Inna Kuchmenko specializes in virtual couples retreats offered over Zoom or in-person couples retreats in Northern California.
My first introduction to working with neurodiversity was in the role of a child therapist using Mindfulness and nature’s healing potential to help children on the Spectrum learn how to regulate their emotions. Teaching young children to self-regulate taught me, first and foremost, that I needed to self-regulate first. In my work from a strength-based perspective, I learned about the richness of neurodiverse individuals and the incredible power my empathy had in unlocking their inner abilities and capacities for relating to themselves and others. How did I do this? I listened. I attuned. I felt with them. I refrained from teaching, coaching, or fixing.
When I work with neurodiverse couples, I model and invite couples to practice how to attune to each other. Attunement is not just listening. It is listening with heart. When we are emotionally available, responsive, and engaged with one another, deeper conversations can and do happen. When we make sense of our own and our partner’s actions and words in the framework of compassion and from a perspective of goodness, we begin to tap into the richness of difference and into the deep well of our human ability to relate.
At times I may act as a neuro-bio-psychosocial interpreter, helping a neuro-normative partner make sense and understand their neuro-diverse spouse. Other times, I coach a neurodiverse partner to express the depth and richness of their inner world in a way that their neuro-normative partner can receive. You may wonder why this has been challenging to do in your couple relationship. The answer is pace. The pace of our lives is much too fast and linear, driven by goals and time schedules.
In therapy, we slow down, we breathe together, and we create a pocket in time where everything – your thoughts, feelings and sensations can come to the surface. We take our time. I trust in the process of us showing up each week to celebrate how far you have come in your relationship, the foundation of your initial attraction to each other and your inner capacities to grow and change in relationship.
Making Sense of Neurodiversity:
I will share with you what I know about the neurobiology, physiology, and science of neurodiversity and neurotypicality and I will learn from you as a couple, your unique challenges, and your desired areas of improvement. I am a co-creator of your experience, a skilled companion on your couple journey. I am an expert in some areas of counseling and psychology, but I trust that you are the experts in your relationship. Let’s see what we can co-create together!
I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who received her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.
My therapeutic style is optimistic and positive, rooted in my life as a partner, daughter, friend, and mother. My presence stems from having experienced, survived, and healed from a tragic loss of a parent, immigration, two marriages, domestic violence, and divorce. I am a mother of a spirited 6-year-old who has taught him every day since birth about loving deeply, forgiving quickly, and letting go fully.
My personal experiences in motherhood and co-parenting under challenging life circumstances have given me the wisdom and ease with which I approach couples and family work. And my decision to become a couples therapist came from empathizing with my intergenerationally-wounded parents and grandparents who deeply loved one another yet struggled to speak each other’s love languages.
THE PROCESS OF COUPLES HEALING:
I see my role as helping couples become more relational through untangling from relational patterns which may have helped them survive in their families of origin and previous relationships but are no longer serving them in the context of their current couple. My hope for couples is to get to a place where they no longer need me and are thriving in relationship with each other.
This journey from surviving to thriving is at the heart of my vision for a fulfilling couple hood. I have worked with couples who experience relational conflict due to major life transitions, neurodiversity, blending a family, lack of intimacy, parenting and co-parenting differences, aging and illness, infidelity, loss of desire, substance use, cultural differences, and life/work imbalances. Together, we discover and unearth the resiliency within and learn to draw on that inner wisdom as we weather the storms with minimal damages to the relationship.
Other areas of focus (in addition to Neurodiversity):
Couples going through life transitions
Parenting and Co-parenting Coaching
Sex, sexuality, and desire
Pre-engagement and pre-marital
Family of Origin Work
Couples struggling with Trauma