I believe all couples can benefit from counseling to reduce stress, conflict and negative interaction. Couples counseling can significantly improve relationship strengths and increase intimacy and happiness. Even the healthiest of couples experience some degree of conflict in their relationship. The key to maintaining lasting connection with your partner is addressing conflictual issues head-on and not letting your less-loving interactions define the way you relate to each other.

 

Throughout my experience working with numerous couples, I have found the primary issue most couples struggle with is communication. Improving effective communication skills leaves both parties feeling heard and validated. The cornerstone to the connection we all crave as people, is feeling seen, understood and valued. In my practice, my approach emphasizes helping you improve your active listening, communication, and negotiation skills so you can reach a deeper level of understanding and emotional intimacy.

 

I primarily work with couples through the lens of Attachment Theory. I help couples understand their own and their partner's attachment needs and emotions and how to better communicate those needs to each other. Humans are “hardwired” to form a strong bond or attachment to their adult partner. When that attachment bond feels threatened, your brain automatically reacts as if you are in danger, triggering fight (arguing, criticism and blame), flight (distancing and disengaging) or freeze (stonewalling, numbing and paralysis) responses. When this danger response is triggered over and over again, you begin to find yourselves reacting strongly to small things. Over time, your reactions to each other form a pattern and it takes less and less to put you into a “negative cycle” of arguing or disengaging. I help couples learn to recognize the negative cycle, slow down their immediate reactions, decrease defensiveness and truly listen to their partner's deeper feelings. This results in a more secure and vibrant relationship.

I have helped couples with a range of concerns, including:

  • Navigating life transitions such as marriage, the birth of children, coping with a child’s illness or special needs, empty nest and retirement. 

  • Reaching agreement on unresolved issues such as finances, intimacy, and parenting.

  • Maintaining one’s relationship as a priority amidst busy careers and life stressors,

  • Recovering from betrayals and hurtful events, including infidelity.

  • Resolving issues related to addiction and recovery from trauma.

  • Navigating relationship dissolution and maintaining family harmony.

Heather Totten Counseling

16255 Ventura Blvd. Suite 502, Encino, CA 91436

(818) 928-5234

© by Heather Totten, LMFT - License #LMFT111114 - All Rights Reserved