Your Couples Specialist:

Moving from Hopeless to Hopeful:
How Couples Therapy Can Bring You Close Again

If you have hesitated or postponed seeking counseling for your relationship, you can feel assured: You are not alone. In fact, we know couples may hesitate for years before seeking help.

You likely share a dilemma with many other couples as you wonder:

  • How did our special, incredible attraction and love for each other become so painful?
  • Why do small things now become major disagreements?
  • How did we become so distant? We seem to almost be in separate worlds.
  • Where did our intimacy go?

You also are not alone if you are struggling in your relationship. Today’s pressures on couples are indeed great. Work, careers, the arrival of children, the empty nest and retirement -- all present challenges to maintaining the close connection you felt when you fell in love.

Many couples find they have fallen into a pattern of challenging communication in which important concerns never seem to get resolved.

But, most important of all, you don’t want your relationship to end. You're seeking a return to the loving, caring relationship that originally brought you together.

The First Step Toward Hope

Couples often tell me they hoped they could improve their relationship without outside help. They've read a few books, maybe attended a seminar or scheduled date nights. But nothing "stuck." They soon found they returned to their troubling patterns of arguing and/or becoming increasingly (and painfully) distant.

I understand. It can feel like a big, scary step to seek help with your most important relationship.

Perhaps the biggest fear I hear is: What if even this doesn't work? What if we take the bold step and start couples therapy and we fail?

Counseling can help recapture the love that first brought you together.

My commitment is to help you with the best possible approach to helping couples. I use Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, the leading and most-effective approach. This brief model (averaging 10 to 20 sessions) gives you a new framework for your relationship as well as a process for tackling life's inevitable challenges in the future.

How Couples Therapy Can Make a Difference

What you learn in couples therapy you will take with you into the future. You can become skilled and confident going forward together.

Together, we take a path to a deeper understanding of each of you and to a true understanding of the issues in the relationship. You'll gain new, often dramatic insight into how your relationship got off track. You'll learn to respect and value each other's strengths and to extend compassion to your partner's personal challenges and to support each other with loving kindness.

It's not always an easy journey. However, I am there for you, to gently guide you, to fully understand each of you and to help you move toward a new, stronger connection.

Couples who are willing to make a commitment to working on their relationship have the potential to move toward healing the past and returning to the closeness and unique connection that brought them together.

Some Answers to Your Concerns & Questions

So, here are some common questions and answers to help you understand how professional couples therapy works and what to expect:

Selecting a counselor has become easier now with the Web. Many of us are offering a lot of information on our Web sites that you can read and give you a feel for how we work. I update my site with blog posts on current issues and on concerns that I know couples are experiencing. You and your partner have an opportunity to leisurely learn about me together before making an initial phone call. And, you can schedule a pre-appointment phone call with me to ask questions and see whether you feel we are a fit.

"Taking sides" is a concern I sometimes hear when a couple reports they tried counseling in the past and did not feel a benefit. The model I use, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, prevents my focusing on one partner to the exclusion of the other. And, I work hard so that both of you feel truly heard and understood -- first by me and then by each other.

Counselor skill is an understandable question. I specialize in working with couples and with individuals only on relationship issues. This specific focus is helpful for both of us.

When I trained in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, I made a commitment to following the most successful approach to helping couples. And, like others who use this method, we are constantly increasing our knowledge and skills, keeping abreast of the latest research and attending additional training.

I also bring to my work with couples a background in working with people who experience depression, anxiety, addiction/substance abuse and ADD/ADHD; so, if this is a concern in the relationship, I can understand how the couple is affected and, when indicated, make a referral for some individual assistance.

Understanding your unique situation is essential for therapy to be successful. As an experienced therapist, I focus on each couple and their concerns. I don't judge or make assumptions. My approach is gentle, and it is my hope that, as couples begin to feel comfortable, they can be open about their deeper feelings. And, I encourage couples to let me know when they have any concerns about any part of our process together.

How long does therapy take? The approach I use is a "brief model." A lot depends on the couple, and estimates range from 10 to 20 sessions. I ask couples to make a commitment of coming once a week at the beginning so that they can begin to experience a difference and avoid becoming discouraged. My hope is to help you reduce the painful parts of your relationship as quickly as possible. I also suggest couples read the latest book by the developer of the therapy method, which can save you money if fewer counseling sessions are needed.

Will counseling help us? Often this is the biggest question for couples. You can download the report on my home page that addresses this question. My commitment is to help you reach your goals and to help you build a new understanding of how to maintain a healthy relationship into the future.

You can also learn more on the "My Approach" page.

Linda Schwartz is a Licensed Professional Counselor who works exclusively with couples and individuals on relationship issues. She uses Emotionally Focused Couple therapy, the most effective approach to helping couples recapture their close connection, to learn to resolve issues through deepening their understanding of each other's needs and to heal infidelity and any past hurts in the relationship. Linda offers a free, 15-minute phone consultation to answer your questions about the counseling process. She can be reached at (602) 882-0533 or .

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Many couples face difficult challenges at some point in their lives together. Unfortunately, about half of first marriages end in divorce. However, that may not have to be the case for your relationship."

Linda Schwartz, Couples Counseling