Friends and peers in Los Angeles know me as a couples therapist working with heterosexual as well as LGBTQI+ couples and gay men. Often my single friends half-jokingly say – “What about us, Harel? How about some words of advice for the singles here?” The main advice for all of the singles is simple: Start with Yourself. Creating a beautiful relationship takes quite a bit of personal work. Instead of waiting for the partner of your dreams to sweep you off your feet, let’s use this time productively to get relationship-fit so when he or she knocks on your door, you are ready!
Being “relationship-fit” might sound unusual. We think of getting fit for a competition or a marathon, but not for a relationship. Nevertheless, a great mastery is required to create a nurturing, loving, harmonious union. This mastery is not limited to our interpersonal skills, our ability to be sensitive to the needs of others, our thoughtfulness, or our ability to connect and be intimate. A lot of the relationship mastery is rooted in the mastery we have over our own self. This mastery of our own experience starts with clearing our mind from the baggage of the past.
So let me ask you a simple question. If your prince (or princess) charming enters the room this very moment and beelines toward you to ask you out – are you ready? Are you prepared to create the amazing relationship that you desire with this person? Or – are there still aspects of your past that you catch yourself dragging into you present? Are there negative relationship patterns that you notice repeat themselves in your life? If you notice things that may stand on your way to creating the relationship of your dreams, it is a sign of baggage. No worries – we all have it. The real question is not whether you have it, but whether you re ready to let it go.
This “baggage” has two main components: the emotional component of the unresolved negative emotions and the mental component of our limiting beliefs. Getting relationship-fit requires saying goodbye to this old stuff and creating a grounded and balanced state of mind supportive of the harmony we desire in our love relationship.
In case you were wondering, these relationship principles are universal, and are not specific to straight or gay same sex couples. However, some things are unique to the LGBT community. After a decade of psychotherapy experience doing couples therapy and marriage counseling I have noticed a great deal of shame-based trauma gay men endure. We carry the burden of internalized homophobia and shame, which play out and create destructive outcomes within our relationship. Our personal histories are studded with experiences of marginalization, rejection, and abuse. Often people closest to us inflict the deepest wounds. It means that for gay men there might be more healing to do in order to get relationship-fit. Greater challenge means greater reward. Let’s get to it.
How can Relationship Help assist me in creating the relationship I want?
To answer this question, let’s talk about some important and overlooked principles of how relationships, including same-sex relationships, come about. We all know that life happens in cycles and patterns. Our choice of partners and the unfolding of our relationships occur, in part, according to our personal patterns. These patterns are dictated by the relationships we had with our parents/caregivers in our formative years.
The bonds we had with our caregivers, also known as our primary attachment, determine the quality of bonds we create with our intimate partners in adulthood. The core themes of the relationships we had with our parents reemerge in our intimate bond. Themes of self-worth, adequacy, acceptance, recognition, validation, significance and personal power are common examples of themes replayed in our intimate relationships in search of resolution of our childhood wounds.
Ironically, for us to be able to replicate the core themes of our primary attachment, we need a willing partner to play our game. For example, if our unconscious mind re-enacts the trauma of abandonment, we have to find a partner who will be able to make us feel abandoned in some way to replay our childhood drama. On our search of a mate we will ultimately be drawn to one whose emotional baggage matches our own, and who will be a willing participant in our attachment game.
Now, there is one point I want to underline: None of these dynamics is conscious or intentional. We have no awareness of this process unfolding. The attraction and falling in love remain an unconscious process. Regardless of whether we understand the underlying principles or not, we are never able to control it. It is not until after the unfolding of our relationship that we understand the elements that drew us together.
To summarize, all of our significant relationships occur with the mates who are able to trigger our unresolved baggage, providing us with an opportunity to address and resolve our ‘stuff.’ This also means that the less baggage we have, the more harmonious our relationships will be. Relationship counseling is geared to help you free yourself from your past. In our work together I will guide you through a powerful process of releasing unresolved negative emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt, shame and hurt. We will also identify and change limiting beliefs you hold about yourself, others, relationships and the world.
This transformational process has a supercharging effect on one’s life. New people, experiences and opportunities will present themselves and your life will gently shift to reflect your heart’s desires. I am guessing this must sound fantastic and you are curious about how exactly the Relationship Help process works. Here is a brief synopsis.
What to expect in therapy with Dr. Harel?
In my Los Angeles clinic I have developed a unique 3 step A-R-C psychotherapy system to create rapid and profound transformation within your life experience. This 3-step A-R-C therapy approach is available both, in-person, as well as in a form of online therapy. For more information about online therapy, please visit the Online Therapy tab.
Awareness – During the first Power-Step we will meet together to discuss what brings you in, what is your current experience in your relationships and what is it that you would like instead. We will talk about your history and set course for our work together.
Release – The second Power-Step in the counseling process is geared toward addressing and resolving the baggage of the past. Here we will use advanced mind-technology of Neuro-Linguistic-Programming (NLP) and elements of light hypnotherapy to create rapid and profound shift in your experience. Both NLP and hypnotherapy are tools to release the old baggage of unresolved negative emotions and limiting beliefs, and clear the path toward your desires and dreams.
Co-Creation – The third Power-Step is designed to create a vision of your ideal relationship and set you on the path of achieving your heart’s desire. Here we will provide new tools and resources to solidify your gains and establish life trajectory toward the relationship you want.
I see the role of a psychotherapist to be similar to that of a guide. When you hire a guide to navigate an unfamiliar terrain, you expect the guide to take you to your destination in the shortest and safest route, while you agree to follow the guide and to do the walking. I can help you find your path and support you in achieving your heart desires, under one condition – you will have to do the walking
Is psychotherapy for me?
My LA clinic proudly serves the diverse and multifaceted communities of Los Angeles, and California at large. Sometimes I am asked whether as a therapist I can guarantee results. This is an important question to answer. Our time, energy and money are important resources and we want to allocate them wisely. When we talk about guarantee, there are two key elements to consider – you and me. As a therapist I can absolutely guarantee that my clients receive absolutely all of my knowledge, expertise, experience, attention and support. I can also guarantee that if my total commitment to your success is met with the same commitment from you, our work will have a transformative impact on your life.
My 100% success guarantee comes with 3 necessary attitudes on the part of my clients:
1. Ownership of full responsibility for our life. Knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, we are 100% responsible and our life, including our relationship, is our making.
2. Willingness to let go of the old baggage, including resentments, anger, grief, old beliefs etc.
3. Full commitment to making all changes necessary to achieve our goals.
This single-minded commitment to your success and wellbeing is the key component of our work. From my clinical experience at my Los-Angeles psychotherapy clinic I can attest that 100% of my clients who showed up with 100% commitment to themselves, achieved remarkable life-changing results during our work together.
Perhaps, despite the pain you are experiencing in your relationship, you are struggling to fully commit to rebuilding your relationship and engage in couples counseling. If this is the case, you are not alone. Sometimes we need a little nudge to help us bring our intent and motivation into a single-minded laser-sharp focus. Consider how a trusting loving intimate connection with your partner could change your life? What it would be like to wake up in the morning to a warm loving embrace? How would it feel to come home to a warm welcome by your spouse? What would time together without arguments be like? How rekindled intimacy would contribute to your wellbeing, career and health? If these pictures create curiosity or even excitement within you, pick up the phone and give me a call. Transformation, empowerment and growth are just a phone call away.