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Questions About Marriage and Couples Counseling in Calabasas Answered

Questions About Marriage and Couples Counseling in Calabasas

Marriage and couples counseling are vital resources for partners seeking to improve their relationship's health and longevity. Whether you are encountering specific challenges or simply wish to strengthen your bond, understanding the nuances of these therapeutic approaches can be incredibly beneficial. This article explores common questions about marriage and couples counseling to help you make informed decisions about enhancing your relationship.

Is it Normal for Married Couples to Go to Counseling?

Yes, it is perfectly normal and even beneficial for married couples to seek counseling. Many couples view therapy not only as a means to solve problems but also as a way to deepen their connection and better understand each other. Counseling provides a safe space to explore sensitive topics, communicate openly, and develop healthier interaction patterns under the guidance of a trained professional.

Is Marriage Counseling the Same as Couples Counseling?

Marriage counseling and couples counseling are often used interchangeably, but they can cater to different relationship stages. Marriage counseling typically focuses on couples who are legally married and may address issues directly related to marriage, such as fidelity, finances, and family planning. Couples counseling, on the other hand, can apply to any committed relationship regardless of marital status and often focuses more broadly on relationship dynamics and interpersonal communication.

What is the Difference Between Couples Therapy and Couples Counselling?

The terms "couples therapy" and "couples counseling" might sound distinct, but they generally refer to the same process. The term "therapy" often implies a deeper, more psychologically intensive process aimed at resolving complex emotional issues, while "counseling" might be perceived as more guidance and advice-oriented. However, in practice, both involve similar techniques and aim to improve relationship health through structured sessions with a qualified therapist.

What Type of Therapist is Best for Marriage Counseling?

The best type of therapist for marriage counseling is typically a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). LMFTs are specially trained to understand family systems and the dynamics between couples. They use evidence-based methods to address marital issues and improve communication. It's important to choose a therapist who is not only qualified but also a good fit personally, as a strong therapeutic relationship can significantly enhance the effectiveness of therapy.

What is the Most Effective Form of Couples Therapy?

Among the various forms of couples therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is often cited as one of the most effective. EFT is based on attachment theory and focuses on understanding and reshaping the emotional responses that shape relationship dynamics. This method has a strong track record of success, helping couples create a deeper emotional connection and increase security, closeness, and trust.

How to Choose a Marriage Counsellor?

Choosing the right marriage counselor involves several key steps:

  • Research: Look for counselors with specialized training in marriage and family therapy.

  • Credentials: Ensure they are licensed and have good standing with professional boards.

  • Compatibility: Consider whether the counselor's approach aligns with your goals and if you feel comfortable with their style.

  • References: Reviews or testimonials from other couples can provide insight into their experiences.

When Should I Start Seeing a Marriage Counselor?

It's advisable to start seeing a marriage counselor not just when you face challenges, but as a proactive measure to prevent issues from developing. Common triggers for seeking therapy include ongoing communication problems, dissatisfaction in the relationship, significant life changes, or when you feel disconnected from your partner. Early intervention can prevent these issues from escalating and help maintain a healthy relationship.


Marriage and couples counseling can be transformative tools for partners seeking to enhance their relationships' quality and durability. By understanding the different aspects of therapy and choosing the right counselor, couples can effectively navigate the complexities of their relationships and build a stronger, more fulfilling partnership.

If you or your partner are considering counseling, take the first step towards a healthier and more connected relationship by researching qualified therapists in your area. Remember, the right time to seek help is before issues become crises.

Top Ten FAQs About Marriage and Couples Counseling in Calabasas

Navigating the complexities of a relationship can sometimes require additional support, which is where marriage and couples counseling come into play. This form of therapy can help couples strengthen their bonds and resolve conflicts. Below are answers to the ten most frequently asked questions about marriage and couples counseling.

What is the Gottman Method?

The Gottman Method is a popular approach to couples therapy that focuses on disarming conflicting verbal communication, increasing intimacy, respect, and affection, removing barriers that create a sense of stagnancy, and creating a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the relationship. Developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, this method uses research-based interventions and exercises to improve the couple's relationship.

What is the difference between Pact and Gottman?

PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy) and the Gottman Method both aim to improve relationships but differ in their approaches. PACT focuses on attachment styles and non-verbal communication cues to enhance connection and security. In contrast, the Gottman Method emphasizes emotional connection, communication skills, and conflict management through structured conversations and interventions.

What is the 5:1 rule?

The 5:1 rule, identified by relationship researcher John Gottman, suggests a healthy relationship maintains a balance of five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. This "magic ratio" is critical for sustaining a stable and happy relationship, emphasizing the importance of nurturing positive behaviors and interactions alongside managing conflicts.

What is the 40/20-40 process?

The 40/20-40 process is a communication exercise where each partner is allotted 40% of the time to speak uninterrupted about their feelings and perspectives. The remaining 20% is used for mutual discussion and response. This structure helps ensure that both partners can express themselves without interruption, fostering better understanding and respect.

What is stonewalling in a relationship?

Stonewalling refers to when a person withdraws from a conversation or interaction, effectively shutting down communication. It is a defensive tactic that can lead to increased distance and isolation within a relationship. Recognizing and addressing this behavior is essential as it can undermine relationship health and conflict resolution.

What is the 70/30 rule in a relationship?

The 70/30 rule in relationships suggests a balance of time spent together and apart. Ideally, partners should spend about 70% of their time together and 30% apart, engaging in individual activities or hobbies. This balance can help maintain a healthy relationship by supporting individual growth and personal interests.

What is the # 1 rule of marriage?

The # 1 rule for a happy marriage is often cited as "treat your spouse the way you wish to be treated." This golden rule emphasizes respect, empathy, and consideration, forming the foundation of a supportive and loving relationship.

What is the golden ratio in marriage?

The golden ratio in marriage, also known as the magic ratio, is 5 to 1. This means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage experiences five or more positive interactions. This ratio is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship dynamic and ensuring long-term relationship satisfaction.

What helps couples communicate better?

Effective communication in marriage can be significantly improved through techniques such as active listening, using "I" statements to express feelings, recognizing nonverbal cues, practicing empathy, and being open to compromise and feedback. These strategies help couples understand each other better and resolve conflicts more effectively.

How to reconnect romantically?

Reconnecting romantically can be achieved through several practical steps: scheduling regular date nights, engaging in new activities together, expressing appreciation and gratitude, holding hands and increasing physical touch, planning getaways, and conducting weekly check-ins to discuss relationship status and emotions.

What is the mirroring exercise for couples?

The mirroring exercise for couples involves one partner sharing thoughts or feelings while the other reflects back what was heard. This exercise aims to enhance understanding and validation, ensuring that both partners feel heard and appreciated. It is particularly useful in resolving misunderstandings and deepening emotional connections.

What is flooding in a relationship?

Flooding occurs when a surge of emotional overwhelm or stress hormones prevents meaningful communication and problem-solving in a relationship. It is often triggered by intense arguments or conflicts and can lead to a 'fight or flight' response, which hampers healthy interaction and resolution.

What are the 4 horsemen in marriage?

The Four Horsemen in marriage, a concept developed by John Gottman, refers to four destructive behaviors: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling. Recognizing and addressing these behaviors is crucial as they can predict relationship failure if left unchecked.

What does falling out of love feel like?

Falling out of love may involve a lack of emotional connection and enjoyment in spending time together. This can manifest as sadness during interactions that were once enjoyable, an absence of affection, and a general disinterest in maintaining the relationship.

What is the 2-2-2 rule in relationships?

The 2-2-2 rule suggests that couples should go on a date every two weeks, spend a weekend away every two months, and take a week-long vacation every two years. This guideline helps maintain intimacy and connection by ensuring regular, quality time together amidst life's routine demands.

About the Author:

Susie Rome is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over three decades of experience in counseling couples and individuals. Susie specializes in advanced therapeutic techniques, including the Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy, to foster healthy relationships and promote effective communication. Her practice in Calabasas, California, focuses on helping couples navigate the complexities of intimacy, resolve conflicts, and build lasting bonds based on mutual respect and understanding.


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