Couple’s Therapy / Marriage Counseling

Marriage Counseling / Couples’ Therapy in Berkeley, CA

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Marriage Counseling in Berkeley

Though being coupled/married is no guarantee of lasting happiness, and not a desired state for everyone, the longing for love is inherent in human nature. The experience of committing to sharing oneself and one’s life with another human being can open us to some of the most enriching and liberating possibilities that life can offer.

For better, or for worse, it is no accident that we choose who we choose to fall in love with.  Embedded in our choices, knowingly, and unknowingly we are often drawn by powerful longings to be loved and understood as never before. It is in the intimate crucible of committed relationships, even in fundamentally good relationships, that we are most likely to encounter our deepest hurts and disappointments. Unrealistic expectations and old wounds often rear their heads in ways that would not happen elsewhere in our lives.  The joy of being in love can, and often does, give way to varying degrees of disappointment.  The qualities that are so attractive initially, with time, become sources of irritation.  The person who once seemed so charming and made you laugh, now seems irresponsible and flighty.  The one who impressed you with their work ethic and dedication, now seems rigid and unspontaneous.  The effort to change the other locks the two individuals into a power struggle that deadens the relationship, and that neither can win. We at The Berkeley Institute provide marriage counseling / couples counseling services that can enrich your relationship.

What is Couples’ Therapy

Couples’ therapy, as I see it, is largely about helping each individual to really see and hear the other, to be honest in a caring way, and to communicate in a non-blaming way about who they are and what they need.  This takes great courage because it makes us vulnerable and raises fears about loss and rejection. It has been my experience, however, that this kind of respectful engagement is far more likely to strengthen a relationship than to destroy it, and represents a fundamental value I bring to my work with couples at The Berkeley Institute.

Couples Counseling Can Help

A couple does not need to be in crisis, or on the brink of breaking up or divorcing to benefit from therapy.  In fact, it is optimal when couples can get help to work through difficulties early on before patterns become stuck and harder to change.  Couples who have experienced serious threats to their relationship can be helped when both are willing to engage in a process of self discovery, and genuine curiosity.

Attending Marriage Counseling

Coming to couples therapy / marriage counseling is not necessarily a commitment to staying in the relationship. Not all marriages can, or should be saved.  It is not my position as a therapist to decide what is right for any particular couple.  However, it is my conviction that it is important to thoughtfully engage in a process which can help both parties to discover what is and what is not possible.  Only then can a truly considered decision be made. When the decision to end a marriage, however painful, is made, couples’ therapy can be very useful in helping the individuals say goodbye in a way that minimizes damage, and can enhance the capacity for each to move forward into their lives in a better way.

Loving The Wrong Person

As I reflect on my work with couples as a marriage counselor, I find the following quote by Galway Kinnell to be especially meaningful:

Loving The Wrong Person

We are all seeking that special person who is right for us.  But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there is no right person, just different flavors of wrong.  Why is this?  Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way.  But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness.  It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you who you are—that you’re ready to find a lifelong mate.  Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for.  You’re looking for the wrong person.  But not just any wrong person.  It’s got to be the right wrong person;  someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

We Provide Couples Therapy / Marriage Counseling Services To:

The Berkeley Institute provides services to Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Piedmont, Emeryville, Orinda, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Walnut Creek, Richmond, El Sobrante, San Pablo, LaFayette, San Rafael, San Francisco, Tiburon, Sausalito and surrounding areas. There are people from additional communities we serve in Northern California within our office in person.  We also provide services to people via electronic media.   Skype seems to be best but phone and IM’ing can also be effective.  It is  best to have had contact in person at the beginning of services and where possible a mixture of in person and face to face treatment via modern communication technology.  We can work effectively with many individuals anywhere that people are served by the internet.  Such services are supported by a growing number of studies and increasingly favorable laws across the USA.


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