Question:  I know my relationship is struggling, but I don’t know if couples therapy would be able to help us.

Answer:  Not all relationships are going to make it, even with the best of intentions. According to the Gottman Relationship  Institute,  67%  of first marriages in America end in divorce over a forty year period. Half of these divorces occur within the first seven years. The divorce rate for second marriages is approximately 10% higher than for first time marriages.

But the good news for you is this:   Gottman also found in studying over 7,000 couples through 40 years of research that couples (married, unmarried, pre-married, gay or straight) can learn to be happily partnered by practicing the skills that come naturally to stable couples. Couples Therapy teaches you the secrets these happy couples already know. It puts you back in touch with the joy you originally found in each other. It is fast, effective, and proven to work.

Question:   Do you work with couples that are not married?

Answer:  You don’t have to be married to benefit from couples work.  I work with couples who are together but not married, couples who are contemplating marriage, couples who have been married briefly, couples who have been married a long time.

Question:   Do you work with same sex couples?

Answer The Gottman Couples Therapy methodology which I use has been thoroughly tested with same sex couples. In fact, it may be the only major couples methodology to have been proven effective for same sex couples. According to the Gay Couples Institute, approximately 80% of the same sex couples who completed Gottman style work reported being happier one year after the completion of their couples work than they had been prior to that experience.

Question:   I am really worried and sad, and I know we need help. But I am not sure I can get my partner to come in for couples therapy. Can I see you anyway?

Answer Call me at 650.275.2384.  If your goal is couples therapy, I will coach you in possible ways to have that conversation with your partner to increase the chances of bringing him or her in with you. It is really common for one partner to want to seek help, and the other to feel uncomfortable about it.  Let’s talk, I’ll help you get the help you both need.

Question:   How long will therapy take?

Answer  Each couple is unique, but the approach I use is respectful of both your time and your financial resources.  Much  like going to the gym or your yoga class, new muscles, new flexibility takes some time and practice to make second nature and reliable. Most couples see significant improvement within 10-14 sessions.   This is not a one–size–fits–all approach, it is tailored to your specific needs and issues so we don’t waste your time and energy. You get the specific help you need, right now.

Question:   What will it be like to do couples therapy? I have had some friends try it who said it was like scheduling a weekly boxing match….

Answer Since approximately 1965 traditional couples therapies were based on a theory that if the couple brought their primary conflict into the session room and the therapist refereed, they learned to fight fair, and relationship improvement would result. This could feel painful, punitive, and actually did not change the rate of divorce/separation among couples in conflict.  (see Carol Tavris’s book, Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion)

My approach acknowledges that you come to me in a difficult, worn out place, and may have some critical issues to address. So first we spend some time learning who you are, why you originally fell in love, and how your present life is different from your hopes and dreams for each other. Then we begin targeted work on how to stop the damage of the conflicts that are challenging you. Most couples I have worked with find this process far more pleasant than they had expected.  Some reported it had an immediate calming effect upon the relationship. In fact, one of my couples used to refer to our evening sessions as the best Date Night they had had in years!

Question:    Part of our problem is that we are really, really busy people and there doesn’t seem to be much time for us.  How frequently would you need to see us?

Answer:  Couples work is effective when I see you once a week.    Sessions are either 50 minutes or 90 minutes, and some ½ day Intensives may be available upon request.

Question:    What is my next step?

Answer Give me a call at (650) 275-2384 , and let’s talk about what is going on. I want to hear your story. Let’s get started on making things better for you and your partner.    It’s time.