“Being able to share vulnerably, then being truly seen and heard by your loved one is the essence of a healthy relationship.” ~Amy Stambuk, LCSW

Amy Stambuk, Denver Couples Counselor

Hi, I’m Amy Stambuk, LCSW

Couples  |  Families  |  Individuals  |  Kids  |  Teens

Who do I work with?

Couples – Getting to the heart of the matter

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy asks us to get highly conscious of negative patterns we get stuck in and equips us with the tools we need for getting our emotional needs met.

Easy right? Nope.

So often people come to therapy because they are so in pain with the people they love the most. You might even call this a “love emergency.”

Maybe you are in a newer relationship and confused about how to handle conflict. Perhaps you are in the thick of raising kids and feeling lost. Or you may have been “in it” for some time and are tired of replaying the same fight.

Perhaps it’s a recent betrayal that brings you to counseling and you are terrified of staying or leaving. Or maybe you and your partner are approaching your twilight years and just aren’t sure how to do this chapter.

No matter where you are at in your relationship journey, building a connected and committed relationship is hard work. It’s also very possible. 

What I enjoy most about working with couples are those “aha” moments when the light turns on. Once a couple understands that their frustration is only the top layer, they can begin to more fully express their feelings.

Individuals

In addition to working with couples, I also love working individually with adults in therapy. Knowing and liking oneself is an essential part of being in relationship with others.

Sometimes negative family of origin or trauma experiences dramatically impacts our view of self.  Rebuilding after leaving a relationship can also be an unsettling time. I also enjoy supporting older adults with navigating the challenges they face with feeling lonely or disconnected.

It may be helpful to know that I have training in a trauma treatment tool called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) and often integrate this into my work with adults and children.

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Families

Family therapy is really about having the conversations that need to be had. As a family therapist I often work with families all together or in different pairings.

Perhaps your family is responding to a recent life transition or a devastating loss. Maybe you want to nurture more connection and stop predictable power struggles.

Often when a parent calls for help with their child I start by getting to know the parents. This gives me a chance to get the lay of the land and then decide on the best structure for supporting change. Often family therapy is the best choice. 

It’s important to know that I am passionately committed to supporting parents. I love to help parents “find their voice.” Whether you are parenting alone or with a partner it’s critical for you to nurture your relationship with your child and feel good about who you are as a parent.

Co-parenting following a divorce is also tricky territory and requires extra care to evolve beyond blame and negativity.

Kids

I work with children from toddlers on up through the tween and teen years. People often ask me how I can work with kids and grown ups at the same time. The truth is that I love working with kids and can’t give it up!

From an attachment perspective, we absorb our first experience of relationship through our parent-child relationships. Later with significant relationships we often replicate these patterns for better or worse. When I work with young children I use play therapy so they can fully express themselves.

My approach to working with children and teens often involves family. Whether I am coaching parents to try out new ways of responding or having a parent join a therapy session with a child or teen, the ultimate goal is is about making deep, lasting changes that feel natural.

Some of the issues I work with kids on include: adoption and identity, anxiety, attachment issues, behavioral issues, body image/eating, depression, divorce, giftedness and performance,  parent-child conflict, sexual abuse/harassment, self-esteem, self-harm/suicidal thoughts and social problems. 

‘Tweens and Teens

With older kids and teens, I make sure I establish a connection before attempting change. It helps to gain currency—so, really understanding what they want to be different in their lives.

I also like to get curious about a teen’s thinking during difficult moments. This lays a platform for being able to shift to a more positive cognitive mindset. We also have fun, and they can count on me being active and engaged. 

My counseling style is…

Connecting

My first goal is to help you feel relaxed and able to be uniquely yourself. Whether you are five years old or seventy, it’s important that you feel listened to and truly understood.  

You will often hear me ask, “Am I getting that right?”. This is because I want to make sure I can see your dilemmas from your perspective, not mine.

You will also hear me ask what emotions you may be experiencing in the moment. This is because I believe that therapy should be corrective.

If you experience others as inattentive or uncaring, it’s critical that we create a relationship that feels different. A connecting relationship is one that feels real, reciprocal and respectful.

Creative

Though therapy is serious work I believe in the importance of play, of trying things on. Often parents are seeking “the” solution for a problem with their child or a couple is looking to fix their communication problems.

Sometimes if we push too hard for change we miss what is directly in front of us. One of the secrets of an attachment based approach involves increasing your sense of security in yourself and in your relationships.

Once we have established a secure alliance creativity can happen. Sometimes this means being bold, like prompting a distanced couple to turn and talk to one another or asking a teen to role play a solution to a problem they are experiencing with a friend.

A creative approach also means being able to “read the weather.” Some clients need support in holding powerful emotions while others need more permission and space to open up. Shifting relationships to a healthier dynamic often involves discovering more genuine and authentic aspects of self and other.

Challenging

Coming to therapy for the first time or returning after a pause is such an investment. I like to begin with the end in mind. What would making a change feel like? Often the answer is “scary.” Taking risks and trying on new ways of being in relationships can definitely be scary. It can also just feel awkward and unknown.

My training as a play therapist enhances my capacity to support you during difficult moments.

My training as a marriage and family therapist allows me to see your story as part of a complex tapestry. Sometimes what has been modeled for us during our developmental years or early relationships needs reworking.

This doesn’t mean we throw everything out. It means we look for the gold.

I like to be curious about exceptions, like catching the moment of sadness on your face before you raise your voice. In nudging people to move beyond their comfort zones I often share that challenging work requires practice and room for approximation.

This means you get to keep trying.

Who am I?

I grew up in a small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I was a sensitive, but strong-willed middle child born into a boisterous family…perfect therapist material!

I started my college path studying English Literature at The University of Chicago and then fell in love with working with children at a South Side enrichment program. After twenty years of being a therapist in diverse settings, I still consider my career an honor and a privilege.

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and am currently completing my Certification as an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist. My undergraduate degree in Psychology is from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and my Master’s Degree is from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.

I also completed an intensive Relationship and Family Therapy program with a Menninger training group. My specialization is working with couples, children and teens. I also love working with adults on a range of issues related to relationship, family of origin as well as trauma. 

I have been married for over fifteen years. We have twin daughters who are approaching their ‘tween years. I married in my early thirties after experiencing the fun and challenge of being single. I think people can find relationship in all kinds of ways, married or not.

I am grateful to have worked over the years with many people different from myself. I like to think that I am aware of my biases but also acknowledge my blind spots. I think it’s so important for people to come to therapy and truly be able to share who they are; this includes culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, economic background, values, and on and on.

Working with a couple is great fun, of course, because each person brings such an interesting mix to the table.

Some of my favorite things are…

  • Talking and laughing with my family around the dinner table
  • Listening to podcasts while I fold laundry
  • Being a full-on engaged parent to my tween-age twin daughters
  • Reading novels and taking naps
  • Doing art on my own or with friends
  • Going on hikes and learning to ski greens in beautiful Colorado

What are my office hours?

Counseling appointments are currently available Monday to Friday, including morning, afternoon and evening options. 

How can you schedule an appointment with me? 

Simple! You can call our main number, 303-513-8975, extension 1. Our helpful Client Services Manager Joanne will gather the information we need and get you set up for your first appointment. You can also schedule online with me below. 

Where is our office?

Thrive Couple and Family Services is located in Greenwood Village, in the heart of the DTC just off I-25 and Belleview. Our office is easily accessible from Denver, Englewood, Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Parker, Highlands Ranch and Castle Rock.  

Our address:  7000 East Belleview Avenue, Suite 350, Greenwood Village, CO 80111