What to Expect at Couples Counseling

Don’t throw in the towel on your relationship just yet. If you and you partner have been having a really rough time over things like fighting all the time, not communicating well, lacking in intimacy, or just thinking about divorce, I’d love to hear from you. Troubles in your relationship can leave you feeling powerless and hopeless, but I want you to know that there are many things we can do together to repair your relationship for the better. I’ve helped couples like you navigate tricky terrain like infidelity, substance use, and even separation.

Drawing on the scientifically-based Gottman Method of couples therapy, I can help you and your partner have tools to handle your problems and take care of them head on. Together, we can help you learn practical, research based skills that you can use from day one.

So don’t wait around for your relationship to magically get better on its own. And don’t settle for endless counseling sessions without concrete tools and a specific plan of action. Call me for an appointment and let’s get you the help you need for your relationship today.

Walking into therapy can be an anxiety producing situation, especially if it is a brand new experience and you don’t know what to expect. Let me walk you through my process of working with new couples.

1. Once you make initial contact (a phone call or email), I’ll reach out to you to schedule a free 15 minute phone session with you. This phone call does a couple of things. First, it allows you to ask any questions you might have, and gather any information that could be important for you and your partner when deciding whether to pursue counseling. It is also a chance for both of us to chat and see  if I’ll be the best person to fit your needs.

2. The assessment process. Let’s talk about why this is important and how I may do it a little differently than you are used to. The first three in-person sessions are part of my assessment, or information gathering process. The reason these sessions are so important is because every single couple has different needs and therefore will require a different treatment plan. It is essential that I start with the right “tools” so I can formulate the best plan that is unique to you as a couple.

3. At the first session, I will get to know you and your partner a little better and begin the first part of my assessment. We will discuss your own views of the issues in your relationship and your goals for therapy.  At this point I will also provide you with a link for each of you to complete an online assessment tool called the Gottman Relationship Checkup based on 40 years of research from the Gottman Institute. It is really important that both partners have taken the time to complete the assessment before the second session. In my experience working with couples, counseling is only effective if BOTH partners are willing and able to work hard both in and out of session (which includes following homework). Not completing the first task often signals that one or both partners are not ready to participate in couples counseling.

4. Our second session will be made up of two “individual” appointments, so that I will be able to spend 35 minutes with each partner separately. This allows me to get to know each one of you individually, and also for each person to be able to tell their story without any additional pressure. During the this time, the partner that isn’t currently in session is welcome to relax in the waiting room (I have books, coffee and tea) or take a walk around the area.

5. The third visit is when I complete your assessment and we outline your individualized goals for counseling. I want us all to have a clear picture of what we want to accomplish together so we can maximize our time in session!

Couples Counselling Session in Yasmine's California Office

6. Research shows that couples counseling is most effective when sessions start out more frequently and then, as the couple gains skills and the relationship heals, sessions can be spread out more. Because of this reason, I require that the assessment process be completed within 3 weeks (one session per week) instead of spread out over a longer period of time. Again, I have found that our time is more successful if couples are consistent in committing to a time each week to work on their relationship rather than having a session “here and there”. Just like anything else, couples counseling is not magic. It is a mixture of hard work, learning new skills and an improved understanding of your partner. It works best when both partners are committed to the therapeutic process (even if they aren’t sure they want to stay in the relationship) which includes showing up on time for appointments, being honest in session, and doing your best to follow the rules and guidelines that we set during session. I encourage both partners to ask questions and voice any concerns they may have so that we may make the best use of our time together. I look forward to working with you and your partner.

Session Pricing

80 Minute Session – $150

Ready to get started?

Call or email me to schedule your first appointment!

Couples counseling in El Dorado County

Or check out our  Couple’s FAQ  if you want to know more.