Couples Counseling in Downtown Los Angeles: 3 Obstacles That Keep You From Getting Help

by Connor McClenahan


couples counselingIt’s Sunday, and that familiar fight comes up again, leaving you exhausted. You know you aren’t in a good place, and maybe you feel hopeless.  Here’s the complaints I often hear from couples:


  • “We just don’t understand each other – we’re fundamentally different.”
  • “We always argue about the same problems.”
  • “I don’t know how else to talk about our problems. We need help.”


Many couples in downtown Los Angeles want to overcome their problems and know they need help, but don’t seek out couples counseling. And it’s often for a good reason. Here’s 3 reasons couples don’t go to counseling.


1. Couples counseling feels overwhelming.

Many couples are afraid that couples counseling would make their problems worse. They’re worried their problem will come to the surface and they won’t be able to handle it. This fear of conflict is an obstacle that keeps couples from getting the counseling they need.


This is understandable. Many of us have bad experiences with conflict. Maybe we were hurt or abandoned when things got heated, and learned to avoid conflict by ignoring, complying, or controlling others. It’s hard to imagine that conflict can lead to resolution and understanding. This is the goal of couples counseling, and working through fears of conflict is central.


2. Couples counseling feels exposing.

Often we don’t seek couples counseling because we’re afraid of being exposed. We’re afraid that something hidden will

come to the surface. We fear that these hidden behaviors, such as pornography addiction, secret drug use, or spending habits, will drive a larger wedge between you and your partner.


The fear of exposure keeps couples from getting help. We tell ourselves it’s easier to keep the issue hidden. Yet we know these behaviors often keep us from experiencing the life-giving relationship we want with our partner. A skilled therapist will work with you and won’t reveal anything without your consent.


3. Couples counseling is vulnerable.

Many couples don’t make the first call because they don’t trust the therapist. They are anxious that the therapist won’t honor the values of the couples, but instead push his or her own values into the relationship.


So the couple doesn’t move forward. Instead they stay in a position of helplessness, fearful that no one will be able to help.


What couples counseling can do for you

If you can move past these three fears, there’s possibility for change. Here’s what I see in couples when they take the first step and come in to therapy:

  • Increased empathy. When a couple slows down and talks, I see them grow in their emotional connection. While the conflict doesn’t immediately go away, they grow a solid foundation of understanding and compassion. This is a great relief to many couples who can sense the other person is “on my team”.


  • Less hot topics. Couples find they have less “hot topics” that drive them apart. More things become talk-able.


  • Increased co-regulation. Co-regulation is a word that describes a couple’s ability to manage difficult emotions. When couples feel connected to each other’s emotions, they can resolve conflict easily. Like coming up and down a roller-coaster, couples learn that they can stay connected in difficult times.


Why do couples counseling in downtown Los Angeles?

Finding time for couples counseling can be difficult. Couples often have trouble coordinating schedules around work and kids. Whether you live or work in downtown Los Angeles, our office makes couples counseling convenient for you. Many times couples who both work downtown can come in together on their lunch break. Couples who live in downtown Los Angeles often walk to our office without the added stress of finding parking. This convenience makes it easy for you to get started in couples counseling.


Need help? Reach out to the author

Connor McClenahan

Connor McClenahan, PsyD

(626) 899-4384