Love between partners is a powerful, meaningful part of the human experience. We all want and need to feel the joy of loving and being loved. Relationships aren’t meant to be passive, though. Healthy relationships require self-reflection, accountability and positive communication to thrive.
Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness offers couples therapy for partners of all backgrounds, cultures, and orientations. Whether you’re experiencing serious conflict with your partner or are looking for an opportunity to make your love even stronger, couples therapy can help.
Sometimes both partners are interested in couples counseling. Other times, one partner may need encouragement to take part in the process. Although there may be some resistance to therapy initially, our clinicians are trained in connecting with clients as a way to break through resistance and move into a safe, secure, comfortable therapeutic relationship that supports deep change.
Anyone Can Benefit From Couples Therapy
Many people think of couples therapy as a treatment during a crisis, and most reach out during or after a major conflict. We work with couples who are facing crisis issues or couples in perpetual gridlock. Very often, the crisis is a symptom of a deeper issue, which our skilled therapists work to uncover and process.
Conflict happens to all couples, but what makes a relationship strong is each partners’ ability to manage the conflict in a healthy way. The key for couples is to avoid the four horsemen of the relationship apocalypse: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Instead of viewing the situation as yourself versus your partner, you and your partner can learn to work together as you move through discord.
Couples therapy is a great opportunity to develop these communication skills because you have a neutral third-party who will facilitate the discussion and provide skills to help you communicate effectively. It’s natural to feel upset, angry, or hurt during a disagreement or conflict, but our therapists can help you and your partner communicate from a place of responsiveness and not heightened reactivity.
Relationship counseling is also helpful if you’re going through a major life transition like moving, having a baby, or experiencing a loss. Events like these change the dynamic of your relationship while you’re already emotionally taxed so it’s important to check in and make sure the bond between you and your partner is attended to and strengthened.
We provide premarital counseling as well so that you and your soon-to-be spouse have a healthy foundation of your marriage. Premarital counseling is an opportunity to spot problematic patterns or perpetual conflicts before they snowball. You and your partner can discuss meaningful topics such family, sex, finances, parenting and religious beliefs as a way to ensure important values are aligned.
High Conflict Relationship Management
Many of our clients suspect that their partner might have a personality disorder due to the rollercoaster ride of highs and lows in their relationship, the back and forth of breaking up and getting back together, and the exhaustion from the fluctuating emotions. Individuals who are personality disordered tend to create high-conflict relationships that may appear great at times, but then highly dysfunctional at other times, causing a sense of cognitive dissonance for their partner. Our skilled therapists help couples by incorporating a thorough assessment of the relationship and each partner individually. Our relationship experts offer education and can help you decipher if the relationship is one in which you can accept or if it might be best to separate.
How We Work
At Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness, we use the Gottman Method developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. The main goals of this method are to strengthen friendship, intimacy, and connection and to develop positive conflict management skills.
One of the most important components of the Gottman Method is the Sound Relationship House. This is a representation of your relationship as a house with several levels that are built up from the foundation. Every level is a goal or quality of a stable and fulfilling relationship, and each one supports the upper levels of the house.
Here are the seven levels of the Sound Relationship House:
- Build Love Maps: Understand your partner’s inner world.
- Share Fondness and Admiration: Tell your partner what you like and love about them
- Turn Towards Instead of Away: Accept bids for emotional connection
- The Positive Perspective: Believe that you and your partner are on the same team and see the best in them instead of going straight to criticism.
- Manage Conflict: Speak openly and listen during conflict. Allow your partner to influence you: Be open to compromise. Make efforts to stay calm during arguments.
- Make Life Dreams Come True: Support your partner in achieving their goals and share your goals with your partner.
- Create Shared Meaning: Build a shared sense of purpose together.
If you’re looking for a couples therapist, we’re happy to help you cultivate the relationship you desire. We offer in-office therapy or virtual therapy sessions via secure video. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation or an appointment.