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Christine Gazulis PhD
Clinical Psychologist


711 D Street, Suite 207 

San Rafael, CA 94901




For Couples

Premarital Counseling

Did you take the course How to Create a Satisfying Relationship in college? Most of us did not. It’s not unusual for one or both partners in a relationship to wonder if a relationship is satisfying enough to take to the level of marriage. With the divorce rate at over 35%, many couples are deciding to see a therapist before making a final decision to marry.

Premarital counseling is a form of counseling that assists a couple to explore and resolve what are likely to become impasse issues long before those issues create roadblocks to long-lasting intimacy and trust.

Some of the skills you will be practicing in session and through various “homework assignments” are:

  • Listening with empathy and compassion
  • Identifying your contribution to poor communication
  • Learning to soothe your partner, thereby building relationship resilience
  • Expanding your awareness of what constitutes “fair fighting”
  • Resolving conflict with collaborative, not adversarial, forms of communication

Couples Contemplating Divorce

Couples choose to enter “couples counseling” or couples therapy for a variety of reasons, but a critical sign of distress is clearly when one or both parties is considering breaking off the relationship. It is a sign of trouble when “gridlock” communication patterns exist that stand as roadblocks to a satisfying partnership.

In a first session you will describe some of these gridlock moments to me as well as reflect upon what is causing you dissatisfaction and distress. You will get a sense of how I work with couples in a “treatment” fashion during the first session as I guide you to get beyond the surface or “secondary” emotions and into the thoughts and feelings that underlie those emotions. I often assign homework to couples in order to help guide the work for the next session. Regularly you will be given feedback on what I believe to be the guiding principles of your negative communication patterns and what I believe to be the emotional blocks to your having a more satisfying relationship.

If you have children and you decide to separate, I will guide you through the steps to creating a post-separation parenting plan that will preserve your integrity and help your children to feel secure during the transition.

Rejuvenating Your Relationship

Couples in long-term relationships sometimes feel their interactions have become stale, boring, or too routine. Sexual desire may wane and an ability to articulate the loss of passion can keep partners from growing closer as they age. If partners are raising children together, there can be limited time and energy to devote to engaging in quality couple time.

Couples counseling can help a couple rethink the assumptions that underlie their dissatisfaction with their marriage. Perhaps one partner is certain it is the other’s fault; perhaps both partners have concluded it’s not worth the argument that pressing a certain issue would invite. Sometimes emotional issues are left unexpressed for years, and couple finds it difficult to open up an old wound without professional help.

Often what is needed is a safe format for dialoguing about the ways in which long-term relationships require an enduring commitment to collaboration, exploration, flexibility, and to remaining open to new emotional experiences.


Copyright 2008, Christine Gazulis, PhD, All Rights Reserved