Using Therapy to Strengthen a Couples Relationship
I enjoy working with couples (whether married, engaged, dating or living together) as a therapist in Orange County. I provide marriage counseling, pre-marital counseling, and couples counseling. I really love working with couples to strengthen their relationships and/or addressing specific issues or problems.
Many couples inquire about therapy/counseling when they are experiencing problems in their relationships. Some common issues are poor communication (fighting and withdrawing), sexual problems, infidelity, problems with in-laws, conflict about finances, different beliefs and values, stressful emotional issues, and separation.
Following I have provided additional information on common issues for which couples seek treatment. However, please contact me if you would like to discuss an issue that is affecting your relationship with your partner that is not addressed here. I believe that it is important to collaboratively identify problems so together we can achieve your goals. I work in a directive style in an empathic environment that many couples have found useful. It is very important to find a counselor you and your partner can trust. Feeling comfortable with your counselor is an essential ingredient for change and growth.
Communication is a very important component in any relationship. Many couples complain they don’t communicate anymore, or they don’t know how to communicate. The truth is we are always communicating with others; however, we may not like what or how we are communicating. By not saying anything we are communicating. By going into the bathroom and locking the door after a fight we are communicating. By hugging we are communicating.
When we feel that we aren’t communicating what we want in a way we could like, we are usually emotionally cut-off from one another or emotionally reactive. When couples are emotionally cut off they usually experience each other as living separate lives. They don’t talk. They aren’t in physical contact with each other. When couples are emotionally reactive to one another they are usually fighting, bickering or yelling.
I can assist you in learning to identify what you are saying, both verbally and non-verbally, in order to change what you don’t like. Next, I want to help you break harmful patterns of communication. This requires looking at how you were taught to communicate in your family of origin. Finally, I can assist you in learning new ways to communicate that enhance your relationships with everyone.
Our sexual lives and emotional lives are connected. If I want to know what is transpiring emotionally with a couple, I can ask them about their sexual relationship and get the answers. If I want to know about a couple’s sexual relationship, I can ask them about their emotional relationship and get the answers. Many couples enter therapy to address sexual problems. Some sexual problems include: little or no sex drive, premature ejaculation, and pain during sexual intercourse. Many couples feel a lack of fulfillment in their sexual relations or experience they are not sexually compatible. Communication and further exploration are needed.
I can help couples identify and communicate verbally and sexually with each other more clearly. I provide clients with directive homework assignments to learn new ways to communicate verbally and sexually.
Infidelity is toxic to a relationship. The person who has been cheated on feels that he or she can no longer trust his or her partner. Even more damaging is that he or she loses trust in him or herself. However, couples can heal and recover from affairs. Some couples even begin to experience the relationship as stronger and healthier after treatment and recovery.
I can help you identify all of the complicated feelings associated with affairs. Expressing your feelings is an important part of treatment. Until the pain and grief can fully be explored and expressed, healing is not possible.
Treatment also involves finding what triggered the affair. I can help you find what triggered the affair, how to avoid the triggers whenever possible, and find new ways of managing them.
(It is important for me to distinguish between an affair and a sexual addiction. They are not treated the same way, and recovery is a different process. I can assist you in further exploration if you are concerned you or your partner has a sexual addiction.)