Couples Therapy in 6 Bay Area Locations & Online
What makes our couples and marriage therapy different?
All the couples therapists in our practice are in long term relationships—most with kids and some in multi-cultural relationships. Married couple co-parenting children symbolic of marriage counseling making better parentsWe get the struggles from both a personal and clinical perspective. Our specialized training, skill, and personal presence makes us easy to relate to when you come in to get help. Moreover, we believe relationships are what make life worth living, so we are passionate about couples counseling and its effectiveness at helping people learn tools for healthy relating.
Couples therapy is effective and backed by extensive research and today’s most respected thought leaders:
John Gottman started a revolution when he put couples in a room and video taped them talking and relating. He tracked and coded every word over many years and identified key relating patterns that show us the difference between a strong relationship and one in turmoil. His research and ideas have been expanded upon by today’s thought leaders in couples therapy and newer research about the brain.
We are inspired by the work of:
- Sue Johnson, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy,
- Ellyn Bader, The Couples Institute
- Stan Tatkin, A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy
- Terry Real, The Relational Life Institute
- Bill Doherty, Couples on the Brink Project
- Esther Perel, Author, Trainer and Sex Philosopher
- Helen Fisher, Anthropologist and Sex Researcher
- Richard Schwartz, Internal Family Systems
Our couples therapists have trained with some or all of these master clinicians.
Psyched in San Francisco Couples Therapists Work With:
What are the long term benefits and return on my therapy investment?
Studies have shown that couples benefit from couples therapy before they get married; and they benefit from couples therapy after the first few years when the “honeymoon” begins to shift. Couples also benefit when they put time and energy into thinking about how their connection will change after kids*. And throughout the life cycle of the relationship.
Investing in couples therapy offers a deeper, sexier, happier and more resilient connection with your partner. You can call us now for a 20 minute phone consultation at 415-520-5567 or schedule online by clicking here.
*”A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed that expectant couples and new parents who participated in 24 weekly group counseling meetings experienced a much smaller decline in marital satisfaction over about five years compared with parents who didn’t have the counseling. “
Why do modern relationships and marriages require so much work?
Long-term monogamy in a nuclear family is a relatively new human setup. We humans have lived in small tribes or family groups for support and shared resources—duty and survival kept families together. In the U.S. now, the small modern family has a new purpose, it is the place for love and companionship. Yet the truth is, we have very few admirable models for lasting love, more fantasies and idealizations—so even very successful, smart people are often secretly struggling in relationships.Black and white polaroid photos of family, couples, and marriage dynamics of the past.
Everyone knows that our culture has changed radically in many areas in a short period of time. We notice that human relating is more marginalized (technology and consumerism can replace human relating), even as our multicultural world demands that we learn to get along with all kinds of different people. Especially in San Francisco, we are more transient and isolated, and no longer live near our extended families for support (of course this can also be a blessing for some of us). Add to that the (mostly wonderful) changes in gender roles, and we see painful conflicts derailing couples that really should be somewhat solved at a societal level. But they have shown up in the intimacy between the couple and that is where many painful relationship conflicts must be solved.
Neuroscience has shown that the brain lights up and responds to romantic love in much the same way our neural pathways were established for relationship during our pre-verbal childhood. This means that we were shaped for relationship at a very young age, but that shaping isn’t outwardly visible until we come into intimacy with others and feel painful internal and interpersonal conflicts. A good course of couples therapy helps us learn new skills and rewire our brains for love.
Every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay.
What are the ingredients for getting the most out of couples counseling?
Motivation – Motivation on your part is what makes couples therapy deeply effective. Being willing and motivated to show up and ask “what is it that makes me tick, and what skills do I need to relate in ways that are good for us as a couple?” You won’t know the answer to these questions immediately but if you are willing to ask these of yourself, you will get a lot done quickly in psychotherapy.
Skill – Couples therapy is now being considered a specialty practice area with a very specialized skill set by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Our couples therapists have invested in specialized training to bring the most useful lessons from the worlds of research and clinical mastery to our clients.
Match – But ironically, research shows that just as important as training is the relationship with the therapist. Therefore, it’s really important that you find a personality and style of therapist that you like, trust, and feel you can confide in safely. Some patients like therapists who empathize and seek to understand, while others want very active, directive therapists. We have both.
Follow Through – Spending some time on the homework your therapist gives you (if you want it) is important. For old behavior and relationship patterns to change, you need to have a new experience over and over again for the brain to develop a new neural pathway that sparks a better way of relating.
A fly on the wall – what Psyched clinicians experience at our center every day:
- Most couples arrive in couples therapy with a goal to communicate better, but they aren’t sure why the communication got rocky in the first place. We help couples understand why, so they can prevent new flare-ups, and and we help change patterns that do not work anymore.
- Some couples arrive in real crisis from something big like infidelity, grief or loss, illness, birth of a child, and need some fast tools to cope and get some stability back so they can carry on with everyday living. We can always work with couples in short-term, brief, solution-focussed therapy for crisis.
- Many couples wait too long to come into therapy so by the time they sit on our couch they are pretty hopeless or enraged. We advise you to come in as soon as you are feeling stuck because years of built-up resentments are major impediment to change and growth.
- Couples often come in having never considered their personal vision for a happy long-term relationship. We find that many couples struggle with the fact that there are no realistic models in our culture today that aren’t based on a fantasy or the old “duty” model. In therapy, couples get a chance to create a vision and map for how to get to the kind of relationship they want.
- We teach couples the very normal stages of couples development. Couples are often relieved when they learn that where they tend to get stuck happens to many other people like them. Learning proven strategies to get unstuck can be the “rule book” we never got before we committed to one person.