Chicago's premier resource for relationship coaching, couples therapy and sex therapy. We believe in living and loving with vibrance.

The Thrill of It

I’m not a huge champion of New Year’s Resolutions. I never make them, because I know I never keep them. Trying to lose 5 pounds quickly turns into trying 5 new restaurants, and the money I save gets spent frivolously. I do appreciate, however, the intention of resolutions, and that the determination for self-improvement in the New Year serves as a means of restoring hope and purpose—a notion I find difficult to demean.

This year, I decided to set my intention to seek more thrills. At first, this seemed like a fairly large feat: to be THRILLED means to be electrified, awakened, overjoyed—all seemingly extraordinary emotions to access. And then I remembered that I actually have access to these moments every single day, I just don’t actively notice them. Take the newest Bachelor’s sexy Venezuelan accent, for one: it enthralls me. I cannot get enough. Finding a coffee shop that stocks almond milk completely enhances my day.  Being witness to a client’s insight humbles and inspires me. I just don’t often simmer in these moments of bliss for as long as I’d like.

This should be a no brainer, as I often coach my clients in awakening their senses, predominantly for sexual pleasure, but also for simple, everyday indulgences. It’s a practice in mindfulness, I’ll say, one that can (and should!) be ongoing for as long as you live.

I find myself wondering about my clients in this New Year, and what intentions they’d like to set for themselves or their partnerships in 2014. Perhaps it’s learning to communicate more effectively, or getting pregnant, or taking more romantic risks. Any and all intentions are noble, as they give meaning to our actions. Whatever your wish for the New Year, I hope it’s meaningful, enduring, and at least a touch indulgent.

So here’s to 2014: let there be thrills!

Amy Freier, LCPC

You’ve Planned the Perfect Wedding - Now What?


Essentials for Co-Creating a Vibrant Marriage

  •   Mingle with other fun couples while learning what it takes to build a solid foundation for your shared future

  •   Reaffirm your strengths as a couple while developing skills for navigating through challenges

  •   Learn various ways to keep your sexual relationship fresh and dynamic

  •   Create a collaborative attitude toward resolving differences effectively

    Register today! Make an investment in your relationship by securing a spot at this workshop before your summer social calendar fills up. You can always head out to dinner or to that festival after you feed your relationship!

    Need a bridal shower or wedding gift that has more impact than kitchen gadgets? Give your favorite couple the gift of a stronger marriage with a gift certificate for this workshop. We will send you the gift certificate by email or the good ole’ mailbox and the lucky couple can then choose the date that best works with their availability.

    There is very limited space available for each workshop, so be sure to reserve your spot before it is sold out. The cost is $100 per couple, which is a steal compared to what you spent on your most recent dinner at Girl & the Goat, no?

    Upcoming dates:

    Thursday, May 16th 6-9pm (Register before May 2nd)

    Saturday, May 18th 3-6pm (Register before May 4th)

    Thursday, June 20th 6-9pm (Register before June 6th)

    Saturday, June 22nd 3-6pm (Register before June 8th)

    Thursday, July 18th 6-9pm (Register before July 4th)

    Saturday, July 20th 3-6pm (Register before July 6th)

    Contact us at info@enlivencouplestherapy.com, including your preferred date and we will be in touch to confirm and provide additional details about the event. 

Heating Up


                                             (image courtesy of one2onedates.com)

Ferris Bueller was right.  Life does move pretty fast, and, for many of us, we miss out on a lot.  We focus so much on the black and white of our busy schedules that we forget to take the time to acknowledge and explore the shades of play.  By exchanging pleasure-seeking behavior for stability-seeking behavior, we miss out on the fabulous, extraordinarily simple nuances that create a vibrant relationship.  At Enliven, we understand that life gets in the way of romance.  It is our wish for you, whether you’re married, engaged, dating, or single, that you find time to cultivate your erotic awareness, and to nurture your sense of play and romance.  Like Ferris, we challenge you to live and love intentionally.

As the weather starts heating up, so can your relationship.  What better way to shake up your relationship routine than to take it outside?  Although we call Chicago home, we encourage you to take advantage of the amazing array of culture and entertainment that your city has to offer!  Plan a day-date, surprise your lover with a salsa lesson, or if you’re lucky enough to live around Chicago, here are just a few events happening right now (events are in Chicago unless otherwise specified):

Tuesday, May 22:

-Free Day at Museum of Contemporary Art for Illinois Residents

-Ray Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago—opens today!

-Chicago Craft Beer Week @ Tuman’s Tap & Grill

-Beach Boys concert at The Chicago Theater

-Chicago White Sox vs. Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular

Thursday, May 24:

-PL8 Simply Asian Outdoor Spicy Food and Lagunitas Beer Dinner (Barrington)

-Adler After Dark

-Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros at The Riviera


(image courtesy of rachelleb.com)

Outdoor Festivals this upcoming weekend (taken from redeyechicago.com):

Chicago Mayfest 
May 18-20
3100 N. Ashland Ave.The 18th annual season opener aims to cure cabin fever with beer, food and live music under a giant tent. Additional highlights include an outdoor beer garden, arts and crafts vendors, kids programming (Saturday) and a pet parade and pet expo (Sunday).
Admission: $10

Belmont/Sheffield Music Festival
May 26-27, noon to 10 p.m.
N. Sheffield from Belmont to School
Hosted by Central Lakeview Merchants, the 28th annual Belmont/Sheffield Music Festival will bring together local merchants, restaurants and bars to feature local music entertainment, arts, crafts, fashion and food/drink.
Suggested donation: $5

Randolph Street Market Festival
May 26-27; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
1340 W. Washington St.
This European-style, indoor-outdoor urban antique market in the historic West Loop neighborhood features 200 select purveyors of high quality, amazingly priced “finds”, offering unlimited creative inspiration and hours of fun. Shoppers can find furnishings, vintage clothing, jewelry, collectibles, etc.
Admission: $8 ($10 at the gate)

Welcome to Enliven Couples Therapy

At Enliven Couples Therapy, we believe in the power of a vibrant and fulfilling relationship.  We have seen how perseverance and enthusiasm can reignite a seemingly dull and passionless couple.  We honor those who feel hopeless in their partnership, only to see them become empowered and transformed.  We strive to restore playfulness, the key to sustaining an intimate and interesting relationship. 

 If you reflect on your courtship, those first phases of your relationship, we bet that you would describe the time as dynamic, lighthearted, erotic, mysterious, and exciting.  Your dialogue was lively, your dates were planned and executed, and your goal was simple: indulge in the thrill of exploring your counterpart, yourself, and the possibilities therein.  Over time, this thrill naturally abates, and in its place takes a comfortable yet sometimes lifeless and stagnant “stability,” intimate in its own right, but lackluster nonetheless. 

 We believe that you can have both an erotically thrilling relationship alive with suspense and excitement, as well as a mutually stable and settled partnership.  We challenge you to a fresh outlook on your relationship: find that an argument can give rise to passion; believe that on the other side of tears you will find intimacy and joy; discover that after a period of comfortable, yet at times, lackluster connection, you are capable of recultivating romance, zeal, and love for each other.  Remember to honor yourself, honor your partner, and honor your partnership.  From us at Enliven Couples Therapy, we wish you and yours a lifetime of vibrance.