Santa Monica Couples Counseling
Do you feel you and your partner are getting stuck in the same arguments and dysfunctional patterns? Are you just going through the motions and not truly satisfied? Do you want more love but not sure how to get it? If so, therapy can help.
All relationships are meant to heal and this is particularly true of intimate relationships. This means we are drawn to our partner in order to heal our emotional, psychological, and spiritual wounds. Once we bring these unconscious motivations to our conscious awareness, healing can begin. Therapy doesn’t have to be arduous; it can actually spark renewed energy and resources in both of you. Some of the issues you are struggling with could be the key to not only a more satisfying connection with your partner, but a deeper awareness of yourself. Couples counseling can help you move through the resistance and fear that is keeping you stuck and guide you towards the love you want.
My approach is to help you learn and use effective communication techniques, such as “I statements” and reflective listening. In session, I will model these techniques and ask you and your partner to try them. We will get you out of the “blame game” and into a more spacious part of you that can experience your partner in the PRESENT where true connection happens.
Want to get connected to your partner NOW? Try this 10-minute mindfulness technique today to reveal a more calm, connected, and heart centered version of yourself. (Note: if your fighting has become physical, these exercises are counter indicated as they may provoke instead of calm tension.)
- Sit back to back with your partner in a cross-legged position on the floor. If this is uncomfortable you may also bend your knees and place both feet flat to the floor
- Gently push your spine up against your partner so that both of your backs, from lower to upper spine, are in contact.
- Close your eyes and take deep breaths though your nose and out your mouth. Notice what it feels like to be in physical contact with your partner. Don’t talk, just breathe.
- Staying connected to your own breath, begin to attune to the movement of your partner’s breathing against your back. If you can’t feel it, your partner may need to breath deeper and into the back of their lungs.
After several minutes you should be feeling a noticeable calming of your aroused nervous system, or what is often referred to as the fight or flight response. When we experience conflict or fight with our partner this visceral response is triggered in the body and communication becomes ineffective.
Are you feeling good and want more?
Try this simple partner yoga technique to realign and reset your relationship:
- Sitting back to back allow one person to fold forward as much as is comfortable (use the seat of a chair or several folded blankets to prop yourself for comfort).
- Now let the other person lean back onto the person in the folded position.
- The person leaning back needs to begin to give their weight to the other one. Communicate in order to let this happen.
- Notice what this feels like. What does it feel like to take the weight of your partner? Conversely, what does it feels like to give your weight and be supported?
- When you are ready switch sides: the folder becomes the one leaning back.
Usually there is one or both positions that feel particularly good. Go with that. Stay there and drink it in. Communicate with your partner what feels good and what feels not so good without judgment. Make adjustments. Focus on the physical sensations and the particulars of the pose.
In relationships there is always a balance of giving and receiving/ support and being supported. When this dynamic gets out of whack tensions and resentments start to brew. By allowing your partner to physically support you and then switching that support so the other person gets their chance is a direct metaphor for an equal exchange of giving and receiving. When one side is out of balance that’s usually the side that feels “good” or what I like to call “juicy” in that something is happening. It’s like an overdue stretch. Let the body guide you, there is wisdom in the body. The great part is that whatever happens on a physical level has a direct effect on your mental state. Just like standing straighter has an effect on how confident you feel.
Additional couples therapy techniques: A resource I’ve found works consistently with couples is ‘The Marriage Meeting.’ You do not have to married to benefit from this technique. It can be applied to any committed partnership. It was developed by Marcia Naomi Berger and you can read more about it in her book “Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 minutes a week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted.” Essentially, partners agree to a weekly meeting that is 30-45 minutes in length broken down into four sections. I coach couples in session using this approach so they may feel familiar with the process prior to holding their own meeting.
Getting past the negative stigma often associated with the word “therapy” is one of the first steps of a therapeutic process. Befriending ourselves and getting to know others in that way too – especially our dearest loved one will help us gain more understanding, which will leave us to a fulfilling relationship and a fulfilling life – individually and together.
If you and your partner – boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife – are looking for a Couples therapist in Santa Monica, CA or engage in a session with a marriage counselor in the Santa Monica area, let me help you and your partner reach a whole new level together in your relationship.
Couples therapist in Santa Monica, CA:
When to get marriage counseling?
Couples therapist in Santa Monica, California: Couples Therapy Techniques
What does couples counseling consist of?
Marriage counseling tips
As an experienced Santa Monica Marriage Counselor and licensed therapist for couples counseling Santa Monica, I can definitely help you and your partner through the relationship or marriage counseling process, through whatever issues might be between you two as partners or even to check up on you, regardless of whether things are going well or not so at that time.
As a licensed therapist in couples therapy Santa Monica, CA, I am here to help you as best as I can see the best in you. Here are a few marriage counseling tips to help you and your loved one before you go in for counseling:
- Accept persistent differences: Having individual differences makes us human. Acknowledging and accepting them doesn’t mean you have to agree with them – just be respectful of them.
- Engage in couple time: It’s easy to get swept away by a busy life. Make sure to always take the time to focus on just the two of you.
- Acknowledge your mistakes: Everyone makes them. When you know you have done wrong, swallow your pride and apologize out loud. By admitting your fault you’re letting go of the control that the mistake might have had in your life and giving your relationship the chance to make amends.
Marriage Meeting’s 4 Parts:
One person goes first and expresses things he/she liked or admired about his/her partner that week. Use “I statements,” a respectful tone of voice, and make eye contact. The other partner listens silently until the appreciative comments are done then they switch.
Each partner shares items on their to-do list and collaboratively, they decide which ones need to take priority and who will handle each. Updates are also given on tasks prioritized at the last meeting. If any of these chores become emotionally charged, table them immediately for the end of the meeting—Problems and Challenges.
Plan for Fun
This portion includes planning a date night, one self-care activity, one family outing (if you have children), and possible get togethers with friends/family as well as vacations. Date nights are important to keep the spark in your relationship so don’t put them off! Marcia recommends a weekly date night. Don’t fall into these pitfalls: “We are too busy,” “We can’t afford it,” “We don’t have to a sitter.” Time together to have fun and experience one another outside of the home is critical to lasting love.
Problems & Challenges
Choose one or two concerns and at most three to discuss at each meeting. If it’s only your first or second time holding a meeting, focus on easier to resolve topics to gain confidence around your ability to solve problems collaboratively. One person introduces a concern and uses “I statements” to describe it. The other partner listens until he/she is finished. Do not interrupt your partner! Afterwards, reverse roles and the other person responds using “I statements.” Continue the discussion using positive communication skills with the aim being both partners feel heard and understood. Not all problems will get resolved within this meeting. If the issue isn’t resolved, table it for the next meeting. If there’s no resolution after that, bring it to your therapist for further discussion and feedback.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY STEFANI REITTER, LMFT
I know that navigating through unknown waters can be a bit scary but engaging in intensive couples therapy can not only help you and your partner grow but it can also teach you a lot about yourself.
I know that you might have plenty of questions – especially even before your very first session. Here are some FAQs that I have gotten before a couple will come in for therapy: