Couples Therapy

Couples & Marriage Counseling Psychologist in Santa Barbara


Your relationship depends greatly on your inner self.  With a small conversation I can help you keep it healthy and alive.  Learn how by calling.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Contemporary Methods

Couples therapy, or marriage counselling, is designed to help individuals recognize and resolve difficulties occurring in their relationship. Most often, when people first come for help they find themselves polarized around one or more issues which seem to be “the problem”. The first step in resolving such issues is a clear empathic understanding on both sides. As a psychologist I show the couple how to use language to facilitate their disruptions leading to enhanced communications and effective marriage counseling.

Empathy can be defined as the capacity to recognize the feelings of the other. In Marshall Rosenberg’s words, it is the “understanding of the heart in which we see the beauty in the other person … the life that’s alive in them.” Empathy is the true foundation of a relationship.
Sadly, empathy often gets covered over by unresolved negative feelings of hurt, anger, resentment, and disappointment. When this occurs, this tends to undermine the relationship; sometimes the bond may be in danger of crumbling altogether.  Marriage counseling mends that foundation with understanding, forgiveness, empathy and communication.

This is where couples therapy comes in. My primary task as a psychologist, couples therapist and marriage counselor is to provide a ‘therapeutic space’ in which mutual empathy can be re-established. With my own empathic grasp of the predicament from both points of view, I am able to help each of the partners gain a deeper empathic understanding of the other making my couples therapy more effective.  

Couples therapy and marriage counseling helps people develop respect for, or even appreciation of, the conflicts which occur with their partners. As both gain skill in constructively examining themselves, this process begins to smooth out the rough edges in the relationship and helps both people to grow, especially with the surrounding and beautiful Santa Barbara coast.

Visit or Call to Learn More

136 Por La Mar Circle
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

(805) 969-7474


Office Hours

Mon – Fri — 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Saturday — 9:00AM – 2:00PM
Sunday — Closed

Dr. Robert Shafer
136 Por La Mar Circle
Santa Barbara, CA 93103