Couples Therapy Pasadena

Have the passion and desire faded from your relationship? Are you feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled emotionally or sexually, but are afraid to talk about it because you fear being rejected? Or—perhaps you are arguing about things with your partner and can’t seem to resolve matters because you don’t feel listened to.

The truth is: all relationships take work, but the love and respect that you want from your partner is something that has to be earned each and every day. Conflicts will arise and that love and respect can turn into resentment or blame. The closeness, intimacy and connectedness you once felt turn into distance and disconnectedness. Communication breaks down and you feel alone, unsafe, or angry.

Conflict is often the result of an unresolved issue that occurred early on in life that is being re-created in your present relationship. It could also be due to some current stressor such as the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or an affair. While it is inevitable that conflict will arise at some point in your relationship, the resolution will require work, patience and a willingness to deal with the problems and feelings in an adult, constructive manner.

I have been working with couples, practicing couples therapy in Pasadena for over fifteen years. As your therapist, I will help you understand the underlying conflict and how each partner contributes to it. I will provide a safe space that allows for open and honest communication. Together, we’ll explore how to reconnect and find healthier ways of dealing with conflict and re-establishing intimacy and communication.

Some of the benefits of couple’s therapy in my Pasadena office include:

  • Developing healthy ways of communicating with each other and avoiding blame
  • Gaining insight into how past relationships influence present ways of thinking about yourself and your partner
  • Creating more intimacy
  • Learning how to negotiate differences and work collectively on problems and issues
  • Negotiating Divorce

I can help you rebuild the kind of relationship you want with your partner. If you are ready to start the journey, please email me or give me a call.


Donna Shanahan

Donna Shanahan, LMFT

Couples Therapy Pasadena, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

I work with individuals, couples and families in short and long-term psychotherapy. I was fortunate in my early training to be introduced to psychoanalytic psychotherapy which inspired me to further my understanding of the powerful effects of the unconscious and how it effects both the body and mind. In addition to my formal education, I have certificates in psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute and the Psychoanalytic Center of California.

My work focuses on exploring thoughts, feelings and memories from early childhood experiences and how those experiences relate to the current issues that you are struggling with now. Oftentimes, what seems to be a problem on the surface is connected to something on a much deeper, internal level. As your therapist, I will work with you to try and understand this inner world and how it relates to your current situation. Being able to understand the past and these old, pushed away feelings and memories will help you to effect positive change in your life and not repeat what has caused suffering in the past.

Professional Affiliations

  • California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • New Center for Psychoanalysis
  • Services


    Providing individual and couples therapy. My treatment specialization includes:

    My Approach

    We all have an unconscious, inner world that we externalize and recreate in our everyday relationships and experiences. We do this because this is what was internalized early on in life and is the way we learned to relate to the world. Some of the ways we learned to interact, however, do not work in our present day lives and in fact may cause pain and suffering. Being able to understand this inner world and what is now causing pain means making contact with it. In other words, making it conscious so that it can be understood and modified.

    My approach in treatment is to help you understand these early thoughts, feelings and behaviors and the relationship they have to one another in order to bring about change and develop more satisfying relationships and life experiences.
    Please call or email me for a consultation today.


    • Insurance

      I provide all the necessary paperwork for my clients to be reimbursed by their insurance provider. The majority of my clients receive some form of reimbursement from their insurance. Please call your insurance provider to determine your coverage.

    • Payment

      Cash, credit cards or check accepted for payment at the time of service.


      $150-250 Per Session

    • Cancellation Policy

      If you do not show up for your scheduled therapy appointment, and you have not notified me at least 48 hours in advance, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session.

    Privacy & Confidentiality

    Your privacy is important to me and is protected by Federal and State Laws as well as Professional Ethics. The matter of privacy and ethics is also the cornerstone and foundation of trust in our relationship. However, there are some legal exceptions to confidentiality; where I would be bound by law and ethics to take steps to protect you or another individual.

    These exceptions include:
    1) Where there is a reasonable suspicion of child abuse/neglect or elder adult abuse/neglect
    2) Where there is a reasonable suspicion that you may present a danger of violence to others
    3) Where there is a reasonable suspicion that you are likely to harm yourself unless protective measures are taken

    Please feel free to ask any questions about your right to privacy and confidentiality.
    Additionally, anything you transmit over my website is highly secure, and stored data is HIPAA compliant.

    Intake Forms

    Please fill out the New Client Intake Form and the Confidentiality Form and bring to your first session.

    Client Intake Information Form


    If you would like me to coordinate care with another professional (e.g., your psychiatrist, primary care physician, etc.), please complete the applicable release of information form below:

    Client Consent Form



    Donna Shanahan, LMFT

    595 E Colorado Blvd.
    Suite 607
    Pasadena, CA 91101
    626 644 7574



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    Be Happily Married…With Children

    It’s a fairly safe assumption to say that when you have children, your life changes. There’s probably not a soul in the world who would dispute that. But, some people are likely to focus on a mixture of changes, rather than focus on strictly positive ones. If we’re all being honest, we should probably all be focusing on that mix – especially when it comes to marriage. Wedded bliss can easily fly out the window when kids come into the picture, and it’s really no one’s fault. You’re expected to put your children first, above all else. The only problem with that arises when we ignore our marriage in the process.

    Life can become chaotic, stressful, and feel as though it’s moving at 100 miles per hour when you bring a new baby into the house. No matter how much advice you might get from people ahead of time when it comes to the importance of going out, having ‘date nights,’ etc., none of that seems to really fit into the schedule of a new parent. And, while it’s likely you wouldn’t change your situation or trade your children for anything, the fact remains: Kids can throw a wrench into just about any marriage, no matter what age they are.

    So, whether you have a newborn baby, or three kids all under the age of ten, there are some important things to keep in mind to keep your marriage happy and healthy.

    As a couples therapist in Pasadena, I understand being on the same page about things is important, and you can’t do that unless you’re well-rested. It may be an old sort of ‘joke’ that when you bring a new baby into the house, you can say goodbye to sleep. And maybe for a few months, that’s the case. But, sleep should be a priority not only for yourself, but for your relationship. When you’re well-rested, you’ll be able to communicate more clearly, you won’t be as irritable, and you’ll be more open toward your partner. If need be, work out a sort of sleep schedule that ensures both of you will get an adequate amount of rest.

    Once you’re in the right mindset and well-rested, communication is key, again and again. One of the most important things you can do is trust your partner, and recognize that at times, they will fail – and so will you! With kids in the picture, it’s easy to feel over-worked, over-stressed, and overwhelmed. That makes it far too easy to lash out at the people closest to us when something goes wrong, including our spouse. Make every effort possible to be patient with the person you’re with, and recognize that a single mistake doesn’t dictate who they are.

    In addition to forgiving and forgetting, you should be appreciative of the ‘little things.’ Maybe your spouse makes dinner every night, maybe they cleaned the bathroom, or maybe they knew you were having a bad day so they stopped to get you flowers. While none of these instances are ‘grand gestures’ of any kind, you don’t always have time for those grand gestures when you’re trying to take care of kids. So, take the little things as they come, and be appreciative of what they mean. They can add up quickly, and really build up your marriage to a higher level.

    While the ‘date night’ everyone encourages you to have can be nice, especially when it means getting some adult time for awhile, it’s not always as feasible as people make it out to be. But, it is important to have something you and your spouse can do together that doesn’t revolve around kids. So, don’t be afraid to take up some kind of hobby or activity together that you can both enjoy. It can be anything from joining a local fitness group, to taking an art class. Find a common interest, or something you’d be willing to try, and go from there. Even just a couple hours a week of something like this can leave you feeling refreshed, and closer to your partner.

    When it comes down to it, yes, having kids in your marriage can make things stressful, and at times it can feel like you’re doing it on your own, causing you to snap at the person you love most. But, you have to understand that your spouse is going through the exact same thing, with the exact same situation. Instead of taking out your frustrations on each other, it’s okay to commiserate with each other. Simply getting things off your chest to one another can help alleviate some of that stress, rather than letting it build up inside. Remember that your marriage is a partnership, especially when it comes to raising your kids. When you not only accept that, but appreciate it, that relationship can really thrive.