empathy and express compassion, even
when you feel threatened or separate.
I can help you:
I have worked with couples since 1990 helping people
who don't feel understood to listen supportively and
assert themselves responsibly. I spent ten years as a
professional divorce mediator before realizing that my
passion was to teach couples how to use effective
communication skills before
they split up.
I offer three-hour intensive, confidential, sessions
that focus on applying the skills of listening and
assertion to current conflicts in your relationship. For
most of the session you will be communicating directly
with your partner about a live issue, and I will be
coaching each of you in presenting and receiving, as
In this process you can expect one or more issues to
be resolved and, more importantly, you will learn and
practice tools that you can use at home. The skills are
relatively simple, and I have detailed them in my book, Conscious
Communication. Most of us need help in
applying them, however, because they require such a
radical shift from the way we are used to approaching
Unlike traditional therapy, I usually do not get
involved in the content of your issues, and instead focus
on facilitating your process. I offer a lot of coaching in
the beginning as you are learning the skills, and less as
the session goes on and you are able to do it on your own.
I will help you identify repeating patterns in which
you hook each other, and offer alternative responses that
will help you feel more connected and get more of your
needs met. The goal is for you to better understand your
partner and be understood by them, stay connected when
there is conflict, and re-frame threatening situations so
you see yourselves more as allies instead of adversaries.
to know more?
Check out my book
Communication which details each skill and shows you
how to use it - including three chapters focusing on couples.
Click on the book cover to your left to purchase !
Ready to go deeper?
Book a three-hour
private session with me, Miles
Sherts, at a beautiful nature sanctuary in the hills of
with a focus on listening and communicating with your
partner when emotions are charged, and making shared
Sessions cost $275 and can be booked for
a morning or afternoon, or as part of a longer private couples
private couples retreat includes two nights in a beautiful
cabin surrounded by gardens and ponds, and two extended
private sessions with Miles. This is an excellent way to
go deeper and integrate the skills with time away from
your busy lives to practice and connect with each other.
book a session or private retreat,
send your request with possible dates to firstname.lastname@example.org
My background is in conflict resolution, and conscious
communication skills. My approach differs from more
traditional therapy in that it focuses on your immediate
emotions and needs. Rather than trying to establish a common
story, I help each of you connect your individual needs with
your emotional responses and prompt you to find a way to meet
Happens in a Three-Hour Session with Miles?
approach includes a brief overview of the theory and practice
of Conscious Communication skills applied to primary intimate
relationships. He then will prompt you to bring up a current
issue in your relationship while he actively coaches both of
you in Assertion and Supportive Listening skills. For much of
the session you will be communicating directly with each other
and Miles will be facilitating. As you become more familiar
with the skills, you will be talking more together and Miles
will be intervening less.
In most couples there is a
tendency for each of you to react strongly to the other, and
the emotional charges that result often undermine your basic
capacity for caring. You will be coached to become aware of
your own emotional charges as they arise in live conversations
with your parter, and activate a simple process of self-care
so that you are not overwhelmed. This enables you to interrupt
patterns that often keep you and your partner at odds with
each other, and creates an opening for understanding.
If we focus on establishing the "facts" and assigning
blame, we feed our habit of competition and undermine our own
need for trust, safety, and intimacy. If we learn instead to
recognize our actual feelings and needs, while also
recognizing the deeper feelings and needs of our partner, we
enable cooperation and invite true companionship.
held in confidence, and while you will be encouraged to be
honest, open, and vulnerable, you will not be pressured to do
so. Unlike other forms of therapy, Miles does not get involved
in the content of your discussions, only the process. The aim
is to teach you how to recognize your own emotional charge and
take responsibility for getting your needs met while giving
your partner feedback in a way that is more likely to be
This is a
skills-based approach which intends to equip you and your
parter to speak and listen to each other first to understand,
and then to resolve differences between you. The premise of
this work is that interactions in your primary relationship
will consistently trigger old wounds which often surface as
hurt, anger, or resentment aimed at your partner. The skills
taught here enable you to process these reactions more
honestly and effectively. Instead of simply blaming your
partner and insisting that they change, you will learn how to
focus on yourself first, and then express your emotions and
needs in a clearer way.
We encourage you to take some time before or
after your session to be together in the peaceful sanctuary of
our retreat center. This can be helpful to integrate the work
you do in these sessions. You are welcome to walk in the woods
or fields, swim in the ponds, meditate in one of our
meditation huts, or take in the expansive view of the Green
Mountains from our hill top.
The Work of Being a Couple
Many of us find intimate relationships very challenging.
We want connection and
independence, and are not willing to sacrifice ourselves for
the sake of harmony. It no longer works to fit our
relationship into a standard formula such as traditional
marriage. And so, we find ourselves in unexplored territory,
with no map or compass to give us direction. When conflicts
arise, we often don’t know how to approach the situation so
that our emotions and needs, and those of our partner, are
addressed with care.
There is no longer a simple model to follow for a happy
marriage, and many of our habitual ways of relating to a
partner seem to result in increased conflict, and more
distance between us. The social structures that minimized
tension by assigning specific roles, and designating one
person as the decision maker, do not work for many of us. We
are entering a new paradigm of partnering that requires us to
question our most basic assumptions, and find a new approach
The traditional format for marriage required that we
sacrifice our individual feelings and needs for an outward
appearance of unity. This formula kept marriages together at
the cost of individual growth and creativity, and is no longer
a priority for many of us. We want to be ourselves, and be
connected with another person. We are looking for a
partnership of two equals with a deeper love that allows us to
flourish as individuals. And so, necessarily we are going to
be faced with conflicts that were largely ignored or denied,
just a generation ago. We don’t yet know how to be intimately
connected to another, and ourselves, at the same time.
The nature of a primary relationship is to expose parts of
ourselves we have kept hidden, even from our own awareness.
When these shadows surface unexpectedly they can be very
difficult to respond to, in ourselves, or in our partner. A
predictable aspect of this process is that our hidden wounds
often correspond to our partner’s wounds in a way that
automatically hooks each other, and can result in extreme
reactions. These reactions can escalate and create an immense
downward spiral of attack and defense that can destroy the
trust and love at the foundation of the relationship.
In the old paradigm of marriage, this kind of
conflict is something to be avoided at all cost. We learned
to deal with it through submission or withdrawal, or blaming
our partner, and trying to force them to change. In the new
way of relationship, conflict is approached with care and
recognized as a means to further personal growth and deeper
intimacy in the relationship. And a constructive resolution of
conflict is one where both people are able to meet their needs
and have their emotions recognized.
To maintain a primary intimate relationship today requires a
new vision. Instead of a new model to try to fit ourselves
into, this new way may involve learning simple tools of
constructive communication with which we can address conflicts
in a way that increases intimacy and strengthens our
integrity. It may also include support from someone who can
witness the uncomfortable places in your relationship without
judgment, and offer a safe and supportive environment for you
to bring these into the open and address them directly.
My work with couples is based on the simple idea that
bringing these hidden wounds into awareness, and becoming
familiar with the corresponding negative patterns between
partners, defuses their potential for destruction. Once we
can name a wound as individuals, or a pattern between us as a
couple, it no longer can control us as it has in the past. By
bringing these hidden forces out into the open, we can deal
with them directly, and once we become aware of their negative
effects, we can more easily choose to let go of them.
I am trained in mediation and conflict resolution and teach
communication skills in various formats. I worked for 10
years as a divorce and family mediator and learned first hand
some of the dynamics that force couples apart. I also have a
background in meditation and spiritual exploration and have
worked with couples and individuals trying to bring more
awareness into their lives. I am committed to using my
experience and skills to support couples in staying together,
and strengthening relationships through consciously addressing
our different needs, values, and emotions.
These sessions usually begin by focusing on a current issue
in your relationship, from one partner's perspective. With
direct coaching the person expressing the concern is
encouraged to explore their basic feelings and needs, while
the other partner is taught how to listen from a neutral place
and offer support. In the process of exploring specific
conflicts, both of you learn how to express your emotions and
needs in a way that offers the best opportunity for
resolution. You each also learn how to listen to your partner
supportively, without reacting or debating.