As a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples therapy in San Diego, CA, as well as divorce therapy, I am expert in helping marriages and individuals to thrive, not merely survive! By understanding yesterday, people can be empowered to gain more fulfillment in the present and realize dreams into the future. It is a an act of courage to embark upon a journey in relationship counseling, marriage counseling, couples counseling, or individual counseling. If your answer is "yes" to many of the following questions, you may want to consider relationship counseling as a way to repair or even strengthen your relationship.

Do you find yourself easily annoyed by your partner or feel like he/she does not appreciate you?
Have you stopped dating and wonder what happened to the passion you felt when you first got together?
Now that the kids have left and you have an "empty nest," do you look at your partner and wonder how you lost each other along the way?
Do you worry at the effects separation and divorce might have on your children?

Do you ask yourself?

  • Why can't he see that I am exhausted and need help with the kids tonight?
  • Why do I have to point it out and ask him to do it?
  • Why do I feel like I am on a rollercoaster?
  • Why do I always feel as if I have to tiptoe around my partner ?
  • Doesn't he "get it?"--I do everything around here. I am just too exhausted to have sex tonight!  
  • Why is it such a big deal that I want to go out with the guys?
  • Why do we always have to be together?
  • Can't she understand that we need to save money for retirement instead of always living "in the moment?"
  • Why is she always turning me away and rejecting me when I ask her for sex?
  • If she doesn't stop nagging me, I'm gone!

While these problems may seem like minor annoyances or fleeting irritations, they can, over time, grow into divisive issues that lead you to drift further apart. Compassionate couples counseling in San Diego, CA can assist you with:

  • Sorting out confusing feelings
  • Improving your ability to hold on to yourself while still remaining connected
  • Improving communication
  • Increasing your ability to remain calm enough to apply your best thinking during an argument
  • Increasing intimacy and understanding
  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Improving your sex life
  • Enjoying being together and apart

Perhaps you feel such deep anger and resentment toward your partner's past hurts that you believe that your marriage can never heal.
Perhaps it has gotten to the point that you feel so dissatisfied with your relationship that you are contemplating divorce. I have the tools, insight, and training to help you move onto a more satisfying path. Divorce counseling in San Diego, CA, can assist you with:

  • Keeping your relationship from becoming so toxic so as to scar your children
  • Positive co-parenting
  • Personal growth and transformation
  • Keeping a clear head in order to make good decisions
  • Moving forward with your life goals and precious dreams

Why continue to drown in an unhappy relationship? Now is the time to learn how to manage your life, discuss sensitive topics positively, and learn how to build the relationships that you truly want. In the long run, a course of relationship counseling will be more economically, emotionally and spiritually feasible than divorce. You have the right to enjoy fulfilling and happy relationships. You have the right to thrive instead of merely survive!

As a clinician with training at the doctoral level, I have assisted married couples, divorcing couples, families and individuals for several years. I address numerous concerns, including marital problems, family conflict, parental issues, depression, anxiety, grief and loss, substance abuse, and aging issues such as empty nest adjustment, to name a few. I am passionate about my work in the fields of individual counseling, couples counseling, and marriage counseling. I am very respectful of the notion that it takes great courage to embark upon a path of personal growth and change. I have been trained, mentored or studied under some of the greats in marriage and family therapy, including Dr. Michael Kerr, Jay Haley, Drs. Gary Lawson and Ann Lawson and Dr. Dan Papero.

In working with couples, I believe that two strong "I's" make the strongest possible "we." Because I am a systems therapist, I also believe that it is possible to do couples therapy with only one partner. In systems thinking, if there is a change in one person, the relationship will be impacted and change as well. Thus, if one partner is resistant to couples counseling or counseling that moves a divorcing couple toward an amicable conclusion, the other partner may still positively impact the relationship by doing individual work.

I bring with me rich life experience and clients have often noted my warm, nurturing style of practice. I am easy to talk to, supportive, and not judgmental. While working toward change is serious business, humor has its place in my sessions as well. I bring a wealth of knowledge that I have acquired through my doctoral studies, teaching, and life experience. I am a firm believer in the notion that we are always "becoming," and adversity offers all of us the opportunity to become stronger, not in spite of the adversity, but because of it!

My experience includes teaching as an adjunct professor at an accredited graduate school of marital and family therapy, where I have taught such classes as aging well, parent-child therapy techniques, theories of marriage and family therapy, and marriage and family therapy techniques. My doctoral research focused on grief and loss, and my dissertation was a case study of the effective, resiliency-based treatment I developed for family survivors of homicide and other violent losses.

Additionally, I am proud to announce that I have published a chapter entitled "A Family Systems Treatment for the Impaired Physician" in an updated academic textbook entitled ALCOHOLISM AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN DIVERSE POPULATIONS, Second Edition (2010) (Eds. G.W. Lawson & A.W. Lawson).

In summary, my training, compassion, life experience, and insight offer clients a unique opportunity to transcend current problems in the service of their own growth and developing maturity. I am happy to offer a complimentary telephone consultation to help you decide whether this model of psychotherapy may be a fit for you. You can create change in your life and overcome difficult, seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Remember that seeking counseling guidance is not a sign of weakness, but one of true courage. Counseling can empower you to thrive, not just survive. Call me now as a first step toward taking back your life! 

Dr. Barbara Cunningham offers Psychotherapy in San Diego, CA. Couples Counseling in San Diego, CA, Relationship Counseling in San Diego, CA, and Marriage Counseling in San Diego, CA. Convenient to Mission Valley and La Jolla. 




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