Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy

Many of the individuals and couples that come to me are desperately seeking relief from their pain, frustrations, loneliness, or despair. Whether the problem is identified as they don’t communicate, lack of intimacy or other unresolved differences, their experience of their relationship has fallen short of their hopes, dreams, and expectations. Efforts to change these disappointments have been futile and aggravate these situations further with endless disputes or painful silence.

People often select a relationship expert with hopes that this professional will be smart enough and strong enough to challenge their partner to change some of their unacceptable behaviors and therefore put a stop to the endless suffering.

Rather than focus on who’s to blame for all the pain and suffering, I redirect couples to the solutions where they have the power to change their relationships; from within themselves. My work focuses more on helping each partner to find their courage to confront the challenging problems that have resulted in their negative view of their partners, their marriage, or of themselves. This typically requires each partner to look deeper within themselves to discover their true potential of who could be in the context of their relationship while honoring their own unique needs and desires.

My interventions are based on the health model with the premise that each individual is striving to do the best they can,  given their own set of developmental skills from their life experiences. The conflicts, power struggles, and betrayals that occur between two people begin to make perfect sense when it becomes clearer how much of their full potential is untapped. It isn’t a question as to what is going wrong or what needs to be fixed, but rather, who you and your partner are and how to adapt to a more productive method to meet the mutual needs and desires of the relationship.

Make a commitment to yourself

If you choose to work with me and make a significant shift in your life, then you must realize that the approach I use will not be a quick fix or offer clever techniques of how to smooth over or whitewash important issues. It will require you to make a personal commitment to yourself to do the work, allow your truths to emerge, connect with your inner strength, and discover a new self-confidence as you redefine who you are in the context of your relationship.

You can feel more successful

Successful couples find that they begin to operate at a more mature level with each other as the healthier aspects of who they have become more pronounced. Their personal power from their integrity starts to emerge and their interactions are more effective. I see couples essentially “grow up” in the therapy I offer. They begin to access more honest and direct methods to calmly express, with confidence, who they are to their mate and are less willing to resort to actions that only discredit the better part of who they are.

Who Can Benefit

Any two individuals who are committed to their relationship and motivated to improve are appropriate for therapy. A couple does not have to be legally married in order to experience the issues that come up in a relationship and therefore are appropriate.

I also work with individuals who are motivated to change their experience in life even if their partner is not motivated to participate in therapy. In fact, if an individual within a relationship makes significant changes for themselves, it is virtually impossible for their shifts in behavior not to have some sort of impact and potential influence towards the other for changes to occur. 


Couples therapy are confidential live video sessions conducted online in the privacy of your own home or office.  90-minute sessions are scheduled during convenient times that work for your busy lives, including weekends.  Both partners will be seen together in most instances.

Appointments are scheduled in advance by calling 509-879-4778. Instructions will be given as to how to pay in advance to secure your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I decide if a therapist is right for me and my situation?

There are many qualified licensed therapists.  Not all of them may specialize in your areas of concern.  Do you resonate with what you read on their website?  Do they respond to your questions and concerns in a way that evokes your confidence and trust?  The years of experience in your area of concern is also a very  important factor to consider.     

How do I know if I should see a therapist with my partner or individually?

Ask yourself if the issues that keep coming up for you are related to your relationship or with yourself.  It is an easy way out to go into therapy and complain about your partner.  A therapist would not be doing you any good if they allowed that to continue, or in some way encouraged you to leave your partner (unless domestic violence was the concern).  A solid relationship in the home can do wonders to improve your state of being. With that being said, if your issue is independent of your relationship then individual sessions may be appropriate.

 How many sessions will I need?

There are a number of factors that will depend on how many sessions will be needed to reach a successful resolution.  The nature and depth of the problem is one factor.  The length of time the problem has existed is another.  And most important of all is   your willingness to address the issues in an open and honest manner, along with the readiness to implement changes.  

Do you accept my insurance?

I do not accept insurance.  I do, however, make it easy for you to submit claims for services received from an out of network provider when sessions conducted meet your insurance company’s criteria for medical necessity.  I will provide all of the necessary invoices with the required codes on a monthly basis.

How do video sessions work with couples sessions.

In a similar way that you might have a conversation with your therapist in the office, though the monitor is used for audio and visual communication on a HIPPA compliantI secure online platform.  There are no apps to download onto your computer.  The locations where the sessions will be held (on both sides of the call) are secluded so as to maintain absolute privacy and confidentiality.  There will be times in the session where you would be instructed to stop looking at your monitor and redirect your focus to your partner as I continue to facilitate the interactions. 

What Can I Help With?

Communication Problems

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Communication Problems are a common complaint among couples. Once the issues of communication are broken down to a more basic level it becomes clear that the real problem is what is being communicated and the meaning of the message. Communication is non-verbal as well as verbal and all of it is significant in the context of the relationship. When there are communication problems there are often underlying issues related to trust, commitment, power and control, and intimacy. These are some of the most fundamental areas to confront that helps individuals grow.

Stress & Anxiety

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Stress and anxiety is a common experience for most everyone from time to time. When levels of stress and anxiety rise to the point of feeling overwhelmed the experience can be unbearable. When anyone gets to that point of overwhelm they no longer feel like they can manage even the little details. No one needs to continue to remain in this state. Allowing yourself some time to take a step back, take a deep breath, or ten to get an objective perspective on what is going on can alleviate some of the overwhelming feelings. Stress and anxiety are important signals that whatever coping skills are being used, they are not sufficient to attend to the degree of what is happening in your life. Whether you are experiencing acute panic attacks, situational stress, or longstanding anxiety, professional assistance is the best course of action so that you need not go through further unnecessary suffering. Prescription medications, alcohol, or other drugs may have a positive effect on addressing the symptoms of anxiety, but they do nothing with regards to building up your ability to cope day to day more effectively as a self-empowered individual.

Someone to Talk To

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No matter what might be troubling you, having an experienced and knowledgeable professional available to talk to can be comforting as well as insightful in guiding you beyond your troubles. Surely there are always those around you who will give you free advice, though you get what you pay for and will often lead you to get more of the same. Many times what seems to be the problem is only the part of what surfaces and is within your scope of awareness. A trained and experienced professional can help you grow as a result of the troubling situation rather than simply giving you a quick fix.

Family Member Conflict

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Family member conflicts are more common than you would think, however, often people do not talk about them. Conflicts indicate that something isn’t working for one or more members of the family and something needs to change. It can also indicate that someone in the family has changed and is no longer willing to operate under the established conditions. Whatever the case may be, it is important to keep in mind that whenever you are going through relationship struggles, the only thing you ultimately have control of is yourself.

Job Loss or Change

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When life sends you curve balls it can seem like life gets turned upside down. These can be most stressful and troubling times while going through the experience. They can also become your most important opportunities to learn about yourself and become more self-empowered in the process. Many thoughts and feelings can disrupt your well being when you experience changes beyond your control. Once you come to understand how old attitudes or beliefs could be ineffective or even self-defeating, you begin to realize that you are now faced with an opportunity to change yourself. If you embrace this change you become self-empowered in the process.


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Depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It can occur at any stage in life, either once, repeatedly, or ongoing.
Depression is often conceptualized as a medical condition and is typically treated by M.D.s with medication. Medications may be effective in treating the symptoms of depression though unless contributing factors that you can control are not addressed that medicine may be needed to control the condition for the rest of your life. If you choose to take medication, the best way to increase results for lasting change is by taking more responsibility for how you use your brain, feel in your body, and take action in your day.

If you take a different approach to how you conceptualize depression and consider it as a state of mind that impacts moods it becomes a more manageable problem to address. If you exercise your diligence to make different choices in the thoughts you entertain, the corresponding emotions will change. If you exercise your courage to make different choices in the habitual actions you take during the day, your experiences of the day will change. Diet, exercise, social activity, sleep can all have positive or negative effects on your moods. Depression is not just a mood that is driven by hormones alone. Chemicals that impact the Neurotransmitters in the brain are influenced by how we think just as much as the neurotransmitters influence our thoughts and emotions.

Irregular Sleep Cycles

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Irregular sleep patterns can be caused by a number of things. This irregularity can often lead to compounding affects as you require regular sleep patterns to maintain well-balanced mental and emotional states to function well in your life. When medical conditions are ruled out, talk therapy can address other issues that contribute to the disruptive sleep. Mental and emotional imbalances due to environmental stressors can have a significant impact on your sleep.

Couples Infidelity

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Infidelity can be a painful and overwhelming experience for both partners in a relationship. It causes deep wounds for everyone involved. Unfortunately, this experience is often one that results in divorce if couples don’t get skilled professional help. While it causes many disruptive thoughts and feelings that can upheaval in one’s life, it also can reveal deeper truths about each partner and how they have created a relationship that is often beneath their true potential as a couple. When affairs are addressed properly, in a skillful manner, they can lead each partner to learn more about the other as well as themselves. The discoveries that can unfold in the process can add clarity so each can decide how they want to move forward in their lives. Of the many things that can unfold, one thing is for sure; they can never go back to what they once had. Infidelity will force a growth cycle to occur or the relationship will eventually disintegrate. It is up to each to decide for themselves whether they are up for the challenge to commit to that new growth cycle or not.

Unexpected Mood Swings

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Unexpected Mood Swings can be extremely distressing to experience for yourself as well as those around you. These can be caused by a number of things that are not always easily identified. Hormones are always a part of the equation because these are the chemical reactions that are experienced as emotions and moods. When there is a shift in the chemical balance that might be referred to as a baseline, it can cause you to feel depressed, agitated, and elated unexpectedly. These imbalances can be triggered by mental and emotional reactions to the environmental conditions around you or possibly a physiological condition internally. If external environmental conditions cannot be identified then it would be prudent to have your primary care physician rule out other factors such as a thyroid condition or other physiological factors that may be a contributing to the mood swings. With that being said, my experience has lead me to help many clients to better understand external or internal triggers that result in mood swings. With greater awareness, insight, and more skillful decisions you will experience more effective control.

Sex & Intimacy

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Sex and Intimacy issues are a normal problem to have in any longterm relationship. However, no matter how normal it may be for couples who are committed in their relationships it can cause a considerable amount of discontent, a good deal of pain, and loneliness. This often leads to heated problems that are either played out in the bedroom or the rest of their relationship. One of the ways in which this gets played out is by having communications problems as mentioned above.


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Addiction is a complex problem to address. Whether you are dealing with drugs or alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, or those habitual behaviors that trigger chemicals from within your body, like anger, gambling, pornography, sex, eating, shopping, working, sports, social media, …there are always a host of issues that must be factored in for successful recovery to take place.

To effectively address the problem of addiction it is essential to deal with issue at a deeper level than simply the substance or the addictive behavior. Habits formed originally because there was a need or a desire for something to take care of our stress or pain. So when attending to breaking any undesirable habit it is important to realize what has been a driving force that allowed the addiction to form in the first place.

Some necessary steps in the process of change/recovery is first hand awareness of the problem, the desire to change, the courage to honesty investigate, explore, and confront the truth about the addictive pattern and the underlying contributing factors. Once those steps have been taken, it is important to establish accountability for making changes in daily behavior for yourself. Social support systems are very helpful for maintaining accountability. In some cases, a more intensive out-patient or in-patient treatment may be warranted.

Regardless of whether it is an externalized chemical source that the brain adapts to causing the addiction or an externalized stimulus that activates the natural chemicals in the body, these addictions can become very destructive when they take control of your life.

People are often unaware of how these substances or behaviors begin to take hold of them. In the beginning, they may seem enjoyable and rewarding experiences, and maybe even an expansion of your social circle. When thoughts and emotions become fixated on the addictive behavior, other aspects of life begin to be compromised. These compromises take place when decisions are made to support the habitual behavior patterns at the cost of personal relationships and occupations. The values that were once placed on primary relationships, family, or other meaningful activities start to erode and a shift to a self-centered and singular focus emerges. As the activities surrounding the addiction progress over time the quantity, duration, and frequency increases which has a direct inverse effect on what use to hold value. When these things are finally recognized by the addicted individual, it is often after they have lost their sense of control to the addiction.

Even seemingly benign habits and tendencies may be acceptable for one but intolerable for others and that is when the damage occurs in relationships.

Harmful Thoughts

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Harmful thoughts are significant indicators to attend to. Thoughts are simply impulses that run through your brain, however, if harmful thoughts become repetitive and become more extreme, they can result in unsafe behavior. Underlying issues which produce these thoughts are usually driven by pain and suffering, anger or fear. Many clients have admitted feeling shame for having such thoughts. It is important to understand that these thoughts and behaviors are often a reaction to environmental stressors and not a character flaw. If you, or someone you know, experience ongoing thoughts of harming self or others, you should not remain silent and begin talking about what is going on with an experienced professional.

Schedule Your Appointment

Ask a question or book an appointment below.

For emergencies call 911 or visit your nearest hospital

(509) 879-4778

1062 Murrieta Blvd., Livermore, CA 94550