Kathy Jarosz LCSW, "Marriage-Friendly Therapist"
I will help you save your marriage!                                          Phone: (415) 482-9796
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Couples Therapy

Are you and your partner experiencing any of the following?

  • Communication Problemsfrequent arguments, repeating the same argument over and over, inability to get your partner to listen, frequent criticism, escalating conflict, feeling misunderstood, one partner shutting down (scroll down to the section on Relationship Therapy for One Partner)
  • Incompatibilityyou share few things in common, the direction of your lives seem to be diverging, you have little to say to each other, loss of a common bond due new to circumstances
  • Parenting Conflictschronic struggles over day to day decisions as parents, conflicts over discipline, different parenting styles, cultural differences, step parenting issues, age gap
  • Conflicts with the Extended Familiesconflict regarding the expectation of in-laws, cultural differences, problematic relationships with your own parents, step family issues
  • Financial Stressexcessive debt, disagreement about spending, inability to talk about critical financial matters, chaotic financial picture
  • Sexual issueslack of desire, changes in sexual functioning, incompatibility, difficulty communicating sexual desire and preferences
  • Drug or alcohol issuesyour partner’s use of drugs or alcohol is increasing or causing a problem in the relationship (Go to the section on Alcohol and Drug Abuse)
  • Compulsive behavior problemshoarding, smoking, overeating, sexual addiction, shopping, gambling
  • Family problemsdysfunctional communication, abuse, illness, aging parents, caretaking
  • Fertility Issuesproblems conceiving, accepting fertility issues, interference from extended family or friends, communicating with your doctor

Many times couples will seek counseling for one of the above problems or a combination of them. Often couples wait too long before seeking professional help. The average is six years. Sometimes people wait because they are skeptical that therapy can help them. I am always happy to let people know that research backs up therapy all the way! Even just scheduling the first appointment has been shown to trigger improvement!!

What is the goal? What does a successful relationship look like?

Often people have misconceptions about what makes a good marriage or committed relationship. Even many psychotherapists do. Research shows that couples who are successful with their marriages are not necessarily better communicators or have more in common. In fact, approximately 60-65% of what couples argue about is unresolvable. Therapy helps you determine what falls in that category and what doesn’t. That alone can make a big difference. Couples therapy also helps you learn the skills to resolve the resolvable problems. In the end, both of these factors make the difference.

Unexpected, Powerful Benefits to Couples Psychotherapy!

Another important thing that helps couples is that therapy broadens and deepens your awareness of what you are doing that is not working in the relationship. It is difficult to know this without an objective third party. It can be too difficult to accept feedback from our partners because the emotions tend to run high on both sides. In therapy, you have the unique opportunity to understand yourself and your partner better. From this understanding, more empathy and compassion are easy to find. When partners can look at each other with understanding, compassion and empathy, it is much easier to resolve the issue at hand. In fact, it is sometimes like the issue dissolves it is so easy!

There is also a big pay off for each partner in developing their self awareness. Self awareness gives us more personal power. This feeling is really important for many women, and men are delighted to find therapy so helpful and empowering for themselves also. Men grab onto the benefits of therapy as much as women do, even though they are sometimes more resistant coming in to therapy. That seems to be changing and is far less true now than it use to be.

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It can be good to know that help is readily available, but you must make the first move. You can feel rest assured that, over the last twenty plus years I have likely worked with many couples, who are struggling with the same issues you are experiencing. I find the best way for us to connect for the first time would be on the phone. Please feel free to call me at (415) 482-9796. Or, if you prefer, you can send me an email now. I will be happy to respond to any questions you may have. Later, I would be happy to speak with your partner to answer any of their questions.

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What to Expect from Therapy

You and your partner should begin to notice positive changes in your home life within the first six sessions, and most often earlier. If you don’t, I will be exploring why this might be to ensure that we are on the right path. I want to make sure I closely follow how you are doing and feeling. This allows me to tailor my approach most effectively.

Couples therapy may last anywhere from a few sessions to many months or even a couple of years. Don’t panic—much improvement can occur quickly in some situations and if that is your goal, to come and leave within a few sessions I’m okay with that as long as you are okay with that! Part of this depends on what your goals are as well as the nature of the problems themselves. I utilize whatever approach fits best for you. We will discuss, on a regular basis, what is working and what isn’t. In this way, you will feel relaxed about the investment you are making into the relationship and your own happiness. My style is to be very transparent with my clients so you’ll always know where I stand.

Previous Therapy: What Worked and What Didn’t

I will be asking you about any previous experiences you may have had with therapy. If something did not work for you in the past it will likely not work now. Also, if your past experience was very positive, that can help me know what may help you now. Research shows that the therapeutic approach needs to feel right to the client, so your comfort and that of you partner are of paramount concern to me.

Therapy Assignments or “Homework”

Clients find they benefit more quickly from therapy when they have specific tasks to accomplish between sessions. The assignments I give couples are often very rewarding to do. Clients will frequently report great benefits from these assignments such as increased communication, more rapport and quality time and fun together. By putting more energy into the relationship and following a step by step process, couples report many positive changes. In the end, the more you put into your therapy, the more you can get out of it…just like everything else in life! As your therapist, my job is to make it easy for the two of you to reconnect, as quickly as possible.

Collaborating with Other Professionals

During your therapy, I will discuss with you whether an additional referral could be helpful. You may benefit from participating in a support group, or working with another type of professional, etc. I will coordinate your care with any another therapists or doctors involved. I believe that you will benefit more quickly from therapy, if your health practitioners collaborate. I consider the calls and letters I make to other professionals, to be a priority and an important service I provide to my clients. (Of course, the collaboration happens with your knowledge and permission).

Relationship Therapy with One Partner

I have tried to emphasize on this website that doing relationship therapy with only one partner is very feasible, highly productive and much, much better than not getting help at all. It is a popular misconception that you cannot improve a relationship without both partners being present. Indeed there are many schools of thought out there, but let’s just use common sense for a moment. Everything we do in our relationships affects the relationship, ourselves and the other person. It is very easy to see, when we step back and think about it, that our partners are always reacting to us. Even if they have a serious issue of some sort, the way we deal with it can make all the difference in the world, and can change our life as well as our partner’s. If appropriate, have your partner read the article entitled “A Message for Reluctant Partners”. They may end up joining the therapy once you’ve initiated it. I have seen many clients surprised when their partner comes in after they got the ball rolling!

So, do not use your partner’s reluctance to participate in therapy as a reason to not get help! If there is one psychological factor that affects us and our health the most, it is the quality of our relationships. I can teach you skills and new ways of thinking to help free you and empower you in your relationships and your life. That is why, in fact, I chose my tag line for my practice to be “empowering you to have happier relationships”. I feel passionate that even in situations where people feel things are hopeless, stuck or “too far gone”, getting professional help and doing the work needed, can give you a new lease on life (and actually extend your life!). Many people seeking divorce now have not actually done the real work of repairing their relationship and go on to experience the same problems with the next partner. They did not take the time to understand why the marriage deteriorated or they took little or no responsibility for it. Don’t let that happen to you! Getting help is a sign of strength, not “weakness”. Therapy is not just for problems, it is mainly for growth.

If you are reading this, you are on the right track. Many times people need to ask a question or two before they are ready to make an appointment. If you have questions, or would like to discuss with me your particular circumstance, please do not hesitate to call me at 415-482-9796. Or, feel free to email me now. In either case, I will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Thanks for reading my website information and best wishes to you for a happier relationship!