The Relationship Blog

Relationship Counseling – Los Angeles & Woodland Hills Areas

If you’re having relationship issues, either as a single person who has had trouble starting or possibly maintaining a satisfying romantic relationship, or as part of a couple who find themselves in need of relationship counseling, it is my commitment as a coach to be as direct and honest as possible. I have found, in my forty-two years of practice that this direct and honest approach is the one that best serves my clients’ needs. If you are serious about solving your relationship problems, and are willing to devote the time and energy necessary to reach the end of that challenging, but rewarding path, I will walk with you in your journey and support you in achieving your goals. What follows are several aspects of my approach that will assist you on your path:

The first thing that I bring to my practice is a unique framework that can help anyone seeking relationship counseling. That framework is the understanding that there’s no such thing as not being in a relationship. You’re either in a relationship with someone else, or you’re in a relationship with yourself. Either way you can use the same tools to identify and solve the relationship problems you’re facing. My goal is to determine which type of relationship best suits single people and couples and to ensure that they both understand and accept the consequences of their relationship choice.

For singles who are having difficulties figuring out what they really want, or how to get it, my counseling and guidance can create a foundation for them to discover what is true for them in relationships. In dealing with my single patients who are often feeling discouraged and defeated by the dating process I help them see dating from a new lens that honors and respects who they are. I teach them that the nature of dating is judgment and rejection and that it is not a problem if you accept the dating relationship you are in for what it is. In that way you are not opposing the nature of dating but you are appreciating and accepting what it’s asking from you. As a result of this perspective there is much less surprise and less emotional reactivity.

The second major thing that I present is that dating is not one size fits all. Each person in a given time is ready for a certain kind of relationship game. It might be a three month relationship or extended two year relationships. I don’t regard either one as a failure because it not the “One”, since I consider all kinds of relationships successful in their own right.

In dealing with couples I help them appreciate what an intimate relationship asks for such as: a willingness to be sad, disappointed and vulnerable. Many couples choose to protect themselves from these experiences and end up creating havoc in their relationship. By helping them see through their protective covers, I open new doors for them which allows them to improve their relationships.

Consistent with my approach I don’t judge stress as bad, but view it as the rejection of some human experience. In an effort to assist my clients, I hold the human qualities that they are not able to hold themselves, such as frightened, sad, powerless, or inadequate, until they learn to hold these qualities themselves and no longer need to act out or act in for the sake of protection.

Lastly, within the relationship counseling I offer them a very clear structure, in which I consider all my clients to be the leaders of the session, and as a leader, they select the doors/goals that they want my help in learning to walk through. My role in this structure is to view myself as a guide, who will show them how to go through the door they selected. If it reverses and I become the leader and they are the guide, the therapy breaks down since they will be working on my issues. Some clients want to be the leader and the guide, and as a result they insist on me being the audience for their show. If a therapist colludes with that intention, I consider the therapy to be essentially over..

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

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