Couples Counseling San Francisco CA Colette Mercier

for couples

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
— Lao Tzu

Relationships are complex.

Feeling accepted and desired by someone we love is an amazing experience.  Love is magical. It lifts us up. However the person who brings us joy, can be the source of pain as well. Power struggles, misunderstandings and hurt feelings can become commonplace. The ways we are different from our partners can become problematic over time. Sometimes we just can’t seem to connect. Attempts to resolve conflicts can unintentionally do more harm than good. 

Relationships are healing.

Our unhealthy patterns and limiting beliefs show up in relationships. Often the ways we have felt hurt, let down and disappointed by others, start to happen in our relationships. We wish the other person would change.  

When we can find ways to stay connected to ourselves while being in relationship with another, relationships flourish. In couples counseling, we explore what is needed for each person to be themselves and allow the other person to do the same. We connect with the strengths of your relationship. We try different ways of communicating. We create pathways to repair the pain and hurt, increasing trust.

Couples Counseling San Francisco CA Colette Mercier

My role as the couples’ counselor.

The old saying “it takes two to tango” is true. In couples therapy, we often find that our partner’s problematic reactions fits our hurt places like a glove, un-intentionally re-wounding us. I work with couples to see how they are playing a role in creating their dynamics. I hold a compassionate space for each partner. We look at the underlying needs that drive your behavior.  Learning how to connect to our deeper vulnerabilities generates closeness. We explore how you are currently relating and what relating in a more fulfilling way looks like for you.

In couples therapy, I place an emphasis on creating here and now experiences that bring a couples’ challenges to the surface. What this means is we look at how you are relating to each other in the room. I bring attention to aspects of relating like the assumptions you hold about the other and automatic ways of reacting to one another. These can be valuable sources of information when finding better ways to connect. We create little experiments to see what is happening inside each of you, while you interact with each other and me as the therapist.  Often, I teach communication skills that help us get underneath the content to the deeper feelings, hurts and needs. Listening is key to connection. It is simple but frequently very, very difficult to do. 

Another potent place for couples work to focus on is building tolerance and understanding for each other’s differences. For example, some of us need closeness when upset and other’s require distance. Navigating conflicting needs can be tricky and it’s necessary to grow your relationship. Learning to appreciate each other’s similarities and differences brings strength to relationships. 

Deepen and renew your relationship.

Therapy for couples can deepen your connection. You can find new ways to express yourself and your needs. Staying with our selves while in relationship is tricky business but can increase emotional and sexual intimacy.  Since most of our wounds happen in the context of relationships with others, relationships have tremendous capacity to heal us if we are willing, ready and supported. 


Contact me for a free consultation.

In this 15-minute conversation we can check out if we might work well together.