Author : Kathleen Mates-Youngman
I was born in Montreal, Canada in 1960 and have always been fascinated by human nature and more specifically romantic relationships. As a teenager in the 1970’s I observed a steady cultural shift from the “Ozzie and Harriett” 50’s, to the onset of feminist views in the 60’s, and the gradual acceptance of divorce as an option in the 70’s. I observed some couples clinging to the belief that marriage must be “until death do us part,” others struggling with lonely, unhappy marriages, and a general societal angst and tension due to differing views of what it “should” mean to be a man, woman, mother, father, husband and wife.
At the age of 16 my parents were one of the earliest couples to decide to separate and then later divorce. I experienced many reactions from people around me, some supportive, some curious, and some seemingly upset and frightened at the thought that divorce was becoming a viable option. This experience had a profound effect on me as I wondered what differed between the relationships of happy, resilient couples and those that did not survive.
I moved through the restructuring of our family and went on to college to study Fashion Design and Fine Arts. I then moved to California with my future husband and worked as a Fashion Designer, Impressionist Landscape Painter and Art Teacher over the next 14 years. During that time we lived together three years, married, and then became parents of three wonderful children.
Over those years I remained very curious about relationship dynamics. Why were we able to enjoy our marriage and navigate through the challenging times and yet my parents and many other couples were unable to? This nagging curiosity led me back to University to study Psychology and then on to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Couples Therapy.
As a couples therapist I have spent thousands of hours working with couples that were distressed, discouraged and most importantly disconnected. We explore their personal history of the history of the relationship and begin to piece together the reasons that the emotional and physical intimacy began to decline and help them to rebuild an empathic, safe, fulfilling and connected relationship.
I feel so blessed to have had my lifelong fascination with relationships come full circle, and be able to offer my experience and expertise to couples in distress and guide them back to a state of healthy, intimate connection!