Finding the best, most experienced marriage counselors in San Francisco is no small feat. Even if someone looks great on paper, the most important consideration is the connection you have with your marriage counselor – whether you can fully trust this person or not and that he or she really cares about your unique situation. Finding the right one will probably take some time and work, but it’s worth the effort.
Here are a few rules to live by while you’re getting counseling:
- Don’t talk about your marriage with others. It feels nice to unload, but it’s not helpful.
- They are rarely blunt but listen for the subtle observations that your marriage might be doomed.
- There isn’t a good one. Neither of you is better than the other. One of you isn’t innocent.
- Your counselor knows when you’re cheating. Don’t try to hide it.
San Francisco Marriage Counselors
We took the time to build a list of top-notch marriage counselors in San Francisco who value life-long commitment between spouses and are dedicated to helping marriages succeed.
As founder of the Love Therapy Center, Yaji Tramontini believes in using Holistic and Naturopathic approaches to weed out hopelessness and despair in a relationship and replace them with empowerment, optimism, and love. Yaji will help you explore your most-deep rooted fears and let you acknowledge them as the main cause of unhealthy behavior in your marriage. Yaji believes that focusing on unconditional love and acceptance is paramount to healing your relationship. The Love Therapy Center offers a wide variety of services including a relationship boot camp which can be taken as a 75-minute session per week or a single 5-7 hour breakthrough session. Yaji also employs a scientifically proven and effective technique called EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which can help you and your spouse deal with painful experiences in the past in a more positive and realistic way. The Love Therapy Center aside from its San Francisco office, provide counseling in San Diego and San Jose.
Dr. Bear Korngold
Dr. Bear Korngold’s credentials make him one of the most qualified marriage counselors in San Francisco. With a doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) and over 10 years of training and experience in various institutions focusing on marriage and family counseling, you can have confidence in the fact that Dr. Korngold can bring remarkable results to your relationship. In his psychotherapy approach, he delves deep into an individual’s innate character and constitution to be able to properly identify why spouses behave the way they do and why problems persist within their marriage. He also uses a combination of psychoanalytic perspective and cognitive-behavioral techniques as well as Eastern medicine to alter unhealthy or disruptive lifelong patterns and bring back a strong and loving marital relationship. His San Francisco office is located in Noe Valley along the commercial corridor of 24th Street. Therapy sessions usually run 50 minutes although longer sessions can be arranged.
We asked Dr. Bear Korngold, what’s the most important piece of advice you can give to a struggling couple?
“Couples do not have to remain stuck in a continuous pattern of fighting, negative feelings and resentment. With a little guidance and support, many couples I work with are able to permanently repair and improve their relationship difficulties around intimacy, money, parenting, time and more.”
When you want to focus on healing instead of the past, San Franciso therapist Alison Leigh might be the best choice. Leigh is a licensed psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience. She specializes in Somatic Psychotherapy which utilizes the body to access the unconscious. Unlike traditional psychotherapy in marriage counseling, somatic psychotherapy allows the clients to experience instant positive change right in the moment. Leigh also believes that it works better in speeding up recovery and healing between spouses regardless of the length and depth of marital issues. This is a great choice for you if you don’t want to spend your time processing your painful history. Instead, you can get straight to learning skills that will resolve the problems that have been affecting your relationship. Leigh is open to working with all types of people, married, straight, couples and individuals. She also specializes in working with LGBT couples.
We asked Alison, what’s the most important piece of advice you can give to a struggling couple?
“If I had one piece of advice, it would be to take some time to get really clear on each person’s needs and desires both as individuals as well as a couple. Most people are in co-dependent relationships where they think they have to give something up to get something which is not at all true. People lose themselves, their own individuality once they are immersed as a couple. So instead of being co-dependent, I aim for couples to be inter-dependent where each person’s needs and desires are met as well as their goals and desires are met for them as a couple.”
When Julia Flood first opened her San Francisco office in 2009 after becoming a licensed psychotherapist, she made it her goal to help couples in crisis rediscover the joy, surprise, and closeness in their relationship. Julia strongly believes that your marriage is worth fighting for, and needs to be given a real chance to succeed. In order to do so, you need to break free from the vicious cycle of hurting and being hurt. During your marriage counseling sessions with Julia, she will help you in uncovering and breaking out destructive patterns and in restoring trust and intimacy within your relationship. Julia also specializes in helping multi-cultural couples deal with cultural and religious differences that often pose major stumbling blocks to their relationship. She offers an initial 20-minute phone consultation free of charge and regular sessions are 60-minutes for couples. If Julia is someone you are considering, you can also check out her blog, where she covers topics such as Divorce Proofing Your Marriage.
We asked Julia, what’s the most important piece of advice you can give to a struggling couple?
“You might be feeling very little hope for your relationship right now. As a couples therapist, I see my job as holding that hope for you for a while, until you can see whether it is possible to rebuild your commitment. The question isn’t so much whether you’re committed for life, but whether you both can commit now to working hard in therapy on your relationship. Your relationship is definitely worth fighting for and needs to be given a real chance to succeed. Couples therapy can offer the tools and space you need as a pair to give your relationship that chance.”
Fiachra O’Sullivan came from a family of psychotherapists but spent considerable time in the corporate world before answering the call to become one. Even though he is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, being a psychotherapist in San Francisco and Marin County is really a vocation for him rather than just a job. O’Sullivan believes that marriage can become ‘a healing art’ and ‘a restorative power’ if both individuals believe that it is more than just an agreement between two lovers. During therapy sessions, he treats his clients as equal participants – ‘initiators’ and ‘experts’ in their own process. His role as the ‘reflector’ helps spouses in transforming this process into something that will bring healing into the relationship. O’Sullivan recommends an initial couples counseling session of 80 minutes though subsequent sessions are typically 50 minutes.
We asked Fiachra, what’s the most important piece of advice you can give to a struggling couple?
“Everybody fights. Ensuring you never fight or have a moment of disconnection is a waste of energy and a task you won’t succeed at. Fighting or having moments of disconnection is painful because being connected to one another is so important. When one shifts to viewing relationship distress through such a perspective, a new world of possibilities, love, emotional connection and bonding opens up.”
What to Expect from a Marriage Counselor
The most important thing to remember about a marriage counselor is that they don’t do any work. That sounds odd, but in reality, it’s you and your spouse who have to do all of the work. Your counselor can guide you, give you tools to help you on your journey, and help you avoid pitfalls, but they can’t save your marriage.
Don’t expect your marriage counselor to save your marriage. It’s your marriage; you and your spouse have to save it.
Don’t look for your counselor to validate your perspective. In other words, don’t look for your counselor to “take your side” against your spouse. It takes two to tango and it takes two to mess up a marriage.
Check out some more advice in this article: https://guidedoc.com/5-successful-methods-in-marriage-therapy-counseling. It can show you some of the techniques that your marriage counselor might use to help you recover your relationship.
Remeber: Marriage counseling is work, but so is divorce. And counseling is a lot less expensive.