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Couples Therapy FAQs

Orange County couples therapist Dr. Susan Pazak has helped hundreds of couples strengthen their relationships. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions she ofter receives.

Couples therapy is meant to help couples understand and resolve conflicts to improve their relationship by giving them the tools to communicate with more compassion and less fear; and learning to problem-solve and deal with conflict in a healthy way.

Poor communications which may show as arguing, blaming, avoiding and ignoring you or the problems in the relationship.

In an unhealthy relationship, one or more participants may experience a range of negative behaviors or patterns that can be emotionally, physically, or psychologically damaging. These red flags can vary significantly in severity, but they generally revolve around manipulation, control, disrespect, and a lack of mutual care and support. Here is a list of common red flags to look out for:

  1. Controlling behavior
  2. Lying and Gaslighting
  3. No respect for boundaries
  4. Verbal, emotional or physical abuse
  5. Lack of support
  6. Neglect or indifference
  7. Blaming and denying responsibility
  8. Unequal power dynamics, including financial control
  9. Ignoring or dismissing your feelings

You can talk to your friends for support, but they probably don’t have any experience working with many couples who have similar challenges. Couples therapy includes a wide array of distinct treatments that are evidence based in the efficacy of the treatment in reducing relationship distress and enhancing relationship quality. A good couples therapist has the insight and wisdom and the tools to help you work through your problems to help you repair the relationship or decide to end it. 

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, over 98% of couples in therapy report that therapy services were excellent. After receiving treatment, almost 90% of clients report an improvement in their emotional health, and nearly two-thirds report an improvement in their overall physical health. A majority of clients report an improvement in their functioning at work, and over three-fourths of those receiving marital/couples or family therapy report an improvement in the couple relationship.

  • The timing of therapy: Couples often wait a significant amount of time after serious issues arise before seeking therapy. Couples who engage in therapy earlier in their conflicts may have a higher success rate than those who wait until their problems are entrenched.
  • Quality of Therapy: The experience, training, and approach of the therapist can significantly impact the success of therapy. Different therapists have different success rates based on their methodology and experience.
  • Commitment to Therapy: For therapy to be effective, both partners generally need to be committed to the process and to making changes. If one partner is not fully invested, therapy is less likely to be successful.
  • Severity of Issues: Not all problems are equally resolvable. Some issues, such as serious breaches of trust, chronic infidelity, or abusive behavior, are more challenging to resolve than others.
  • Follow-Through: Couples who continue to use the tools and techniques they learned in therapy in their day-to-day life are more likely to maintain their gains over time.
  • Individual Mental Health: Sometimes, individual issues (such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse) can impact the relationship, and addressing these issues can be crucial for couples therapy to be effective.

Schedule a couples therapy session

Like individual therapy, couples counseling often involves hard work like confronting painful truths, making difficult changes, and working through intense emotions. Therefore, the willingness of both partners to engage with this process is a key factor in the success of couples therapy.

Dr. Susan Pazak specializes in couples therapy. With kindness and compassion she can help you work through your relationship problems and find better ways to be in relationship. Schedule an in-person therapy session at Dr. Pazak’s Laguna Niguel office in Orange County or schedule a virtual therapy session.


At a Glance

Dr. Susan Pazak, MD

  • Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Clinical Psychology
  • Voted best psychologist in Laguna Niguel 3 years
  • Studied marital & sexual satisfaction in couples
  • Learn more

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