The Couples Center is now closed; Barbara Swenson passed away on February 26, 2018, after a long and fruitful 30+ year career. She was devoted to her clients, family, and friends.

Anyone wishing to celebrate the life of Barbara Swenson: you are welcome to join us on Saturday April 7th at 2pm at Montclair Presbyterian Church (5701 Thornhill Ave, Oakland CA 94611). All will be warmly welcomed!

Should you be moved to do something in her honor, you could donate to Counseling West, the agency she helped run for 20+ years, or any other non-profit counseling agency near you. They provide non-profit counseling to low income families in the San Fernando Valley.


Barbara Swenson, PhDHello! I’m Dr. Barbara Swenson, owner of THE COUPLE CENTER, located in Lafayette, CA. Licensed in 1987, I’ve specialized in working with couples since 1994 when I founded the original COUPLE CENTER in Los Angeles, CA.  In 2010, I migrated to the Bay Area to be near my daughters and grandchildren and began practicing in Lafayette, CA. I’m still as passionate as ever about working with couples and relationships.

I never expected to specialize in working with couples; after all, I’m divorced. I used to be a bit embarrassed to admit that I’m a divorced couple’s therapist, but I’ve realized having been married for over 25 years, many of those years good ones, raising two terrific daughters, then going through a very painful divorce, that I’ve learned an awful lot through that whole experience. We saw four different couple therapists over several years, but I realized many years later that we never really got to the crux of things. I didn’t really know much about couple therapy at the time. Now, many years later I’ve learned a lot about relationships and a lot about couple therapy; specifically, what works and what doesn’t work.

Having worked with couples for over 28 years now, I have a very clear focus on what needs to happen in couple therapy to get to the important issues; not just skim the surface. In fact, most couple therapy does not go in-depth enough and often does not get to the crux of things. The truth is, most therapists don’t get adequate training in couple’s therapy and it’s a very different skill than working with individuals.

Many couples ask for help with communication. Yes, I can help with that. And it’s certainly important, but better communication alone won’t save your troubled relationship. Why? Because when you’re hurt or angry with each other, all your good communication skills tend to go right out the window and you say things you don’t mean two days later (but your partner remembers for months!), or, you don’t say anything at all. And to be clear, the issues are often lots more complicated than just poor communication. So that’s just part of the problem. You need someone to help you that has LOTS of experience and can identify the underlying problems and then can help you fix them. And can keep you from getting discouraged along the way. Many therapists work with couples as ONE of the services they provide. You want a therapist who PRIMARILY sees couples. If you had a brain tumor, would you want a doctor who saw lots of different illnesses and an occasional brain tumor, or one who dealt mostly with brain tumors? Enough said.


  •  communication in your relationship
  • the impact of an affair (I have lots of experience with this!)
  • constant arguing
  • a too long engagement
  • a partner who doesn’t like to talk
  • disagreements about parenting
  • changes that a new baby brings
  • restoring intimacy
  • problems with anger
  • your or your partner’s depression

I bring my over 28 years of experience with couples to address your unique situation and help you get your relationship on track in as short a time as possible. I know that when you’re discouraged about your relationship, it effects everything else in your life, and when your relationship is going really well, everything feels better. Let’s start helping your relationship thrive today!

Call me to discuss how I can help:    510-277-3111

or email me:  barbara@couplecenter.com
250 Lafayette Circle, Suite 107, Lafayette, CA 94549

We can discuss your situation and see if you think working with me might be a good fit for you. Whatever your issues, you can rest assured, I’ve dealt with them before. I’ve seen over 1000 couples!

In Lafayette:  Barbara Swenson, Ph.D.       510-277-3111
(I’m ½ block from the Lafayette Bart)