Couples Therapy

Are you and your partner drifting apart?

Couples Therapy | Renew Life Therapy | Dr. Andre Estephan, LMFT, CSAT | Pasadena & Claremont, CAAre you having trouble communicating and connecting with your partner? Are ongoing, unresolved arguments making you both feel insecure in your relationship? Do you feel stuck in negative communication patterns? Perhaps you feel frustrated because your partner does not seem to understand or value your feelings. Or maybe you’re questioning whether you and your partner are right for each other. Does your relationship lack physical and emotional intimacy?   Are you afraid you will lose your partner – the person you love most? Maybe you and your partner have stayed together after an affair, but still wonder if your relationship can fully heal. Do you wish you and your partner could move forward in a respectful, loving and secure relationship with the confidence that you can maintain a meaningful connection?

Relationship issues can make you feel like you are completely alone, even when you’re in the same room with your partner. You and your partner may have begun avoiding each other, fearing that any interaction will lead to an argument. You may feel like your partner is not hearing you or that your needs are no longer a priority and that your feelings don’t matter. At work, you may feel distracted or unfocused because you are overwhelmed with negative thoughts about your relationship. You or your partner may even stay late at work in order to delay coming home to what’s become a household filled with tension. And when you are home, you may feel emotionally distant from your partner. When hot button issues arise, the two of you may instantly start arguing or one of you might shut down and isolate yourself. This growing tension or emotional disconnection may have caused you and your partner to become sexually detached and craving an intimate and/or physical connection.

It’s not that couples don’t get mad or disagree. It’s that when they disagree, they’re able to stay connected and engaged with each other. Rather than becoming defensive and hurtful, they pepper their disputes with flashes of affection, intense interest, and mutual respect.

 — John Gottman

Relationship issues are very common

Most couples experience rough patches in their relationships, and many find themselves stuck in painful patterns in which they begin to drift apart and lose hope for regaining intimacy, romance and happiness. It is quite normal for couples to argue and endure some conflict in their relationship. However, research consistently shows that it is not simply the amount of conflict between partners that pushes them apart. Rather, it is the way couples manage conflicts and the types of negative interactions between them that lead to relationship distress.

Reconnect and reengage in your relationship with Couples Therapy

During safe, respectful and supportive couples therapy sessions, I will fully assess your relationship issues, identify the dynamics and patterns occurring between the two of you and develop a therapy plan tailored to your specific issues and needs.

Couples Therapy | Pasadena, CA | Claremont, CA | Renew Life TherapyOnce we create an accepting and supportive environment in which both of you feel safe to express your thoughts and feelings, I can help you explore your relationship issues from a new perspective. Together, we can identify, explore and break down your cycles of negative communication. Once you better understand each other’s experience, you can establish more loving patterns that can help you and your partner strengthen your bond.

In our couples counseling sessions, I can also teach you and your partner lifelong tools and techniques that can help both of you feel more respected, heard and intimate with each other. For example, if you and your partner have gotten to the point where you avoid each other throughout the day, I can teach you individualized techniques to help you communicate effectively and respond positively to one another rather than turning away. Researcher John Gottman writes, “turning toward one another is a kind of secret weapon against elements such as contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling – factors that can destroy any relationship.”

In my 13 years as a couples therapist, I have witnessed Couples Therapy | Pasadena, CA | Claremont, CA | Renew Life Therapycountless couples remarkable transformations in relationships. These partners have found one another again, restored their loving bonds and rebuilt a more fulfilling relationship.

For example, two of my clients, Jay and Lena, attended six months of marriage counseling. Over that time, they were able to experience their relationship in a totally new and positive way. They discovered that even when they got upset or had a disagreement, they could remain emotionally connected and continue to relate to each other with love and respect.

Like many couples who have overcome challenges and rediscovered their love and connection through couples counseling, your relationship has hope, too. No matter how difficult and painful your relationship has become, you and your partner can rediscover your bond and cultivate a strong emotional connection if you both show motivation and humility during our therapy sessions. In fact, studies have shown that 90 percent of couples who engage in couples therapy show significant improvements.

My partner does not want to attend couples counseling, what can I do?

While it is preferable that both partners commit to couples therapy, it is not uncommon for only one partner to want to attend sessions. In this case, it’s helpful to start with individual counseling and work on your part of the relationship. Often, when a change occurs in one individual’s attitude or interaction, it creates positive change in the relationship as a whole. It is also common that when one partner engages in therapy, the other partner becomes more open to join, especially once he or she observes improvements in his or her partner’s attitudes and reactions.

I’m afraid our relationship is too far gone. I don’t know if we can regain our affection and love.

Research has repeatedly proven that when partners are motivated to change and are willing to put the necessary effort into renewing their relationship and finding solutions for their problems, therapy is likely to yield positive results. In fact, studies show that 70-73 percent of those who engage in couples therapy move from distress to recovery and approximately 90 percent show significant improvements.

When you and your partner actively engage in the process of couples therapy, you, too, can feel more hopeful, encouraged and motivated to take your relationship to a whole new level of love, intimacy and friendship.

Will our investment of time and money be worth it?

Couples Therapy | Pasadena, CA | Claremont, CA | Renew Life TherapyBy investing time and money in your relationship, you and your partner are taking the first step toward strengthening your relationship’s bond – a bond that affects every area of your life. Often, the longer you wait to seek help for your relationship, the more deeply rooted your communication issues become. The earlier you start couples therapy, the better your chances are for faster and more effective results.

While you and your partner will need to work hard together in cooperation with me, doing so can create new, self-reinforcing and healthy cycles of communication that build the foundation for permanent change.

Reestablish a loving and secure connection with your partner

If you and your partner are ready to rekindle love, respect and intimacy in your relationship, I invite you to call me for a free 20-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to discuss your specific needs and answer any questions you have about my practice and how marriage counseling and couples therapy can help you.