When the passion of your relationship plateaus, what's next? When your relationship reaches milestones such as the birth or departure of children, are you struggling with the adjustment? How strong is the foundation of your friendship? Do you feel that your partner understands you in essential ways? Many couples imagine that conflict indicates relationship trouble-especially when certain issues repeatedly surface with no forward movement. Research proves that need not be the case. Conflict in relationship is normal; it's how you manage conflict that matters. There are clear and learnable skills that will deepen your friendship and love.
I am passionate about helping couples navigate challenging relationship territory that is difficult and painful. Whether struggling with conflict, communication difficulties, infidelity or loss of sexual interest, I can help. My approach is informed by the latest research methods aimed at helping improve relationship dynamics while strengthening your emotional bond. I find deep gratification in creating a safe place for couples to enhance their capacity for listening compassionately, sharing innermost thoughts and feelings while discovering their vulnerabilities with acceptance.
My Work with Couples in and around Marin and Sonoma Counties
Thank you for taking the time to gain a bit more information about the way I work with couples in my therapy practice.
I use a research based structured approach to couples therapy. Having studied and trained extensively with Drs. John and Julie Gottman and having used their approach in my practice with couples, I have found that their structure provides a solid foundation upon which to begin to look closely and sensitively at your relationship.
There are four phases to this work; An assessment phase, the therapy or work process, wrapping things up and a 6 month follow-up once therapy with me has ended.
The first four sessions are devoted to an assessment of your relationship; your history together and what brought you to where you are today.
In the first 90-minute session I conduct an oral history with both of you about your relationship; how you met, what attracted you to one another, what your dating experience was like, adjustment to living with one another, becoming new parents, etc. At the end of our first session, you'll each receive a Gottman assessment packet containing a questionnaire that will ask specific questions about the current state of your relationship, as well as what you hope to achieve during our work together. Each of you will separately complete this questionnaire packet and bring it back with you for your individual interviews the following week.
Individual interviews are typically 60 minutes in length. These are focused specifically on you; your perspective of the issues at play in your relationship, your hopes and expectations, your personal relationship history, your experience growing up in your family of origin, etc.
The fourth meeting is a joint 90-minute session in which I will review with you the findings in your assessments. I will have identified the strengths and vulnerabilites in your relationship and will suggest goals and objectives with your input for our therapy work going forward.
If we are on the same page, our therapy work will begin with weekly 90-minute therapy sessions in which you'll learn new strategies and skills targeted at the goals and objectives we have identified together. Many of these strategies are based on the research of the Gottman's. I will also utilize strategies and couples therapy exercises from other well-grounded theoretical orientations as we move into the therapy process phase of our work together.
Along the way I will strongly encourage you to practice your newly acquired skills at home. I have heard from clients that this is the most difficult part of the work. Home tends to be where couples so easily slip back into their habitual emotional and behavioral patterns of interaction. I often tell my clients that learning new ways of relating and communicating is very similar to leaning a new language; we have to practice the skills in order to use them effectively.
The goal is for you to have more effective and healthy ways of relating to one another so that your relationship thrives and you no longer need me!
If this sounds like something that you'd like to explore, or if you have other questions about my work with couples, please don't hesitate to contact me.
I welcome your calls: 415.459.3290
Another Option: Marathon Therapy Sessions/Couples Weekend Retreat in Wine Country
I am aware that some couples may not have the time or money to invest in weekly couples therapy sessions. I have another format that may be more realistic and economical; marathon couples therapy sessions. Marathon therapy sessions offer an intensive and focused approach to relationship issues that can help you move quickly through specific issues and learn important new skills in a short period of time. Marathon sessions are typically held on weekends. They are also perfect for couples who would like to get away for a wine country retreat and use the time to focus on their relationship.
If this is something you might be interested in, please feel free to contact me at 415.459.3290
Paula Siegel, MFT
San Rafael Office Location
711 D Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
Sonoma Office Location
670 West Napa Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
Paula Siegel, MFT provides counseling and therapy services specializing for Couples, Families, and Individuals.
Proudly Serving: Marin, Napa, and Sonoma counties; Sonoma, Glenn Ellen, Napa, San Rafael, San Anselmo, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and Novato, CA