Couples Therapy
Encino Psychiatrists Karen L. Vause and Ramzi Kiriakos
Encino Psychiatrists
16550 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 212
Encino, CA 91436
Direct Contact Information
Karen Vause, MD (818) 995-0640
Ramzi Kiriakos, MD (818) 881-8208
Print  Print Page

Couples Therapy

Couples therapy is usually offered when two individuals are involved in an intense relationship that is important to both of them and they believe that they are unable to negotiate the differences in their points of view about essential elements in their relationship.

The couple may be spouses, life partners, business partners or siblings. The key feature of a couple is the wish to be together and to be able to keep meeting the needs of both parties in that relationship.

When people enter into a couple relationship, it is usually with the intent of mutual benefit, interest and satisfaction.  Each individual in the couple adds an asset that enriches the relationship and promotes satisfaction.

The couple needs therapeutic intervention when one or both believe that the other is behaving in a different or contrarian way involving an important foundation of their union. In other words, there is a change in the benefits one brings to the union or there is a change in common goals and purposes. The disagreements frequently cause a breakdown in communication with irritability and anger quickly following. One or both parties may start to view separation as the solution to the aggravation and disappointment.

The role of the therapist to help a couple in crisis or discord would be:

  1. Identify the positive attributes that each individual adds to the couple and highlight these attributes to the other party.
  2. Identify the points of difference:  Identify whether the difference is due to style, purpose or in final outcome. The possibility of compromise or acceptance can be explored.
  3. Identify why the differences do exist, where the communication fails and under what condition does the communication fail. Teach the parties how to communicate clearly to the other.
  4. Clear communication takes place when one partner shares what he thinks, believes and feels and the other partner hears the message in the same way it was meant to be transmitted.
  5. The most essential factor to resolve differences is to identify to each partner what is the emotional meaning of their position, and why being understood and validated by the other partner is so important.
  6. Without this form of improved communication, couple therapy cannot reach the goals of resolving differences and improving the quality and benefit of partnership.

The duration of couple therapy is determined in collaboration with the couple and the therapist. Once the differences are identified, attempts are made to change the elements that can be changed: communication, conflicts, goals, and the way to achieve goals. It is then possible to identify what cannot be changed. At that point, the couple is encouraged not to attempt to change those, but to accept and tolerate those attributes for the common good of sustaining the couple by meeting their needs and common goals.

 Eight to twelve sessions of couple therapy will bring a good resolution to most problems that couples may have. On occasion a much more prolonged treatment is needed due to the complexity of the situation.

Additional therapy services offered by Encino Psychiatrists: