Mary Kay Cocharo, Counselor/Therapist

Mary Kay Cocharo - Counselor/Therapist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Marriage Educator, Marriage/Couples Counselor, Relationship Coach, Speaker/Presenter, YourTango Expert Partner - Los Angeles, CA
Expertise

Counselor/Therapist



Location
11340 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
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Contact Information

Email me
Call Me 310.828.2624
My Website

I Believe

I am passionate about helping individuals, couples and families find deep, meaningful, harmonious and passionate relationships! With over 24 years experience, I have the knowledge and wisdom ...

Success Stories

Topics/Clients I'm Skilled at Working With

Couples considering divorce
Couples

Couples considering divorce

Help...my husband is married to the dog!

A couple, I will call them Jane and Paul, first came to see me after about 3 years of marriage. Jane first called to seek marriage counseling stating that they were on the verge of divorcing. She said…

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Couples

Why We Love Halloween

I hope all of you had a fun and interesting Halloween! I’ve always said that Halloween is my favorite holiday: I love dressing up in costume and seeing what everyone else dresses up as. What is it about…

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Success Stories

Why We Love Halloween

I hope all of you had a fun and interesting Halloween! I’ve always said that Halloween is my favorite holiday: I love dressing up in costume and seeing what everyone else dresses up as. What is it about this activity that we find so enticing? I realize that as children, the main draw was going from house to house to get free candy. But now, as adults, that cannot be it! After all, with cash in my pocket and keys to the car, I could conceivably drive to the nearest CVS and buy a bag of the sugary stuff for myself! No, that’s not it.

In Imago theory, we posit that we come into the world as perfect, complete, vibrating balls of energy. If we receive messages from our caretakers which encourage our thinking, feeling, sensing, moving, being…then we remain relatively whole. If, however, our early messages are repressive (”stay still”, “don’t cry”, ” you’re not smart enough”, “I wish you’d been a boy”, “you were an accident”, etc.) , then certain parts of our wholeness are either shut down or exaggerated. We make these adaptations to our personalities in order to survive the family of origin. These “lost parts” are called the denied self, the lost self, the disowned self, or the “shadow” in Jungian terms.

In a recent training on Characterological Growth, the participants were asked to come to the workshop as their Lost Self. One woman who had been sexually molested as a child came dressed as a beautiful, sexy, powerful woman after years of having shut down her sexual self. One man came as a daredevil after a lifetime of “playing it safe”. I dressed as a goofy, silly, outrageous girl in response to parental messages about the importance of behaving within acceptable guidelines. Get the picture?

So, back to Halloween. Is it possible that we love Halloween because it offers us the possibility and the freedom to play with our Lost Selves; to dig deep into ourselves and bring out that missing part? I invite you to think back on your choice of costumes, this year and in years past. Perhaps, in your choice of playful disguises there is a kernel of information to help you see what you may have lost along the way. It’s never too late to grow into your perfect, complete wholeness!

I have the tools to help you heal the wounds of the past and experience your full potential as an individual and an intimate partner.

Help...my husband is married to the dog!

A couple, I will call them Jane and Paul, first came to see me after about 3 years of marriage. Jane first called to seek marriage counseling stating that they were on the verge of divorcing. She said that they had been fighting a lot and didn’t seem able to resolve their differences.
Upon meeting them I asked them to describe what it would look like if we were to be successful working together. Paul described that they would be “like they used to be”: they would be fighting less, having more fun and she would stop being so critical and angry. Jane said that she would feel more loved, have more attention and feel special.
She blurted out, “Paul would act more married to me than he does to our dog, Fluffy”!
I led them through a guided meditation where they were able to reconnect to their positive memories of having met and fallen in love. I then had them express some appreciation for one another. They left, holding hands and eager to get started in therapy.
During the second session, each reported that they had experienced “a better week”.
In this session, I taught them to express their frustrations with one another by using a structured dialogue process. I coached them to listen deeply to the other, mirror what they’d heard, validate their partner’s position and empathize with their feelings.
In this way, they were able to stop the escalating pattern of argumentation and really begin to understand each other’s worlds.
Over the course of the next 6 weeks, their communication improved and their affection for one another seemed to increase. They reported less fighting and a renewed commitment to one another. Then, on the 7th session, they came in with a crisis. Jane was enraged and unable to look at Paul. I asked him to listen carefully as she talked about her anger at him and I mirrored her words. It seemed that Fluffy had recently broken her leg and was needing more attention. Paul had gone back to his previous level of attachment and caretaking of her and Jane was feeling neglected again. She noted that he had taken off work to be with the dog (although he had refused to take the day off work to celebrate her birthday), that he was being overly affectionate and loving to the dog (whereby he was frequently unavailable and cold to her) and that he had even moved out of their bedroom to sleep with Fluffy in the guest room!
As I listened to her words and empathized with her feelings, her anger began to soften and the underlying hurt and fear came out. At this point, I asked if it would be okay for Paul to hold her. Safe in his arms, I asked her to tell him about how this situation with the dog reminded her of other times in her life when she had felt neglected and replaced. She sobbed as she recounted for him the story of how her father had left her mother and abandoned her when she was young. He held her and comforted her and she relaxed.
In the weeks to come, Paul and Jane were able to continue expressing their needs in the safety of the dialogue process. Both began to see how their individual behaviors were triggering old pain and defensive reactions in the other. Jane became aware that Paul withdrew and “got cold” when he sensed her anger or displeasure. He was able to trace this back to his childhood and the way he learned to protect himself from his mother’s potent rage. Paul was able to see how his ignoring Jane and lavishing love on Fluffy caused Jane to feel neglected and replaced. Together they engaged in healing one another in safe dialogue and empathy.
After several months, this couple moved to coming in about once per month. They report feeling “in love” again and more conscious about their relationship. They still argue once in a while, but have the tools to bring it back around quickly to a safer dialogue. They have renewed their commitment and no longer consider divorce. Both are loving and taking care of Fluffy and Jane no longer feels that she’s in competition with her. Recently, Jane and Paul told me that they might just be ready to start a family.

Main SpecialtyCommunication Problems
Couples/Marital Issues
Dating/Being Single Support
CredentialsLMFT, Other
Time in Practice25 years +
I practice inMy state/province only
Additional ExpertiseMarriage and Family Therapist
Marriage Educator
Marriage/Couples Counselor
Relationship Coach
Speaker/Presenter
YourTango Expert Partner
I offer my servicesAt my office
Telephone
Via Skype
I am fluent inEnglish
Licence informationExpiration 12/31/15
Number MFC25394
Latest Expert Videos
My Store

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition

Originally published in 1988, Getting the Love You Want has ...

USD $12.96

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Getting the Love You Want Workbook: The New Couples' Study Guide

A companion workbook to the enormously successful New York Times ...

USD $11.98

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Keeping the Love You Find: A Personal Guide

In "Keeping the Love You Find" you'll discover how to:

USD $12.58

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The Personal Companion : Meditations and Exercises for Keeping the Love you Find

Harville Hendrix's New York Times bestseller Keeping the Love You ...

USD $21.97

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Main SpecialtyCommunication Problems
Couples/Marital Issues
Dating/Being Single Support
CredentialsLMFT, Other
Time in Practice25 years +
I practice inMy state/province only
Additional ExpertiseMarriage and Family Therapist
Marriage Educator
Marriage/Couples Counselor
Relationship Coach
Speaker/Presenter
YourTango Expert Partner
I offer my servicesAt my office
Telephone
Via Skype
I am fluent inEnglish
Licence informationExpiration 12/31/15
Number MFC25394
Latest Expert Videos