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Marriage & Couples Counseling West Hollywood

At Oliver Drakeford Therapy, we work with couples from a family systems orientation, which means we specialize in helping couples break free from negative cycles and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships by emphasizing the importance of building healthy relationships.

Over the past ten years, I’ve worked with hundreds of couples and know that the pain of feeling disconnected and misunderstood can take a toll on both of you.

That’s why we offer practical, evidence-based approaches to transform your relationship. If you’re interested in couples counseling or have questions about how it works, please don’t hesitate to call me for free consultation. I offer in-person and online therapy; my office address is 8702 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, 90069

Oliver Drakeford, LMFT, CGP

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a former clinical director of a residential treatment center in Malibu,CA. I have an extensive background and clinical experience working with couples and parents and aim to help people discover underlying issues that contribute to marital issues.

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I am excited to announce the launch of a new couples workshop or 'couples intensive' experience, 'Relationship Mapping'. Read more about it here.

Relationship Therapy Helps Relationships Change For The Better.

Imagine if your relationship could change in any of these ways:

  • Vulnerable Instead of Defensive: Being vulnerable means sharing your true feelings and fears without putting up emotional barriers. It involves opening up to your partner about your insecurities, needs, and desires, fostering a deeper emotional connection. When you let down your defenses, you create a safe space for honest communication and mutual understanding. Self-awareness can help recognize and share these true feelings and fears.

  • Open Instead of Closed Off: Openness in a relationship means being receptive to your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It involves actively listening without judgment, showing empathy, and being willing to engage in meaningful conversations. By remaining open, you encourage a flow of communication that can resolve misunderstandings and strengthen your bond.

  • Curious Instead of Withdrawn: Curiosity involves taking an active interest in your partner’s inner world. Rather than withdrawing or shutting down during difficult times, approach your partner with curiosity. Ask questions, seek to understand their perspective, and show genuine interest in their experiences. This attitude fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth within the relationship.

  • Supportive Instead of Critical: Aim to be a source of encouragement and support for your partner rather than focusing on their faults. Positive reinforcement and constructive feedback help build a nurturing environment where both partners feel valued and motivated to improve.

  • Collaborative Instead of Controlling: Approach challenges as a team rather than trying to dominate or control the situation. Collaboration means working together to find solutions, respecting each other’s input, and making decisions jointly. This builds a sense of partnership and shared responsibility.

  • Empathetic Instead of Indifferent: Show empathy by understanding and sharing your partner’s feelings. Being empathetic means recognizing your partner’s emotions and responding with compassion and care. This strengthens emotional intimacy and trust.

  • Flexible Instead of Rigid: Be willing to adapt and compromise. Rigidity can lead to conflicts and stagnation, whereas flexibility allows for growth and change. Being open to different perspectives and willing to adjust your approach can help navigate the complexities of a relationship.

  • Affectionate Instead of Distant: Regularly express love and affection. Small gestures of kindness, physical touch, and verbal affirmations can significantly enhance emotional closeness and satisfaction in the relationship.

  • Respectful Instead of Disrespectful: Maintain respect for each other’s individuality and boundaries. Respectful communication and behavior are foundational to a healthy relationship, ensuring that both partners feel valued and honored.

If you’re interested in relationship therapy or have questions about how it works, please don’t hesitate to call me for free consultation. I offer in-person and online therapy; my office address is 8702 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA, 90069

How Do I Know if I Need Couples Therapy?

Therapy can benefit any relationship, whether facing severe challenges or simply needing a boost to flourish. Engaging in couples therapy can help strengthen your bond and prepare you for future obstacles. With the proper guidance, all relationships have the potential to grow and improve.

If you or your partner are experiencing any of the following issues, it might be especially beneficial to seek couples therapy:

  • Constant arguments or conflicts

  • Issues with infidelity, trust, or commitment

  • Communication problems

  • Difficulties with intimacy or sexual issues: Sex therapy can help improve physical and emotional intimacy, addressing various aspects such as pornography consumption, kink, and consensual play, including non-traditional relationships like polyamory, open relationships, and BDSM.

  • Financial stress or disagreements

  • Feeling disconnected or misunderstood

  • Struggles with relatives (such as in-laws) or friends

  • Parenting disagreements or family stressors

  • Differing beliefs and decision-making styles

  • Major life transitions

Strengthen Your Relationship with a Family Systems Therapist In West Hollywood, CA

If you're in Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Culver City or Beverly Hills, you're so close to us and engaging with a marriage and family therapist, who incorporates Family Systems, the Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy. These are relationship counseling modalitites that can profoundly benefit your relationship and your mental health.


Here’s what you have the potential to achieve

Improving Argument Outcomes: Use marriage counseling to learn techniques to navigate conflicts constructively, resulting in better resolutions.

Understanding Emotional Triggers: Gain insights into how your nervous system responds and strategies to self-soothe when triggered - a key component of self awareness, mental health and well-being.


Breaking Negative Cycles: Identify and disrupt negative patterns and cycles undermining your relationship. Personal growth can contribute to disrupting these negative patterns and fostering a deeper connection.

Enhancing Communication: Discover practical communication tools that foster positive interactions and emotional connection all of which improve mental health.

Expressing Vulnerable Emotions: Learn to communicate your deeper feelings, leading to greater intimacy and understanding.

Managing Conflict: Develop conflict management skills and engage in genuine and healing repairs.

Leveraging Relationship Strengths: Identify and harness the strengths in your relationship to drive positive transformation.

Building Security: Cultivate relational skills that help shift your relationship from insecurity to a secure and stable foundation.

Rebuilding Trust and Safety: Focus on rebuilding trust and creating a safe, supportive environment for both partners.

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Premarital Couples Counseling, West Hollywood

Premarital counseling with marriage counseling therapists provides couples with valuable tools and insights to build a strong foundation for their marriage. Here’s why it’s a good idea:

  • Understanding Family Dynamics: Gain insights into how family backgrounds influence your relationship. A family systems therapist can help you identify patterns and dynamics affecting your marriage, allowing you to address potential issues proactively.

  • Practical Communication Skills: Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. Premarital counseling focuses on developing healthy communication habits, helping you navigate conflicts, and expressing your needs and feelings clearly and respectfully.

  • Conflict Resolution Techniques: Discover strategies for managing and resolving conflicts. By learning these techniques before marriage, you can handle disagreements constructively and prevent them from escalating into more significant issues.

  • Setting Realistic Expectations: Establish realistic expectations for your marriage. Discussing your hopes, dreams, and concerns with a therapist can help align your expectations and create a shared vision for your future.

  • Building a Strong Emotional Foundation: Strengthen your emotional connection and make a secure attachment. Premarital counseling fosters emotional intimacy and trust, ensuring you feel supported and valued and helps avoid relationship distress in the future.

Investing in premarital counseling with a family systems therapist equips you and your partner with the skills and understanding to create a resilient and fulfilling marriage. Our office is in the heart of Los Angeles, in West Hollywood CA.


Conflict Resolution with a Family Systems Therapist in West Hollywood, CA

High-conflict couples often find themselves in destructive arguments that leave both partners feeling hurt and damaged. Our family systems therapists in my West Hollywood office are dedicated to helping you navigate and manage conflict more effectively. Here's how we can assist you:

  • Improved Conflict Management: Learn strategies for handling disputes without escalating into toxic fights. Our therapists will help you understand each other's perspectives and find constructive ways to address disagreements.

  • Insight into Relationship Dynamics: Gain deeper insights into how your interactions and communication patterns contribute to conflict. Understanding these dynamics allows you to make meaningful progress rather than getting caught up in arguments about who is right.

  • Identifying Triggers and Bids: Discover the underlying triggers and emotional bids that fuel conflicts. Recognizing these elements helps you respond more empathetically and avoid being hijacked by your emotional reactions.

  • Healing and Coping Strategies: Develop effective coping mechanisms to heal old wounds and build a sense of safety in your relationship. Our therapists work with you to address unresolved issues and foster a supportive environment.


Couples therapy is widely seen as being highly effective in helping relationships thrive. According to a study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, around 70% of couples who undergo counseling report significant improvements in their relationship. Furthermore, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists found that 90% of couples who complete therapy with a highly trained therapist experience increased emotional well-being, with two-thirds also reporting reaching goals to improve communication.

While the success rate varies depending on the therapist and the couple's dedication to the process, research consistently shows that between 70-90% of couples find therapy beneficial. Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT) has emerged as an efficient approach, with 75% of couples reporting positive outcomes. It's important to note that more sessions generally lead to more tremendous success, with most cases completed within 20-50 sessions.


At our West Hollywood practice, we are committed to helping couples strengthen their bond and understand relationship dynamics, using science-backed methods like EFT in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment. If you and your partner are ready to invest in your relationship, couples therapy can provide the tools and insights needed to build a more loving, fulfilling partnership.

What Is the Success Rate of Working With A Marriage and Family Therapist


  • Premarital Therapy Counseling

  • Marriage and Relationship Counseling

  • Parenting Issues

  • Same sex parents with parenting issues

  • Couples Therapy for Conflict

  • Intensive Couples Therapy

  • Sex-Positive Relationship Counseling

  • Same-Sex Couples Counseling / LGBTQ+ Couples Therapy

What Is the Success Rate of Working With A Marriage and Family Therapist

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the more frequently asked questions concern what a marriage and family therapist does and how they can help with mental health issues.

How does marriage counseling work?

The first step in marriage counseling is finding a therapist with whom both partners feel comfortable. Trust in the marriage and family therapist is crucial for a strong therapeutic alliance. The aim of marriage counseling is to learn new ways to interact and gain insights into each other's behaviors. This combination of new coping strategies and a more profound understanding can lead to meaningful change in the relationship's health and improved mental health.

What can a marriage counselor do for you?

Marriage counselors specialize in teaching couples more productive ways to handle conflict and disagreements, and are trained in current mental health and relationship issues. Given that 65% of arguments are not solvable, a common pitfall for couples is focusing on winning arguments rather than making progress. A marriage counselor helps build skills for managing conflict even during heightened emotions, aiming to create a safe and supportive friendship within the couple.

How do you choose the best couples therapist for relationship mental health?

  • Mutual Support: Both partners should feel supported by the couples or family therapist.

  • Flexibility: If the therapist insists there is only one way to have a successful marriage, consider finding another therapist.

  • Validation: Your therapist should validate both perspectives and feelings. It's vital that no one feels ganged up on.

  • Goal Setting: Establish concrete goals early on with your family therapist and work on learning and practicing new skills.

  • Trust Your Instincts: If you feel therapy isn't helping, bring it up in the session. If necessary, consider seeing someone else.

What is intensive couples therapy?

A couples intensive is a highly focused and immersive form of therapy designed to help couples address challenges and strengthen their relationship in a relatively short period. Unlike traditional weekly therapy sessions, a couples intensive takes place over a condensed timeframe, typically ranging from a few hours in a single day to several days in a row. Most often intensives are held as part of a retreat, but we offer a similar service in West Hollywood.

At Oliver Drakeford Therapy, we offer 'Relationship Mapping, 'which involves a comprehensive assessment of the couple's unique strengths, challenges, and patterns of interaction. By mapping out the intricacies of the relationship, we can help the couple gain clarity, develop new insights, and learn practical tools for improving communication, resolving conflicts, and fostering greater intimacy and connection.

What is sex-positive couples counseling?

Sex-positive relationship counseling ensures that therapists do not shame any sexual preferences. These therapists are trained in best practices for building intimacy within partnerships and are knowledgeable about best practices for non-monogamous relationships.

If you're looking for marriage counseling in West Hollywood, our practice offers compassionate and practical support to help you navigate and strengthen your relationship.

How Does Couples or Relationship Therapy Work?

Relationship counseling typically begins with an initial intake session where the therapist gathers information about your relationship history and the reasons for seeking therapy.

In the first few sessions, you'll have the opportunity to determine whether your therapist is a good fit for you both and what your goals are for healthy relationships.

During this early phase, the therapist will ask questions to understand your needs and help you establish goals. You'll also discuss whether individual counseling might be beneficial alongside your marriage counsling. The pace and length of the treatment are generally set by the clients, with guidance from the licensed marriage therapist.

As therapy progresses, the couples or family therapist helps couples identify and break the negative cycles their relationships are stuck in, aiming to foster a more positive and effective connection. The focus is teaching couples to communicate empathically, express their feelings clearly, and respond to each other's needs. The therapist will intervene if the communication becomes escalated or counterproductive. Emotionally focused interventions are used to help re-establish supportive and secure attachments between partners.

In the final stages of relationship or marriage counseling, partners will learn to share their needs, past experiences, and hurts in a safe environment where they feel heard and validated. This stage allows couples to explore conflicts and problematic patterns in relationships without falling back into negative behaviors.


By slowing down and making healthier choices, couples can learn through marriage counseling to enhance communication to vulnerable instead of defensive, open instead of closed off, and curious rather than withdrawn.

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