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Couples Clinic Marin

Timothy  West, Ph.D., MFT

(415) 892-7330

New Couples Therapy

Offices located in Corte Madera,

Marin County, California

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Dr. West Marriage Counselor

Timothy  West, Ph.D., MFT

(415) 892-7330

Dr. Timothy West, a Marriage & Family Therapist, provides couples counseling through-out Marin County, California. With offices located in Corte Madera, he also serves the communities of Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Greenbrae, Larkspur, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael, Terra Linda, and Novato.

Couples Clinic Marin

500 Tamal Plaza, Suite 528

Corte Madera, CA 94925

My approach combines research-based methods...

In addition to the Gottman approach, I use emotionally focused techniques to help couples through blocks to their communication.  Research has shown that if partners understand what each one needs emotionally from the other during difficult times, those couples can navigate stressful experiences and avoid alienating each other with reactive behavior such as destructive anger or withdrawal.

For example, let’s say a husband who grew up with critical and unaffectionate parents is laid off from work.  His first feeling is shame, much like he felt when his parents mocked him when he did not make the honor roll at school.  As a child, and to hide his shame and sadness from his parents (who would have criticized him even more for being “depressed”) he sought solace away from the family home and spent long periods with friends and their families where he felt acceptance.  He has never told his parents how unloved and angry he had felt with them.

When this husband is laid off from his job, his tendency will be to withdraw from his wife and even be angry with her.  The wife, for her own reasons, will be angry with her husband for withdrawing from her just at a time when she wants to be close to him and support him.  The angrier she becomes the more he withdraws, and the more he withdraws the more she angrily pursues him.  This is called the “reactive cycle of distress” or “secondary cycle” in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Through identifying this negative cycle or pattern in each couple and teaching them to avoid it, I help couples have the real conversation they are meant to have: about the desire to be supportive and close.  Emotionally Focused Therapy tells us that, because of our backgrounds, it is often difficult to reveal sensitive and vulnerable feelings that were never accepted in our families – but that we now need to express in order to be close to our spouses.  With Emotionally Focused techniques, I help create the safe and secure atmosphere in couples counseling which makes this new level of communication possible.

New Couples Counseling