When people get married, or partner long term, and have children, they usually have the best of intentions. You got married because you loved each other, you felt safe with another...and you felt like you were a team.
Over time, however, things can change. The stresses of everyday life and, frankly, of having children can lead to you losing this sense of connection and closeness and being there for each other.
When that happens, a negative cycle can start to develop. When you don't feel connected or that your needs are being met, you change your behavior towards each other. And when that starts, it just builds on itself. After awhile, you will have a number of different symptom happening- including miscommunication, arguing and lack of intimacy.
Couples counseling that only focuses on these symptoms never gets to the heart of the matter. The most effective approach these days is to focus on the underlying bond between you and getting more clarity on each other's needs and how to communicate them effectively.
Todd Sarner, MFT
California Licensed Marriage & Family Counselor (LMFT #47572)
I wanted to be a psychotherapist from an early age because I wanted to help kids. After my parents divorced, I went to see a counselor and I loved the experience. So when I went to college, I studied psychology with the intention of working with children.
However, over time, I came to have the very strong belief that in most cases it was better to work with the parents, not the kids. Not because I didn’t want to work with kids, but because I came to believe that it was the child’s parent who needed to be their answer, not a professional. So I dedicated myself to becoming someone who would help children by helping their parents- through Psychotherapy, Parent Consulting and Education, and Couples Counseling.
I do not believe that children need to have “perfect” childhoods. In fact, that isn’t very practical in becoming prepared for life. It’s ok if they have difficult feelings sometimes and their parents make mistakes. But I also believe that a lot of children experience a lot of unnecessary emotional upset and dynamics that can get in the way of them being emotionally healthy and living their fullest potential.
I received my Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from CIIS in 2001. In 2003, around the time my son was born, I began a 2 ½ year internship with leading Developmental Psychologist and Author, Dr. Gordon Neufeld, author of the international bestseller, Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. After my internship, Dr. Neufeld asked me to stay on as a Faculty Member of the Neufeld Insitute, a position I held for another 3 years.
Even though Neufeld’s work was mostly about child development and behavior and helping parents to be what their children need, it also introduced me more deeply into the world of adult attachment research and how the most important thing for the parent/child relationship AND a healthy marriage is the attachment bond.
In 2003, I also started my Parent Consulting practice, Transformative Parenting. I focused mostly on that work for several years but became more and more interested in helping the parents with their marriages as well.
Because of this, I became interested in the work of Dr. Sue Johnson, the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT), a clinically proven process for helping couples to resolve issues and have a more happy, healthy marriage. I completed the EFT Externship with Dr. Johnson and then completed the year-long Advanced EFT training with Dr. Rebecca Jourgenson.
A little while later, I became interested in the work of Dr. Stan Tatkin as well. Dr. Tatkin’s Psychological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) is a cutting-edge approach to working with couples that blends Attachment Science, Neurobiology and groundbreaking discoveries about the nervous system into a highly experiencial and effective problem to solving even the most difficult relationship issues. I was a member of Dr. Tatkin’s training group for over 4 years in both Marin and Berkeley.
Today, I blend the best of all these approaches to help couples leave behind negative cycles of interaction and communication behind for good so that they can have the marriage they deserve and so they can set a good example of positive relationship to their kids.
Book An Initial Consultation....
If my approach makes sense to you and you'd like to come in to have an initial appointment, click the button to the right to contact me. In most cases I will speak to both you and your partner (separately) on the phone to see if booking the consultation makes sense.