Couples and Marriage Therapy
Being part of a couple takes work, whether you’re married, engaged, or in a committed relationship. You may be able to get through a lot of life’s stressors and issues as a team, but others can cause strain and damage to your relationship. When that happens, couples counseling is a way to help you successfully work through any issues and rebuild your connection.
Through sessions at my office in Westlake Village or online, I can help you and your partner work through issues of intimacy, financial infidelity, communication, affairs, and many other problems you may be experiencing. I provide a compassionate and caring approach that helps you achieve greater emotional intimacy and happiness in your relationship.
My goal is to earn your trust and to help you feel freer, more spontaneous, and better able to love and be loved by those you care about.
What does couples counseling treat?
Often, the problems in your relationship stem from past issues that have nothing to do with the issue you come to therapy for. That’s why it’s so important to get to the root of early life traumas that may be impeding your ability to have a successful intimate relationship.
Through couples counseling, I can help you explore these traumas along with any other inhibitions and anxieties you have about your relationship. We work together to openly discuss what’s coming between you and your partner and help you both learn to better communicate your needs so you can have a more successful partnership.
When there’s a breach of trust, like an affair or financial infidelity, we can work on repairing your relationship and rebuilding trust. It may seem impossible to come back from infidelity, but many couples do and come out stronger.
Couples counseling can also help with issues related to:
With ongoing couples counseling, you can move past your relationship issues to a healthier partnership.
What treatments are used in couples counseling?
Effective treatment of marital and relationship problems requires a high level of trust between you and your partner. Because conflict often has multiple causes, treatments can’t be universally applied — what works for one couple may not work for another.
An effective treatment plan will address and manage the cause of your conflict and then build and strengthen communication between you and your partner. Treatment may include communication counseling and therapy with a goal of building your emotional well-being.
I primarily use two approaches in our couples counseling sessions: Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. I am extensively trained in both therapies, which are proven to help couples turn toward each other rather than away.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
EFT was originally developed to help couples form a secure bond, or attachment. Using EFT, I can help you foster this secure bond through better recognition of emotional responses and behavioral patterns that interfere with your relationship. We work to create positive shifts in behaviors and improved communication to strengthen your relationship.
EFT earned the American Psychological Association (APA) gold standard as the most effective evidence-based couples therapy approach. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements. Studies consistently show excellent follow-up results and some studies show that significant progress continues after therapy.
Want to learn more about EFT? Listen to founder Sue Johnson.
The Gottman Method
The Gottman Method Couples Therapy is based on 40 years of research with thousands of couples. The goals of the Gottman Method are to disarm negative verbal communication, increase physical and emotional intimacy, remove barriers that create a feeling of gridlock, and create a higher sense of empathy and understanding within the couple. To read more about the effectiveness of the Gottman Method, click here.
Understand the science behind marking marriage work according to Dr. John Gottman.
In addition to EFT and the Gottman Method, I have training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as mediation, which helps me foster better conversation and conflict resolution between you and your partner.
How can couples counseling help?
Using these therapies, I can help you strengthen your relationship by creating a safe and healthy attachment to one another, reducing conflict, and creating shared meaning and life goals. Through couples counseling, you can learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and repair past hurts.
Some skills you may learn in sessions include:
- How to stop fighting and start problem-solving
- “Ground rules” for improving communication
- Learning how to avoid “hot buttons” and other triggers to arguments
- How to prevent talking about problems from escalating into fighting about problems
- How to avoid blaming each other
- How to agree to disagree about problems and what to do next
- How to plan for the best times to talk about problems
- How to know when to bring up the past and when not to
- How to develop “win-win” solutions
- How to state a complaint that has the best chance of your spouse wanting to correct the problem
- What to do when you feel misunderstood
Since our sessions are individually tailored to what’s going on in your relationship, this list is just a starting point. Once we pinpoint what issues you need to work on as a couple, we can successfully resolve them so you can feel connected again.
If your relationship is struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I can give you the skills you need to keep your relationship thriving. I provide in-office sessions to the communities of Malibu, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village and online sessions for couples anywhere in California.
To set up your consultation and get your relationship back on track, contact me today.
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