We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Kay Cocharo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mary Kay, can you tell us about an impactful book you’ve read and why you liked it or what impact it had on you?
About 25 years ago, I read Getting the Love you Want, by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. It deeply impacted my life, both professionally and personally. I was in a deeply troubled marriage at the time and my Narcissist husband had convinced me that everything was my fault and that I was deeply flawed. Dr. Hendrix showed me that relationships are a dynamic between two people and no one person is to blame for the problems. His theory that we unconsciously choose a mate who will best stir up our childhood stories so that we can take the opportunity to heal them was so freeing. By the end of the book, I could see why I had married my husband and what I was trying to work out in myself through our relationship. This book also changed my career. I became certified in Imago Relationship Therapy and my practice went from Individual and Family Therapy to Couples Therapy. I have been seeing couples now for these past 25 years. I eventually left that troubled marriage, healed and learned to make better choices for myself. Today, I still refer to Imago and Dr. Hendrix’s many books when teaching students to become Couples Therapists. The work is timeless and very powerful.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Like most Couples Therapists, I offer weekly sessions in my office. Now during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I am working on Zoom, until it’s safe to go back in person. What’s different, is that I also offer Private Intensives for couples who want to do a deep dive into their relationship over a day or two. These are offered in four or eight hour blocks, typically two full days in a row. An intensive weekend is roughly worth about six months of week-to-week therapy. It is especially effective for couples in crisis, such as the discovery of an affair or ones considering divorce. I also do a Constructive Closure Intensive, for couples who have decided to divorce and want to say goodbye in a respectful way. In addition to these in-office services, I also offer one day Imago workshops for engaged couples: Start Right, Stay Connected. Premarital Therapy has been shown to decrease the percentage of divorces by 30%. My proudest achievement and most exciting program is the three day Weekend Couples Retreat. I take up to six couples to a lovely retreat site where I guide them to work hard on learning and practicing effective communication, creating intimate emotional connection, creating a shared vision for their relationship, resolving conflict and having fun. The weekends are luxurious, enjoyable and completely safe. Transformation during these weekends is practically guaranteed!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m assuming that my friend would be coming after the Pandemic! If so, I would for sure take her to both Getty museums, to Disney concert hall for some music, to the downtown Cathedral, to Santa Monica pier, the beach in Malibu and the Huntington Gardens. We would probably take a day or two to go up to Santa Barbara to the Mission. There are so many good restaurants–I would check out a few in Beverly Hills– Spago, Nerano, Frieda’s for Mexican. We would definitely eat downtown–Red Bird, Bar Ama, Brera. We would spend time at our lovely home just hanging out in the back yard trying different bottles of wine from the cellar. I would take her to my church to hear the outstanding music and have a luncheon, probably at Baltaire in Brentwood, to introduce her to a handful of my best LA friends.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In addition to Harville Hendrix, creator of Imago Relationship Therapy and author of Getting the Love you Want, I want to give a shoutout to Hedy Schleifer. Hedy expanded on the theory of Imago and created Encounter-centered Couples Transformation Therapy. Along the way of the last 25 years, I completed an international Master Class with Hedy which, once again, changed the way I live and work. As a Mentor, friend and colleague, Hedy has helped me to fully understand what connects and disconnects us as intimate partners in relationships.
Other: Pinterest: MKCocharo Alignable: https://www.alignable.com/los-angeles-ca/mary-kay-cocharo-lmft Your Tango: https://www.yourtango.com/experts/MaryKayCocharo