For Valentine’s Day, integral couples therapist Tom Habib returns to share his insights into what he calls the “couples’ line of development.” In previous episodes he laid out the trajectory most couples take — from initial attraction, to role-partnering, to mutual respect, to what he calls first love, where intimacy begins to blossom into an exciting new we-space that transcends (while including) the stages that came before.

Today Tom returns to focus on an essential yet surprising requirement of the first love stage, which guides his therapy with couples: relationships reach first love when each person is free to safely and consciously express their inner child. Neediness, hurt, joy, tantrums — all are welcome as long as they are held within clear boundaries (four minutes for a tantrum, for instance) and attended by a caring, nurturing partner in the adult role.

One of the most beautiful integral projects is to reach back to reclaim the juice and enchantment of our childhood stages. In this episode, Tom shares insights and methods that show us how to do it in the delicious context of couple love.

Tom Habib joins us from his home in San Juan Capistrano, California. You can find more of his work at