Jan Bergstrom, LMHC


I offer intensive sessions for couples looking to improve or save their relationship. My sessions meet for 90 minutes every two to three weeks apart. I also offer one (1) or two (2) full day intensive sessions for couples. A typical intensive session would be 10:00am until 5:00pm with an hour-long lunch break. My private practice hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30am until 7:00pm by appointment. I also offer video web conferencing sessions using Skype. 

When a couple initially comes to see me, I have already asked them each to fill out my intake form. I study their intake sheets and am prepared with many questions. I ask each partner how they see their relationship and to give me specific examples of the presenting problem. I spend about 35 minutes with each one on how they see the relationship with the other partner present. 

I then formulate their “dance” or the pattern in which they communicate. Some couples experience this pattern as a vicious cycle that keeps them stuck in relationship, which results in building walls, distance, loneliness and frustration. 

In my work with couples, they get a clearer understanding of the old learned behaviors from their family of origin and how these patterns keep them stuck. Then, I teach ways to find new behaviors that create more satisfaction and intimacy in their relationship. Ultimately through this practice, couples make choices to move from habitual behaviors (relational patterns from past) to new learned and healthy functional behaviors. The relationship grows to become more about mutual sharing and intimacy and away from a vicious alienating cycle.

There are times when this “top down” approach to couples work is not enough. The couple keeps sliding back to the old patterns of behaving. I may then recommend that some “bottom up” work needs to happen. As I mentioned on the treatment page for individuals, this is more experiential and investigates the beginnings of family of origin trauma. I usually recommend that each individual of the couple do an “intensive” workshop to help create awareness and growth through an experiential process of treatment. This workshop is “Healing Our Core Issues”. I conduct separate workshops for men and for women in my private practice on a regular basis. Please see my Workshops page for further information. If these historical patterns or woundings are not addressed, they keep persistently erupting in a couple’s communication.

Using these methodologies with couples create positive changes within 4-6 months. Couples start experiencing more connection in the relationship through the practice of using healthy boundaries and learning new skills. These therapies are unique and extraordinarily effective. After a couple of months, much of the couples work revolves around using their speaking and listening boundaries. This method of communication takes practice so that there is only one speaker and one listener at any one time. Through effective use of internal boundaries, the communication gets clearer, effective and authentic which creates truth and intimacy in their relationship. 

I occasionally offer Couples Boundary workshops in my private practice. Couples learn effective ground rules to achieve and sustain true intimacy, attain self-esteem and emotional stability, understand their strengths and limitations and acquire concrete tools for building healthy relationships. Please inquire about future dates. 

There is homework given between sessions that range from reading books, listening to CD's, journaling, medical consultations, attending AA, Alanon or SLA meetings, or attending a family of origin workshop that furthers growth and healing. 

"Your ability to be relational lies in your ability to
stay relational in the face of someone else’s disconnection."
Pia Mellody
Photo Courtesy of MikeBaird, Flickr/Artisteer
My life began to turn around when
my wife and I started to
get help from Jan.
We had a troubled marriage for many years, we had been separated for four years,and we were
close to divorce. 

 Jan gave me the tools to learn to relate to myself and my wife without blame or shame. She taught me how to be emotionally intimate with my wife for the first time. 

 She was the first therapist in
20 years to diagnose my addiction.
I became active in a twelve step program, which is 
critical to my recovery.
Jan’s style and training actively
complements my twelve step work.
I’ve learned from experience that not all therapists are well trained to treat addiction. I’m happier with myself, and my wife, and we are closer than we’ve every been.
My life keeps getting better.
I can’t recommend Jan enough."

Mike, Winchester, MA

"My experience in couples work with Jan has been invaluable. Initially, Jan had my spouse and
I look closely at familial behaviors through our 
Families of Origin
that were creating 
in our marriage.
That information has served as a
basis from which to grow.
Jan has been able to facilitate the hard conversations and has suggested specific tasks for each of us to do in order to strengthen our relationship and ability to communicate in a manner that
works for both of us.
We have learned to develop healthy boundaries through 
Jan's excellent verbal and visual reminders about creating boundaries and are thus able to better support each other with what we need as individuals.
Jan is engaged throughout each
session and it is clear
she wants her patients to both
heal and grow."

Kristine, Brookline, MA
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