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Mountain Fog

Couples Therapy

Are You Feeling Stuck in Your Relationship?​

  • Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, your partner just doesn't understand you?

  • Are you struggling to acclimate to new changes after a major life event like the birth of a child?

  • Is your long term relationship sometimes fulfilling, but often stuck in the same patterns that make you feel disconnected?

  • Do you deeply miss the early honeymoon phase of your relationship and feel like it will never be as fulfilling as it was in the early days?

It can feel profoundly distressing when things don't feel right in romantic relationships. Partnerships gives us so much - they can help us meet essential needs for emotional and physical support, affection, comfort, friendship, connection, sexual fulfillment, and more. Because of the overwhelming potential for positive fulfillment in relationships (and perhaps because of the way that society puts romantic relationships on a pedestal) it can feel like the world is ending when things aren't going well romantically. It can also be confusing. You might be wondering if your past is getting in the way of your ability to feel seen and cared for, or if your partner is really not seeing and caring for you in the way that you want and deserve. You might also be wondering if your differences are about the fact that you are different people, are if one or both of you has stuff that's been triggered that needs to be worked on.

These Questions are Common

Relationships are ever evolving, and it can be hard to keep up without addressing the changes that you experience in your life and relationship. We are often on our "best behavior" in the early days of a relationship, which means that we are less defensive and more likely to see our partner in the best light. Once the honeymoon phase ends and we fall back into normal life, we are more likely to be triggered. This shift from a idilic state where everything seems to work perfectly, into regular life can be shocking, and it's easy to feel hopeless about relationships in general when they can feel so triggering.


It can also be really hard to look at your own relationship objectively, but having a professional who is trained in understanding relationship dynamics and communication can provide a great deal of clarity and support. Each relationship has its unique process, history, and pattern. On top of that, the kind of communication that increases intimacy and helps us feel seen and heard is almost never taught in school. You may have become effective speakers in the workplace or in other settings, but intimate communication is a different skill that requires practice and patience.  


Couples therapy can help you understand your patterns of interaction and establish new ways of communicating that help you understand and express your needs effectively so that you will have a much better chance of being heard and understood.  Replacing old patterns that aren't working with new ways of communicating can make profound changes in intimacy, connection, and relationship satisfaction. 


Couples Therapy can Make a Difference

Couples therapy can teach you how to identify triggers, how to respond to them in helpful ways, and how to identify and communicate needs in a way that brings you closer, rather than farther away. In my work with couples, I use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) along with the Gottman Method and Imago therapy. EFT focuses on reworking relationship dynamics in order to strengthen emotional and physical connection. Gottman therapy is based on over 20 years of research on couples who lived in the "Love Lab" at the Gottman Institute. Gottman discovered that he could predict with 94% accuracy, which couples in his love lab would eventually split up. His therapy techniques come directly from this research and emphasize teaching couples to reduce the behaviors that are proven to have a negative effect on relationships, while emphasizing behaviors that are proven to increase relationship longevity and satisfaction. Imago therapy blends well with EFT and the Gottman method because it also focuses on communication and intimacy. Imago therapy utilizes tool that help people build connection through attuned mirroring, empathy, and validation.​

It's very normal to have ups and downs in relationships, and you don't need to be on the brink of separation for counseling to help. Many folks reach out to me when their relationship is going well, but they want to boost their intimacy and closeness, or prepare for a life transition like marriage or having kids. People also come to couples therapy when they aren't sure if they want to stay together. In this situation, we can work together to clarify needs, express concerns, make healthy negotiations, and explore what might need to change for a relationship to work. We can also give voice to the possibility of separation and look at whether/how this might be a desired or potentially healthier outcome. 

What if Couples Therapy Makes Things Worse?

Occasionally it can temporarily feel a bit more intense at the start of couples therapy to be actively talking about all of the things that haven't been working for a long time. This doesn't mean that things are actually worse, but that seeing everything laid out at once can give a perspective shift. It is important to acknowledge past and present suffering to understand the impact of our words and actions in relationships. This can be an important step towards changing your patterns together. I also strive to maintain a pace in couples therapy that allows for growth without overwhelm, and I give lots of tools for self and co-regulation.

Can You Still Help us if There has Been Infidelity?

Infidelity is quite common in both short and long term relationships. Many people start relationship counseling specifically to work through things after infidelity. If this is your situation, know that you are not alone, and there is a lot that we can do to explore what lead to the infidelity and what changes need to happen moving forward. Some couples will decide to end at this point, and counseling can help you make that decision and do it in the healthiest way possible. Others will repair and begin a new phase in their relationship that may involve more intimacy and relationship satisfaction. Couples therapy can help you fully express the pain grief, anger, etc. so that you can move onto a new experience together without resentment.

What if We Have the Same Fight Over and Over Again? 

Current research indicates that the issues that couples face tend to remain roughly the same throughout the span of a relationship. This does not mean that there is no hope for things to get better, but that if you fight about the dishes now, whatever doing or not doing the dishes means to you is likely to be a long term theme. This is also one of the reasons why working with communication is so important. In couples therapy we become well acquainted with relationship patterns so we can learn to anticipate habitual reactions and work to create a different outcome that focuses on the underlying meaning behind the thing that you fight about.

You can Find Fulfillment in Your Relationships

If you would like to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation, you can reach me at (949) 506-0546. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about couples therapy and discuss your specific situation.

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