couple on a bench sitting with their backs to each other

Are You Feeling Disconnected, Disheartened and Alone in Your Relationship?

Do you wonder if your relationship will survive the lack of intimacy, love and affection you are currently experiencing?  Perhaps you lie awake at night, overwhelmed with anxiety, sadness and stress as you ponder the future.  Maybe you're consumed with rage after finding out that your spouse is having a physical or emotional affair, and you’re not even sure you want to save the marriage.  Or, are you just waiting until the kids have left for college before you deal with the broken pieces of the relationship?

Is there a lack of communication, misunderstanding, and increased conflict around money, sex, finances, blended family issues, extended family, and parenting responsibilities?  Do you feel exhausted, confused, stressed and disconnected from your marriage or relationship most of the time?  Maybe all you know for sure is that you’re just so tired of fighting all the time, but you feel confused, trapped and hopeless about the future.  Does it seem like it's too bad to stay but too good to leave???

If You Are Struggling with Your Marriage or Relationship, You Are Definitely Not Alone!

Most couples experience stress and conflict as they navigate through life’s greatest challenges over the course of the relationship.  These issues may involve a new baby, disagreements about sex, taking care of elderly parents, serious or chronic health problems, loss of a parent, financial stress, empty nest, mid-life changes, infidelity, hormonal issues, blended families, and the everyday challenges of juggling home, work and family responsibilities.  You are not alone in this struggle!  

view of beach road beside the sea

Marriage Counseling, Relationship Counseling or Couples Counseling Is Effective!

Although the above terms are often used interchangeably, the process of marriage or relationship counseling is often very effective in helping you improve your relationship.  Marriage counseling can teach you skills to improve communication, decrease conflict, increase intimacy and affection, and help you resolve the issues that are creating distress and lack of interest.  I have helped countless couples over the last 25 years rebuild trust, increase compassion and strengthen their commitment toward making their relationship work.  Even if you are feeling hopeless, angry and resentful toward your partner for an emotional or physical affair, there is still the possibility that your marriage can be saved.

What If My Partner Is Not Willing to Participate in Marriage Counseling or Couples Counseling?

Have you asked your partner to go to marriage counseling, but they refuse to go?  Do you feel like your voice is not being heard?  Marriage counseling or couples counseling can help, even if you attend by yourself.  Sometimes one partner is reluctant, unwilling or unmotivated to participate in couples counseling.  Perhaps your partner or spouse doesn’t believe in therapy and thinks it's a waste of time, energy and money.  Perhaps they don't want to discuss the past because they are afraid they will be blamed or confronted.  This may result in you feeling resentful and frustrated that the responsibility of repairing the marriage is left to you alone, without the support and effort of your partner.  Perhaps you feel like it's always your responsibility to take care of everything in the relationship, and with the kids, so this is just one more thing that falls on you to fix.  This is actually more common than you may think, but it's not a hopeless situation!

How Can the Marriage or Relationship Really Improve If I Attend Couples Counseling by Myself?

Couples counseling can still be effective even if you attend the sessions by yourself.  You will learn the necessary skills to improve communication, identify your wants and needs, heal your own past wounds and resentments,  and better understand personality and love style differences.  Your new skill set will help you create a stronger foundation to build love, trust and rapport, and may even prompt your partner to participate in the marriage therapy process.

green leaf in the shape of a heart

My Spouse Wants to Separate or is Filing for Divorce.  Can Marriage Counseling Save Our Marriage?

The short answer is- it depends.  When I see couples for marriage or couples counseling, I give them a short questionnaire that I designed to quickly assess what stage they are in, based on the level of love, commitment, motivation, and willingness to participate in marriage counseling.  The longer you wait and the later the stage, the more difficult it is to save the relationship.  However, if you are motivated and committed to the process of learning new skills and implementing them, there is hope that you may be able to heal the relationship.  Yes, even if you attend couples counseling by yourself, you may be able to improve the outlook by changing your own behavior, which may then change the relationship dynamic between you.

What if I’m Not Even Sure I Want to Save The Relationship?  I Think I’m Done!

I understand your confusion, hesitancy and uncertainty about participating in marriage therapy or relationship counseling when you're not sure of your goal.  However, this is a common concern when you are unclear about whether you even want to save the marriage or relationship.  I have worked with hundreds of clients over the last 25 years who were confused and uncertain about the future of their marriage or relationship. Therapy can help you sort through the confusion in a safe and supportive environment.  Your friends and family may offer support and opinions, but often they come from an understandable place of bias and sometimes make things worse.  My goal is to help you figure out what is best for you, and help you work through the maze of confusion and fear in order for you to get unstuck and move forward.

We Have Tried Couples Therapy Before and It Didn’t Help.  

I have heard this frequently from my clients regarding their previous participation in individual or couples therapy, or both.  Perhaps there are multiple reasons why previous therapy was not successful, but many studies indicate that the best predictor of a successful outcome in therapy is the rapport and trust between the client and therapist, also known as the therapeutic alliance.  Research indicates that the gender, age, culture or experience of the therapist is less significant than whether the client and therapist create this therapeutic alliance, indicating that it is a good fit.   Of course, this is more complicated when meeting with couples in marriage counseling or relationship counseling, because each partner has to feel comfortable with the therapist.  The best way to determine this is to schedule an initial meeting with me, and if it’s not a good fit for either or both of you, I will try to point you in the right direction.  Typically, both male and female clients tell me that they like my results oriented approach more than the traditional marriage or relationship counseling they have tried previously. My solution focused approach is based on years of experience of what does and does not work, incorporates the latest tools and techniques recommended by noted marriage and relationship experts in the field and is customized to identify and address the specific issues and concerns you face with your spouse or partner.  Once we identify the problems and issues, we create an action plan customized to your situation.

What is Unique About Your Approach?

My approach is unique because I meet with partners individually and jointly. This allows me to help you with your own specific concerns, issues and behaviors, and helps diminish the conflict that brought you to couples counseling in the first place.  It also helps create a more safe and supportive environment without your partner using what happens in the session as a weapon against you in a moment of anger.  I have helped hundreds of couples successfully since 1994 using this exact approach.  Of course, we also meet jointly periodically to discuss the progress, additional concerns and modify the plan as needed.  Are you ready to rediscover joy, passion and re-connection in your relationship?

What Should I Do Now? How To Contact Me for Couples Counseling or Marriage Counseling:

Please call or email me to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation or schedule an appointment in my Irvine office.

Phone: (949) 261-8299     

Shellee Moore, LMFT

20 Corporate Park, Suite 215

Irvine, CA 92606

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
— Albert Einstein