Dr. Erica Goodstone Gives Couples Strategies to Foster Communication and Focus on Their Needs

Women's Dating

Dr. Erica Goodstone Gives Couples Strategies to Foster Communication and Focus on Their Needs

Amber Brooks Amber Brooks
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The Short Version:  Dr. Erica Goodstone describes the mission of her coaching practice as healing through love. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Board-Certified Sex Therapist, and a Touch and Somatic Awareness Therapist, Dr. Erica wears many hats. She teaches singles and couples how to communicate effectively and find healthy love through mentoring, courses, summits, and other tools. Dr. Erica understands that older adults seeking love have different needs than those of young people looking to commit for the first time, but she wants to help clients of all ages center on love as the most powerful healing tool.

Dr. Erica Goodstone knows that dating can be difficult at any stage in life if the partners involved don’t know what they want. But her clients haven’t always dealt with the setbacks or trauma in their lives that make dating — and self-discovery — difficult.

“I’ll be talking to someone in their 60s, and they need to talk about their childhood,” Dr. Erica said. “With men, if they were good-looking enough, and had enough of a career, they used to be able to get divorced if there was a problem in their relationship and find a new woman. But at an older age, they may be facing issues they never faced when they were younger. It can be confusing and difficult.”

Photo of Dr. Erica Goodstone

Dr. Erica Goodstone helps clients understand their pasts to improve relationships in the future.

The challenging aspects of her clients’ backgrounds are where Dr. Erica focuses her attention. She teaches them strategies to discover what they want out of love and dating.

“It’s important to know what you’re looking for in your life,” she said. “You’re attracted to someone, he’s adorable, or she’s beautiful, and you’re not looking at what you want in your life. There’s so much to be aware of before you let your heart take over and fall for another person.”

Dr. Erica had her own trauma to consider before she could form a healthy relationship. “My mother used to say to me ‘a smart woman knows how to handle her man,’” she said. “But she never taught me how to be a smart woman. I always felt like I had to handle someone without having any idea how to do it.”

Confused by her childhood and her difficulty in forming relationships, Dr. Erica explored this part of life while pursuing her doctorate in human sexuality, marriage, and family living.

“My dissertation was on mother-infant bonding. What I learned was when the bonding is not good enough, the child starts to develop certain anxieties: separation anxiety, anxiety about nurturing, and intense ambivalence,” Dr. Erica said. “I discovered I had all three. That sent me on a path of studying love and relationships. I learned that relationships are not about handling someone, but about being yourself and communicating.”

Armed with these hard-won lessons, Dr. Erica decided to use her counseling skills to help others use communication and self-awareness to center their relationships. And from there, she grew into Dr. Erica Goodstone: Relationship Healer.

Helping People Remember That Relationships are Everything

Dr. Erica prefers to call her style of counseling “mentoring” — not coaching — because she doesn’t believe in offering holistic, one-size-fits-all advice.

“I’ve been around coaches that offer no-nonsense, black or white answers. I find that generally doesn’t work,” she said. “To create love and intimacy together, it takes a lot more nuance. I would describe my style as gentle pushing, gentle guidance. I might give a suggestion, but I don’t like to give advice. If it’s not coming from the heart, it’s not going to come out right.”

Dr. Erica also aims to help clients see relationships in a new light and from different perspectives. Specifically, she believes that healthy relationship practices borrow elements from many disciplines.

“I think of everything as relationships, and I relate a lot of different aspects to each other,” Dr. Erica said. “I’ll talk about the brain and love. What happens in the brain that helps you love? I’ve studied marketing. The same principles that work in marketing work in dating. You have to look the best. You have to sound the best. You have to appeal to people.”

With such a wide range of expertise, Dr. Erica can offer clients personalized sessions based on her experience in multiple fields.

“I help people see how their particular concern is related to the bigger picture and what’s going on in society, now and in the past,” she said.

Knowing What You Want Out of Life and Love at Every Age

Relationship expectations and goals differ based on clients’ life stages. But the bottom line is to pinpoint what you want before you get into any new relationship. Otherwise, Dr. Erica said, you may end up settling or dating the wrong person.

“There are different concerns in each age group. If you’re dating in your 20s, it’s new,” Dr. Erica said. “But if you’re dating in your 60s, you may have had three marriages and some grown children — you have a lot of history. The issues can be confusing. The earlier you can work out your emotions, the better.”

Photo of Dr. Erica Goodstone using somatic psychotherapy

Dr. Erica uses somatic psychotherapy, or healing through touch, with some of her clients.

Depending on the client, Dr. Erica has different types of therapy to encourage them to ditch their emotional baggage. She offers both online and in-person counseling, depending on the client’s preference and schedule. Some prefer to share their thoughts verbally, while she helps others using somatic psychotherapy, which Dr. Erica calls “healing through touch.”

The practice aims to heal trauma by building intimacy with a loved one. Dr. Erica explains how somatic psychotherapy works on her website.

“Say someone is angry at their partner,” she said. “They lie on the table. I’m helping them relax, breathe more deeply, and recognize where they have tension in their body. Then they get down into a deeper truth. They reveal something deep and private that they haven’t revealed before. They hear each other because they’re in that space of gentle touching. I teach about the power of touch.”

Spreading Best Practices for Love & Communication

Though Dr. Erica has been developing her practice for years, she wants to bring her message to a broader audience. She has several projects in the works to help her reach that goal.

“My goal has been to reach more people — we need love now more than ever,” she said. “It’s not just love, but it’s also understanding. We are all vulnerable, and when you come to a broader understanding, it gives you peace. That’s why I’m planning on doing more webinars this year. They’re going to be 30 to 45 minutes each and focus on a particular topic.”

“Martin Luther King talked about love. Einstein talked about love. People who have near-death experiences talk about love. Love is so needed to overcome the trauma. Love is the most healing thing there is.” — Dr. Erica Goodstone, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board-Certified Sex Therapist

Dr. Erica is also developing a project called Love Lessons.

“Love Lessons is a seminar that covers a lot of different aspects of love,” Dr. Erica said. “Buddhism, the Bible, the brain, hormones, virtual love, self-love, body love, intimacy. It’s going to be six weeks, and I’m including coaching and mentoring in the middle of the course. If you understand love, what it takes, what improves love, what interferes with love, you have a toolbox to handle relationships.”

Even though she plans on expanding her offerings, Dr. Erica remains committed to the foundation of her practice: love is the most effective way to heal pain. And that statement has been proven time and again.

“Martin Luther King talked about love. Einstein talked about love. People who have near-death experiences talk about love. Love is so needed to overcome the trauma. Love is the most healing thing there is,” Dr. Erica said.