Couples Counseling

Do You Feel More Frustration Than Friendship With Your Partner?

Are you and your partner bumping up against ongoing challenges and questioning the vitality and future of your relationship? Are emotional distance, physical distance, constant conflict or clashing values and/or lifestyle choices causing sadness, anger, resentment or confusion? Perhaps your relationship has suffered an infidelity or another breach of trust, and you’re unsure if you can restore trust and intimacy again. Or maybe kids, career demands, differing schedules or travel are consuming the time you once reserved for each other, and you’re feeling increasingly disconnected. It might be that issues with in-laws, unresolved trauma, blending families or addictive behaviors have you constantly at odds with each other, making you wonder if your relationship is strong enough to go the distance. Has communicating your needs, desires and feelings become difficult, causing you to feel lonely, unvalued and sad? Do you wish you could reconnect with what initially drew you to your partner and feel mutually supported, respected, admired and loved?

Feeling anger, disappointment or disconnection in your intimate relationship can be a lonely, frustrating and confusing experience. You and your partner may have grown apart over time and wonder if it’s possible to reignite passion and feel close again. Or, it might be that even the smallest issues turn into an argument and/or you’re fighting about the same thing over and over, both wanting to defend your side of the story. You may question if you can reconnect with a shared vision for life together or if built-up anger and resentment have grown too large to recover from.

All Couples Experience Periods Of Challenge, Strife Or Disconnection

If you and your partner are struggling to communicate and connect, you are not alone. Relationship problems are universal, and couples struggle day-to-day with both large and small changes, transitions and stresses. We do our best for the people we love, but when we feel misunderstood, disconnected, tired or stressed, we’ll inevitably step on each other’s toes and say and do things that we don’t mean.

So many of us also grew up without learning how to recognize and foster a successful intimate relationship, especially if our parents or caretakers didn’t model healthy relationships. Many of us unconsciously replay dysfunctional relationship patterns learned in childhood and/or project unresolved trauma onto our partners. We may recreate our parents’ relationship struggles in our own marriages, trying to fix whatever it was we thought was broken. And, we’re often drawn to what feels familiar, even if those relationships or relationship patterns are ultimately painful and unhealthy for us. Furthermore, when our backgrounds and communication style conflicts with our partner’s, it can be hard to know how and when to agree to disagree versus fighting to feel validated and heard.

With so many moving parts to manage in relationships and in life, it can be difficult to stay on the same page with our partners, and, we’re often hardest on those closest to us. The good news is that ineffective communication styles and patterns of relating can be rebuilt and reframed into a sound couples relationship house. With the help, support and insight of a skilled and compassionate couples therapist, you and your partner can connect with a shared life vision based on mutual respect, trust, love and compassion.

Couples Counseling Can Provide You With Guidance, Insight And A New, Shared Path Forward

Ongoing conflict and feelings of disconnection can make it challenging for even the most insightful partners to identify and address problems, which is why it can be so helpful to have an objective, third-party professional help guide you through the reconnecting process. An experienced and thoughtful couples counselor can point out ineffective patterns of communication and fighting styles that don’t create room for resolution as well as other issues and tension that are fueling discord. In safe, confidential and guided relationship counseling sessions, I can help you and your partner assess what’s really going on. I’ll meet with you together for the initial session, then see each of you separately once or twice to get to know you as individuals.  Thereafter, we will move into the couples counseling work to begin incorporating the building blocks to for a more sound couples relationship house.

In initial couples therapy sessions, we’ll identify where the anger, conflict and poor communication issues are originating from. Throughout this process, I can point out any ineffective patterns of relating or boundary issues that I notice, as well as identify the strengths that you, as individuals and as a couple, can draw from to help you sort through conflict. I understand that each person and couple is unique, which is why we’ll create a couples therapy plan and specific strategies that best address and support your personal and collective personalities, values, needs and relationship goals. We’ll work collaboratively to identify in detail what you aim to accomplish and develop actionable steps you can take to get there. I’ll offer you strategies that can help strengthen communication and practical, hands-on tips and tools that work specifically for you.

I firmly believe that developing a trusting three-way relationship is a key element of successful couples counseling. As a big-picture thinker and a Gottman Method trained couples therapist, my goal is to offer compassionate, pragmatic support and to help you both see each other’s perspectives and the dynamic aspects of your personalities and relationship. Throughout this process, I will challenge you to understand each other’s perspectives, be open about what you’re feeling and express the needs what’s important to you in the relationship. Together, we can begin to connect the parts of your relationship that are working well and figure out where and how to build upon strengths and create shared meaning and satisfaction.

Regardless of the specific issues creating discord or disharmony, it is possible to develop a loving and nurturing relationship and have a partner for life. You can learn to build bridges and feel supported, heard, understood and valued by one another and foster a trusting, encouraging relationship based on both the shared and individual dreams that you hold dear to your hearts. With the support, guidance and insight of a skilled couples counselor and the willingness to explore yourselves and your relationship, it truly is possible to build a life-long commitment. You can foster a foundation of love, trust and respect that will support you through both the best and more challenging seasons of your relationship.

You still may have questions or concerns about relationship coaching and counseling…

My partner is dealing with a specific issue, such as unresolved trauma, addiction and/or a mental health issue. Should he/she go through individual therapy before we work on our relationship in couples therapy?

If your partner is dealing with unresolved trauma, an addiction or a mental health disorder, it’s important that he or she participate in individual therapy. That said, as a couple, you are doing life together, and one partner’s struggles impact the other. And, part of coupling is to stand by each other in times of challenge and adversity. In couples counseling sessions, you’ll have a safe and guided space in which you can better understand each other’s experience and learn how you can best offer support during this challenging time, which can strengthen the foundation of your relationship.

I desperately want to try couples therapy, but my partner is reluctant to join me.

If your partner is not ready for counseling, trying to force him or her to attend will not help. If you are ready to work on you, you can come alone and create change within yourself. As you reframe how you relate to your partner, you can share what you’re discovering in therapy. Once your partner sees and feels a change in you and/or the relationship dynamic, he or she may be inspired to join you by choice.

At this point, it feels like our relationship is past the point of repair. I’m not sure that anything—even couples counseling—can help.

If you’re unsure if your relationship can and should continue, a few couples therapy sessions can help you and your partner make a thoughtful decision. If you do decide to end the relationship, I can help you do so amicably, which can be so important especially if you share children, finances and/or a community. However, once we look at your strengths and mutual relationship goals, you might discover that you both truly want to save your relationship. Essentially, if this is a significant relationship, it’s important that you explore your options and make the decision about whether to stay together or part ways carefully and thoughtfully. Through therapy, you may be pleasantly surprised that falling back in love with each other is possible especially when past hurts and disappointments are worked out. Thereafter, making your dreams of a lifelong and fulfilling relationship a reality.

Foster A Relationship Based On Friendship, Trust And Love

If you’re struggling in your intimate relationship in South LA county or North and South Orange County, I invite you to call my office line at 949-342-4585 for a complimentary 15-minute consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific situation, answer any questions you have about couples counseling, LGBT couples counseling, relationship counseling, premarital counseling and my practice and decide how we could best work together to support your needs and goals.