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The Short Version: Throughout her career as a relationship therapist, Dr. Carolina Castaños has worked with hundreds of couples on the verge of breaking up or divorcing. She has seen them struggle to connect and communicate as they sat with their arms crossed on opposite ends of the couch. But she has also seen them rebuild their bond, resolve their arguments, and reach for one another by the end of the session. Dr. Carolina is skilled at guiding couples to recognize the love beneath the pain and learn how to deal with disagreements in healthy and constructive ways. Her private therapy practice in Austin, Texas is open to anyone seeking a balanced emotional state. In addition to couples therapy, Dr. Carolina offers a motivational 14-week online program called MovingOn to support singles as they heal their broken hearts. Whatever emotional issues you face, Dr. Carolina can give you the knowledge and insight you need to move forward.
Couples inevitably encounter conflict in their relationships, and these fights can quickly escalate if they don’t know how to properly communicate their wants and needs. Sometimes one person lashes out while the other person withdraws and avoids the issue. Sometimes couples yell at one another until they come to an impasse, and sometimes they just let the disagreements fester in resentful silence.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Talking to a trained therapist can put committed couples on a path to healing and transformation. Dr. Carolina Castaños has made it her life’s mission to work with couples to resolve points of conflict and strengthen their relationships. She is trained in psychoanalysis, so she knows how to get to the heart of an emotional problem.
Dr. Carolina has a degree in clinical psychology and psychoanalysis as well as a doctorate in marriage and family therapy. Working with couples is her passion in life, and she is proud to offer herself as a resource for individuals and couples in crisis.
Whether she’s helping couples reconnect or supporting individuals after a breakup, she provides a safe and nonjudgmental space to discuss personal issues and find a healthy resolution.
“I want to provide resources and information to all those people who can’t afford therapy or don’t want to go to therapy,” she said. “My calling is working with couples who have a hard time connecting with one another.”
Dr. Carolina told us every couple she sees has communication problems — either they voice their pain in loud and explosive ways or they bury it deep in passive aggression or avoidance. Some couples verbally abuse one another in heated arguments, while others say they never fought but now feel estranged. Oftentimes one person in the relationship wants to fight things out, while the other wants to run away from the issue.
In all these situations, the individuals in the relationships don’t feel heard and aren’t having their needs met, and that’s the underlying issue that Dr. Carolina addresses. In the first session, she listens to the couple hash out their arguments and explain their difficulties, and she looks for the deeper source of the conflict. An argument about being late, for instance, isn’t really about being late — it’s about one person’s fear that they don’t really matter to their partner.
Dr. Carolina pursues the deeper issues, including childhood experiences and attachment styles, in follow-up individual sessions. She gives her clients a safe place to voice their thoughts and work through problems. Then she brings the couples back together to discuss a way forward that’s grounded in an understanding of each other’s needs. Dr. Carolina said that it’s usually around the seventh session that her couples have a breakthrough and learn to listen with an open heart.
“When two individuals are able to put down their guard and be vulnerable with each other,” Carolina said, “something magical occurs.”
Relationships are sustained by communication and trust. It’s important for both individuals to feel heard, accepted, and appreciated by his or her significant other. Dr. Carolina leads couples to change the dynamics of their relationships by closely examining the emotions at the root of conflict.
“It’s about going in deeper and recognize what triggers us,” Dr. Carolina said. “Underneath the pain and anger, there’s a longing for love and a need to feel important to our partners. We need to recognize that longing and learn how to express our needs.”
In 2018, Dr. Carolina launched MovingOn, a 14-week program that teaches participants how to recover from a painful breakup and live their best lives. Each week focuses on a different topic, but the overall theme is self-exploration and empowerment. The program offers individuals the opportunity to cultivate forgiveness and move forward without regret or resentment.
Anyone who wants to heal their hearts can start by taking part in this online journey. During the intervention program, participants tackle difficult subjects one week at a time by watching interactive videos and engaging in experiential exercises. Dr. Carolina offers pre and post assessments to allow clients to measure their progress and see how far they’ve come.
MovingOn provides exercises to teach singles how to regulate their emotions and soothe themselves. The lessons focus on ways to recognize negative thought patterns and move past grief using psychologically sound principles. The program welcomes individuals into an empathetic online community where they can share their stories with people who understand what they’re going through. According to Dr. Carolina, the community aspect is equally as important as the lessons because going online and talking about their experiences can be therapeutic for participants.
“Just knowing they’re not in this alone makes a huge difference,” Dr. Carolina said. “MovingOn is a way to reach out to more people and give them resources as they’re going through one of the toughest experiences in their lives, which is dealing with loss.”
Dr. Carolina said her sessions offer an engaging and educational experience for clients. “We learn through experience, and we change through experience,” she said. “The idea is that we will have this experience, and, at the end, you’re not the same. You feel safer with your partner.”
It can be an intense emotional experience, but Dr. Carolina is there to guide couples through the heartache and into a deeper understanding of one another. Her work with couples is critical, she said, because it impacts the entire family.
“The idea is that we will have this experience, and, at the end, you’re not the same.” — Dr. Carolina Castaños
She sees her couples therapy as having a ripple effect — once a couple heals themselves, they can pass on those lessons to their children and be a role model for healthy, loving relationships. As parents, the couple can use what they learned in therapy to openly express love and compassionately deal with conflict so that the family benefits for generations to come.
“Being able to be in a good mental state will change your relationship with you kids,” Dr. Carolina said. “In doing something for yourself now, you can stop the negative cycle for you and your kids.”
Fighting with a significant other can undermine the integrity of the relationship and make both individuals feel threatened, afraid, and alone. But they’re not alone. They can seek help from a professional therapist, like Dr. Carolina, and heal their broken hearts through compassion and understanding.
Dr. Carolina has guided many married couples on the brink of divorce, and she has worked with individuals struggling to move forward from trauma. Her deep relationship knowledge allows her to provide transformative insights to singles and couples facing different trials. In her private therapy practice, Dr. Carolina has witnessed countless inspirational moments between couples who learned to express their love for one another and overcome the barriers between them.
“It’s very touching, and it’s very moving. It keeps me going,” she said. “I adore what I do. I love to be part of their transformation and change.”