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Reasons You May Need Couples Therapy in San Diego

July 12, 2022Posted by: admin | 
How to Improve your Intimacy

All couples disagree in one way or another in their relationship. The conflicts may vary; some may be small, large, or recurring; whichever the case, it is important to explore and work on them for the relationship to continue thriving. The best solution is to visit couples therapy sessions to help sort out your issues.

There are different reasons why partners may need to go for couples or marriage counseling in San Diego, CA; they include:

You Have Lots Of Hurtful Arguments

Couples handle conflicts differently; some may choose to be silent, confrontational, or even lead to physical fights. Whether the handling of the conflicts by the spouses is passive or aggressive, they will hurt the relationship or marriage. Couples counseling sessions will help diffuse conflicts healthy, respectable, and reasonable manner.

Premarital Counseling

Couples may face different issues before tying the knot, including finances, household duties, or even questions about the children. Premarital counseling will help sort some of these issues respectfully, contentedly, and amicably. Premarital counseling can also enable you to agree with your partner on how you will associate with your in-laws or even friends.

Couples Counseling Will Enable You To See The Other Side

It is often possible to ignore or fail to understand your partner’s side of the story. We are humans, and naturally, we’ll tend to focus more on ourselves or on “me” rather than “us” or “you.” A mental health professional will enable you to see issues from your partner’s perspective.

Life challenges can also prevent us from seeing how our partners look at things, and you will be surprised with what you may discover after visiting couples counseling sessions.

Communication Issues

Communication is one of the important aspects that hold relationships or marriages together. Lack of communication between partners can seriously damage a relationship, even for married couples. Relationship counseling can help couples develop excellent communication patterns or styles to strengthen their partnership or marriage.

Unfaithfulness Or Infidelity

Infidelity can hurt or even break marriages or relationships. However, if you and your partner want to get over the issue of unfaithfulness, seeking therapy as a couple can help resolve this problem. Both of you will have to be committed; a marriage counselor can provide emotion-focused therapy sessions that will enable you to get back together and continue having a meaningful life free from infidelity or unfaithfulness.

You Clash About Money

Money sometimes is a contentious issue and one of the major relationship problems that lead to a serious family conflict between couples. Different factors may contribute to this issue, including rising interest rates, reduced earning power, or potential health problems. Whichever the case, disagreements will stem from different aspects, including spending or saving styles.

One partner may feel unhappy with the way money is spent, or the partner earning more could feel like the other spouse is derailing their personal growth. Not having enough money or financial inequalities may also bring stress or evoke feelings of anxiety, envy, or anger. If you seek help from the right therapist, you and your partner can understand your money issues and shape your thoughts on how to deal with your financial matters as a couple.


Couples Therapy Provides A Safe Environment

Fighting with your partner is not a good thing, and people in your life may be negatively affected. You may also feel embarrassed, guilty, or shame if you fight in front of your friends, children, or other family members.

Couples therapy is a safe and secluded environment where you can cry, talk, or discuss issues without worrying about making a scene or upsetting anyone. A therapist will work hard to guide you and get long-lasting solutions to your relationship issues.

You Want to Avoid Divorce or Have an Amicable One

Marriage counseling sessions can help spouses remain together by discussing what they want to see change if they choose not to divorce. In some instances, a married couple may think about divorcing but want to see if they can salvage their union. In most of these situations, one partner may want to save the marriage while the other wants a divorce.

Divorces can hurt people close to the couple, including children or other relatives. A therapist can guide you through processing everything and moving on maturely without causing any damage to all the people involved. Also, both spouses may want a divorce when it has become apparent that their union cannot work; couples therapy will be helpful if you wish to have a less toxic split.

Why Choose Our Relationship Or Marriage Therapy Program

Sylvia Flanagan is a highly trained and experienced therapist. She is a licensed marriage and family counselor in San Diego, CA, with a Mission Valley office. She has two bachelor’s degrees, two minor degrees, and a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy.

With my educational background and life experiences, I will help you amicably and comfortably resolve your relationship issues with your spouse. I will also provide you with brilliant coping skills that will be helpful as you resolve your marriage or relationship problems. Contact me today and let me help save your marriage with long-lasting solutions that will enable you to continue enjoying a fulfilling and meaningful life as a family.

8 Reasons to See a Marriage Counselor in San Diego

July 11, 2022Posted by: admin | 
Premarital Counselor

Marriage is not always easy and involves navigating life’s ups and downs and personal struggles while maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner. Falling in love and getting married can be relatively simple, but maintaining a strong marriage is often challenging. Commitment and healthy communication are two traits that help yield a happy marriage, but problems often arise when either of them is lacking in a relationship.

As the marriage rates drop every year in the U.S, divorce rates are on the rise and close to 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. 41% of first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce for various reasons. Lacking the appropriate tools to maintain a healthy marital relationship is among the causes of divorce and separation. Seeking help from a professional marriage counselor can help provide a lasting solution to your relationship issues. I’m a San Diego marriage counselor and can support you and your partner to find healthier ways of handling your relationship problems.

Here’s what is important to know about marriage therapy and some signs indicating you might consider seeking the support of marriage counselors in San Diego.

What Is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage and couples counseling allow partners to connect and communicate with one another better. Couples counseling is short-term psychotherapy helping partners identify problems, resolve conflicts, get to the core of arguments and improve their relationship. It facilitates the ability for each individual to make the best decision regarding their relationship. While the goal is almost always reparation and increased relationship satisfaction, some couples decide they are better to separate and couples counseling can help bring that decision about amicably. Couples should be able to direct the course of their counseling ranging from premarital counseling, relationship counseling and counseling to discuss the particulars during divorce therapy.

When Should You Seek Marriage Counseling?

The stigma surrounding family therapy, marriage counseling or couples counseling as an option for the weak or disturbed has stood out for many years. Times have changed, and people have grown to appreciate counseling as a healthy and helpful resource. It is a go-to option for couples that want to reinforce their communication and strengthen their bond. Some of the signs that you should visit the San Diego, CA couples therapist include:

  1. Negative, Toxic Communication, Or No Communication at All

    When you and your partner hardly speak to each other or are reluctant to share your thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences, a marriage counselor would be a great option. If your partner ends up feeling depressed, disregarded, or insecure due to communication patterns this can dead to the demise of your relationship.

  2. Absence Of Physical and Emotional Intimacy

    Improving intimacy between you and your partner will help maintain a healthy marriage. Poor intimacy generally indicates there is a problem in the relationship, and seeking professional assistance could be the best solution. If you and your partner feel more like roommates than a married couple it’s time to seek support.

  3. Keeping Secrets from Your Partner

    Honesty and transparency are vital in maintaining a happy relationship with your partner. Keeping secrets and failing to share thoughts and experiences with your partner can destroy your marriage. Therapy can be a critical step towards restoring openness and transparency.

  4. Having An Affair with Someone

    Having an extra-marital affair, whether it’s sexual or emotional, indicates there is something crucial missing in the relationship. The affair itself is never the problem but merely a symptom. Visiting a San Diego marriage counselor may save your relationship before or after an emotional or sexual affair has taken place.

  5. Restricting Love as a Form of Punishment

    Failing to reciprocate your partner’s love and affection or ignoring them because you are angry can complicate your relationship and lead to further disconnection. Marriage counseling can restore affection, trust and understanding and restore a healthy relationship.

  6. Being Financially Unfaithful

    Being dishonest about your finances or hiding information about your financial matters indicates a problem in your marriage. It may be a lack of trust, attempt to control, indirect expression of feelings or incompatible financial values. Share information about your expenses, loans, and savings with your partner and come up with an agreed upon budget. If you have differing values as it relates to finances, couples or marriage counseling can be a good place to explore those differences.

  7. Blaming Your Partner

    Treating your spouse as an enemy whenever you argue or disagree almost always leads to further problems in a relationship. A San Diego marriage counselor can help you communicate more effectively and regulate the emotions and beliefs which lead to arguments comprised of blame and defense.

Best Marriage Counselor in San Diego

Sylvia Flanagan is a licensed marriage and family therapist with over 20 years of experience offering therapy to individuals and couples in the San Diego area. A marriage counselor or therapist is an intermediary, supporting you and your partner to better communicate and sort out issues. Contact Sylvia’s office at (619)-318-1901 or to schedule an appointment or schedule from the website scheduler.

Finding The Best Premarital Counseling 2022 and Why You Should Consider It

May 26, 2022Posted by: admin | 
Premarital Counseling

Before getting married, it’s good to consider premarital counseling. Counseling aids you in better understanding your spouse and working through issues before moving forward with marriage. Below, I look at finding the best premarital counselor in San Diego and how your relationship can benefit by investing in it.

What is Premarital Counseling?


Benefits of Premarital Counseling








Premarital counseling is a type of couples counseling that prepares couples for marriage. The main reason for premarital counseling is to support partners while they explore key issues such as finances, sexual expectations, parenting, family of origin, lifestyle patterns, core values plus identifying areas of growth. All this can lay a foundation for a healthy marriage.

What are the types of Premarital counseling?

Couples can participate in different types of pre-marital counseling to help strengthen their relationship. Below are just a few options clients can choose from.

Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally focused therapy focuses primarily on improving the emotional closeness of couples by assessing and strengthening attachment styles and bonds. It centers on communication struggles between couples, how to understand one another better and get underneath the content of disagreements and getting to the root of problem. Its aim is to improve the bond between couples resulting in healthy relationships.

Prepare-Enrich Premarital Assessment

This widely used assessment focuses on a vast array of fundamental issues that could make or break couples.  It’s an online assessment exploring areas such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, personality traits, family of origin, lifestyle habits and much more. The assessment results are given to clients and the therapist reviews the results during sessions giving each couple a broad snapshot of their strengths and limitations.

Gottman Technique

With this type of therapy, the counselor administers an assessment to you and your fiancé and then offers tools and communication techniques helping you tackle the causes of dispute. It aims to improve communication, intimacy, friendship and problem solving skills to enhance the quality of relationship.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Premarital Counselor in San Diego

Consider keeping the following things in mind when choosing a premarital counselor:

Counseling experience

It’s important to choose a counselor who has experience in premarital therapy. Ideally, someone who shares candid feedback will help increase your odds of strengthening your relationship. A counselor with a strong background in couples therapy will help you navigate through the challenges couples go through and help you move through them.

Counseling cost

Before you and your partner enter into premarital therapy, it’s good to know the cost and methods of payment. This will help you arrange your finances before counseling and find the best counselor based on your budget. For instance, church premarital counselors often charge a small fee and sometimes offer their services for free. Insurance typically doesn’t over premarital counseling and there are a wide range of fees when choosing a therapist in private practice. Shop around!

Know the premarital counseling process

Normally premarital counselors have different ways of carrying out their counseling. The counselor should explain their methods, the number of sessions expected, content covered and any further information about the process. Knowing what to expect ahead of time should increase your confidence about the process.

Talk to your therapist about expectations

Couples should be direct with their therapist ahead of time about what they’re hoping to achieve through premarital counseling and have realistic expectations about the process after the discussion.

Counselor’s training and background

It’s helpful to conduct an inquiry on the training background of the premarital counselor you consider choosing. For instance, counselors who have undertaken premarital training will have knowledge specific to premarital counseling and should apply relevant methods, cover vital topics and offer evaluations thereby helping couples increase the value of their counseling experience.

Appointment convenience

It’s often helpful and convenient to choose a premarital counselor offering various days and times to choose for scheduling. This will enable couples to find days and times accommodating their own schedules. Also, knowing if both telehealth and in-office counseling are options is helpful.

Benefits of Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling has several benefits including:

Strengthens communication among couples

Partners who engage in premarital and marriage counseling can learn how to communicate more effectively which promotes increased intimacy and understanding. When couples learn to become more transparent and open with one another, they lay more building blocks for a solid foundation contributing to a happy marriage. A stronger couple leads to stronger relationships both inside and outside the marriage.

It creates a forum to raise issues

Premarital counseling should create a safe space where partners can address underlying issues in their relationship that could otherwise lead to discord or separation in the future. Couples can discuss financial issues, the number of children to have, individual specific needs, and even prenuptial agreements. Raising issues before finalizing commitment can help couples create a strong foundation going into the marriage. Couples shouldn’t feel hesitant raising concerns with their therapist or fear addressing issues before progressing to married life.

Helps couples plan for the future

The best premarital counselors support couples in creating a vision for the future. They give feedback on matters that could impact their future and provides tools on how to plan ahead as a team. Premarital counseling should provide a forum where couples can express their individual and joint expectations for the future which helps pave the way to successful marriage.

Aids couples to discover new things about each other

Normally during premarital counseling, couples are asked many questions. Many Couples get to uncover new information about their partners through active listening and intentional questioning. In addition, a therapist should help create a comfortable environment to raise key issues that one partner may be unwilling to explore. When a therapist creates a safe space during premarital counseling, couples have the opportunity to share information they may conceal due to concerns about upsetting their partner.

Are you looking for a Premarital Counselor in San Diego? Contact my office today

If you’re looking to tie the knot and seeking the services of a premarital counselor in San Diego consider choosing a licensed marriage and family therapist because their training is specific to relationships. It’s also helpful if they’ve had training specific to premarital counseling. Premarital counseling will help prepare you and your spouse for the journey of marriage. You will be able to plan for the future and have the opportunity to discover new information about each other, develop a deeper connection and bond, and gather tools to resolve future issues.

I pride myself on providing some of the best counseling services in San Diego. I’ll work hard to create a comfortable space to talk openly and cover a wide range of issues during premarital counseling including communication and conflict resolution skills, compatibility issues, family of origin, financial differences and more. Call (619-318-1901) or use my online scheduler from my website to book an appointment with Sylvia Flanagan, LMFT.

Tips for Choosing a Good Therapist in San Diego, CA

March 18, 2022Posted by: admin | 
Therapist in Sand Diego

Sometimes, you may find yourself coming up short on coping while facing life’s challenges and demands. When this happens, you might decide to seek the support of a therapist. A seasoned and smart therapist can help you change your behavioral patterns, navigate life transitions, effectively handle relationship problems, self-esteem issues, and symptoms such as anxiety or depression thereby making way for a more fulfilling life.

It’s important to work with a therapist who is interested in you and your experiences. It’s also important to match with a therapist who has the proper credentials, training and experience. You want a therapist who is engaged, smart and compassionate. Finding a therapist who is the right match for you may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

Many clients stop therapy before they meet their counseling goals because they don’t have a good connection with their therapist. A good therapeutic relationship between you and your therapist will significantly impact your success in online therapy. Studies show the strongest indicator for a positive outcome in therapy is the relationship between therapist and client.

Here are some useful tips to help you find an engaged, compassionate and smart therapist in San Diego CA.

  • Search Smart

Ask a trusted colleague, friend, or doctor to recommend a good therapist for you. Ensure that the therapist recommended has experience in the areas you’re wanting to address and change. A good therapist for someone else may not necessarily be good for you. Finding a good therapist requires some research.

You can start by asking friends or family for a referral. It’s always good to reach out to someone who has worked with and had a good experience with a therapist. There are online therapist directories where you can search for counselors in San Diego. Web searches also provide choices. Regardless, it’s smart to check reviews and read a therapist’s website for more detailed information.

Make a list of the things you want in your therapist. There are expert therapists specializing in different areas and modalities. Other considerations include price, years of experience, in-office or telehealth and even gender.

  • Shop around

When you hone down a few potential therapists, interview each one to gather feedback on how they respond to your situation and therapy goals. Most therapists offer a free phone consultation, and you’ll have the opportunity to assess how comfortable you feel with each therapist. Don’t feel pressured to make an appointment right then and there. Take your time and go with your gut.

  • Mental health providers’ credentials

It is important to confirm a therapist’s license to determine whether they have the education and training to work effectively. There are several types of licensed therapists including LMFTs (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist), LCSWs (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), Psychologists and LPCs (Licensed Professional Counselor). LMFTs are trained to work with individuals and couples and their educational training emphasizes counseling rather than research or case management.

  • Make sure the price is right

Before determining whether you have a good connection with a therapist, it’s important to know whether the fee charged fits into your budget. If you intend to pay with insurance, first determine your copay and coverage. Ask whether the therapist you’re considering accepts insurance because many therapists do not. Then discuss with the therapist their thoughts about how many sessions may be necessary based on the issues you’re wanting to address. Insurance companies usually have a limited number of sessions they will approve but paying out of pocket gives you the freedom to determine with your therapist the number of sessions best for you.

If the fee of a desired therapist is too high for your budget, some therapists have a sliding scale fee they may offer. If insurance doesn’t cover therapy and the sliding scale is still too expensive, you can opt for unlicensed therapists who are under the supervision of a licensed therapist. Many agencies, clinics and even private practices have unlicensed therapists working for them.

  • Set Therapeutic Goals

Set therapeutic goals to determine what you want to achieve from therapy. Talk with your therapist about your goals and together you can come up with a plan and work toward those goals. Sometimes goals change during the course of therapy but you and your therapist should always be in communication about what you’re aiming toward.

It’s important to note there are alternatives to traditional talk-therapy and some clients want to explore different modalities. You can look for a therapist with an alternative form of therapy. Examples are somatic therapy which focuses on the relationship between mind and body, art therapy which relies on art forms to give expression and insight, animal-assisted psychotherapy, and more.

  • Explore Local Resources

If you are a student, an employee, a person of faith or gay or lesbian, you should have specialized resources at your disposal. If employed, your human resource team can give you a list of licensed therapists to browse or you may be able to see an EAP counselor. If a student, the school`s counseling center can usually offer help. If a person of faith, your place of worship will often refer you to faith based therapists. The GLBTQ centers also have counseling referrals for people in their community. Plus, online therapist directories almost always have search criteria to ensure you contact someone who will have understanding of your individual needs.

  • Organizations addressing your area of concern

Organizations like national associations, networks, or Helplines can help you find specialized therapists for a particular mental health issue or help you network and find information and support. When looking for a specialized therapist for personal growth, some organizations that can help are:

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
  • National Center for PTSD.
  • National Eating Disorder Association.

There are also organizations for people of color who can give you a list of sensitive, culture-conscious therapists. Some organizations can help you find a licensed marriage counselor if you have been abused in marriage.

If your job is associated with your mental health concerns, there are professional organizations that can help you find a local therapist in San Diego CA. The International Association of Firefighters is an example, which helps firefighters with P.T.S.D., substance abuse, or other mental issues.

  • Family Therapist Online Databases

Useful online search tools include; American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, American Psychological Association, and Association of LGBTQ+ Psychiatrists

  • Ask questions

Keep notes and a paper and pen at hand when meeting with your therapist for the first time whether it’s in person, online, or by phone. Your notes should have questions and concerns you have for the therapist, and the pen and paper are for insights you gain throughout session. The American Psychological Association and The Anxiety and Depression Association websites have an array of questions you may want to ask your therapist to determine their suitability to your case.

Pay attention to the therapist’s responses. Do you feel comfortable with this therapists in San Diego? Do you feel emotionally safe enough to venture into to discussing difficult and personal topics? If not, you are entitled to switch therapists and look for one you trust and are more comfortable with.

The bottom line is human connection is the heart of effective therapy.

  • Don’t assume talk therapy is the only option

There are adjuncts to therapy as well and therapy alone is certainly not the only option. Medication can be an effective adjunct for troublesome symptoms that don’t budge easily with therapy alone. Consulting a nutritionist to maximize nutrition and enhance physical health is another good avenue to explore. A good exercise and sleep routine area also very important for overall health. There is also animal-assisted psychotherapy which is useful for working through fears, lack of confidence or trauma. Somatic therapy explores the relationship between mind and body. Art therapy and Person-centered therapy can lend insight and highlight emotions not as easily captured through talk therapy alone. Regardless of what modality you embrace, a therapist’s experience should render a creative and meaningful session.

To learn about couples counseling services, contact me today at 619-318-1901.

Tips to Find the Right Premarital Counselor in San Diego

March 26, 2021Posted by: admin | 
Premarital Counselor

If you’re engaged and wondering about premarital counseling, San Diego offers many opportunities to explore this form of counseling. It is an excellent way to increase understanding of each other and can help improve communication skills and solidify a solid foundation for a healthy marriage. These trust-building and relationship enhancing sessions can be extremely valuable.

Premarital counseling is beneficial by helping couples spot problematic behaviors and patterns which could later stress marriages. Research supports the benefits of premarital counseling.  (more…)