When our relationships are thriving and things are flowing with the people in our lives–it seems that many of our difficulties become smaller. But what happens if things are going wrong in our closest relationships? In your close relationships do you feel: Lonely, trapped, stressed, uncertain, frustrated, not heard, scared, or obligated? If you said “yes” to any of the following examples, not only are you fighting with difficulties in your relationships, but suffering in your relationship may make dealing with life’s difficulties, even more dreadful.
As a relationship-focused therapist, I can help you gain the confidence and skills to thrive in your relationships. If you are ready for a change in your relationship or are going through a transition in how you relate to those around you, then therapy may be for you. Furthermore, if you are ready to bring your relationship into the therapy office, I can assist you in the process of establishing a new baseline for boundaries, communication, and relationship satisfaction through couples counseling or family therapy.
Our relationships shape our beliefs, behaviors, and overall experience in the world. Often I find that there are so many small misunderstandings and misinterpretations being built up over time between individuals that they begin to feel that they don’t know each other anymore; they can’t have the conversations to create the change they want. My main area of specialty is relational therapy with couples and families. Relational therapy is about creating a safe space to have productive conversations about patterns in our relationships. Utilizing Emotionally Focused Therapy, we will explore the ways we communicate thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in relationships so that we can develop a shared understanding of the problem. When we all have the same understanding of a problem, it makes tackling that problem seem much more manageable. Then together we create strategies that are meaningful to your relationship.
Some examples of clientele that I have helped successfully attain their desired state of being and goals:
- Individuals who are struggling with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Many people have difficulties asking for help and communicating needs. Others had perfectionistic attitudes which held them back. Still others are coping with loneliness through social media, shopping, hook-ups, and substance use. Life can be very difficult and through therapy, you can learn ways to actually feel like yourself and develop the capacity for having less stress.
- Couples struggling with high levels of conflict and/or withdrawal from intimate communication, infidelity, and separation. I have helped couples break negative cycles, such as angry criticism, demands, and destructive coping skills. It may seem impossible when you are experiencing difficulties in a relationship, but many couples can gain the trust and communication that they seek, be able to resolve long-standing conflict, and build a sense of cohesiveness, all while helping meet each other’s needs.
- Families that suffer from passive aggressive behaviors, avoidance, estrangement, and long-term resentment and anger. Families that have been dealing with overuse of social media, video games, and watching television. Other family members that have been having difficulties with substance use, compulsive shopping, constant watching of the news and other distractions. Some families have had difficulty setting boundaries in a healthy way. Through family therapy, you can work to directly address these and many other issues in a safe place and in a civil manner.
- Children who have been acting out at home or at school, not following rules, dealing with emotional eruptions or teens experimenting with substances/risky behaviors. Many children have difficulty communicating or asking for help–working with a therapist can help them learn to communicate with their parents, siblings, and caregivers.
Many mental health issues that are labeled with a myriad of diagnoses are actually rooted in a trauma response in the brain and body. I want to ensure that you are accepted in a non judgemental way that honors your unique personhood. Trauma is often conceptualized as one single event or a continuous experience that causes intense fear, distress, or shame. However, not all people who experience these kinds of events develop trauma symptoms, and many people who do experience trauma symptoms cannot identify a single event such as this. Another way to understand trauma symptoms is that they occur when an individual’s context overwhelms their nervous system’s ability to cope. This forces the nervous system to utilize strategies to try to bring the body back into balance. These strategies are usually useful or adaptive in the moment, but unhealthy and disruptive in the long run. The coping patterns can be related to addiction, disordered eating, the way we emotionally engage in relationships, or the chronic up-regulation (anxiety) or down-regulation (depression) of our nervous system. All are attempts to process the energy stored in the nervous system in response to stressors.
Together we will utilize elements of mindfulness, somatic expression, Family Systems Theory, and Narrative therapy to develop new strategies to express emotion, regulate the nervous system, and communicate effectively with ourselves and with the people in our lives.
Justyne 's Bio
Justyne Ortquist, LLPC, is a therapist in Grand Rapids, MI that offers trauma-informed talk therapy to individuals, couples, and families dealing with trauma, mental health, emotional, and substance use issues. Justyne identifies as a white cisgender female. Justyne has experience helping individuals, couples, and families to overcome trauma, addiction, eating disorders and body image, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, attachment, and communication issues. She has experience working with the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities and uses intersectionality to understand the intersection of each person’s cultural identities. Her approach to therapy is strengths-based, nonjudgmental, and utilizes the physiological underpinnings of mental health issues, trauma, and stress on the brain and body to heal in the context of the relationships that are most important to the client.