"We just met with Dr Dona for 6 weeks of premarital counseling. We really appreciate how thorough she was in going over all the aspects of a strong marriage with us plus helping us with some issues that we always struggled with. So glad she could be our counselor." Clients ~~ Encino, CA
"Very helpful. Good therapist. Productive experience." Clients ~~ West Lake Village, CA
"Our premarital sessions were awesome. We loved her menu of things to discuss that we hadn't really focused on before. We really found value in sitting with her and recommend her." Clients ~~ Culver City, CA
"We recommend our counselor Dona Desmond for premarital counseling sessions. My partner and I (together 6 years now) are psyched to start a new part of our lives together. We got engaged this summer. I often (because of my childhood) thought about specific therapy to help us get further along in communication. My parents got divorced when I was 9 (confused me about marriage) so I wanted someone experienced to help me past blind spots.
We asked Dr Dona for premarital counseling then met with her that week. She was specific about the areas we needed, also the main components of happy marriages that can last. We really like her, especially how detailed she can be on certain topics so we learn the why and how. It’s comfortable for us (actually the time flies). We went for the 6 session deal package (half way through now). I feel stronger about how to manage my fears plus my partner is being less critical. We’re really happy with the process. I recommend it if you're planning to get married." Clients ~~ West Los Angeles, CA
“My fiancé & I are in a really good place most of the time. No major grief on the horizon but premarital counseling was something we put on our list because we thought it would be helpful to spend time with an expert to get some tools/tips for the long view. We did the 6 sessions package. It was amazing! It gave us so much to talk about during the week along with all sorts of things we never actually discussed before. Dr Dona was very organized, clear in her approach, honestly it was surprisingly informative. Really enjoyable counseling experience. We looked forward to our weekly sessions. It was like a date night, after sessions we got a coffee & talked for hours. We decided that if we ever need marriage counseling in the future we know who we’ll turn to. Good experience. Definitely recommend it.” Clients ~~ Playa Del Rey, CA
"My fiancé and I were looking to improve our communication. Dona was able to see us late during the week which worked out fine. We are in our 40's now and this will be a second marriage for each of us. Obviously we never got it right so this time we want to find a formula to succeed. We are using the premarital approach to lock down a formula we can agree on for future times of stress. Now 3 weeks into the process we're both feeling optimistic. I think the premarital sessions help us be more stable during rough moments. Dr Dona is very perceptive but always kind and she's really skilled about relationships so we are thinking we can maybe get it right this time now that were learning new skills for communication." Clients ~~ Brentwood, CA
“Me & my fiancé met with Dr Dona to explore premarital counseling. We've been together since college & engaged for 3 months. Our wedding is a year out but we've been going through some very tough problems recently that have built up for a while. We were planning on seeking premarital counseling anyway but later on closer to the wedding, sadly things have been spiraling & we felt we needed to address some issues urgently. We wrote Dr D & she set us up for a session on a Sunday. For me I was relieved that she understood our situation quickly & gave us advice that was gentle. That’s a big thing for my fiancé because he had a counselor in college that ragged on him so he was worried about that, but she gave us some insights in a kind way. After we worked through our recent conflict she did the Pillars of a Happy Marriage with us & that was awesome. We recommend her & really recommend premarital counseling now.” Clients ~~ Santa Monica, CA
“My fiancé & I needed serious help. Engaged in September, everything’s still been a struggle ever since. Our fights are terrible, he's always breaking off with me. We’ve been together 2 years & always say how much we love each. He says our problems are my problems trusting him since he had a mental affair with a girl from his past that I found out about when I checked his phone. We were hoping to find someone that can give us hope & guidance before he says my resentment will kill things forever. He's also depressed because he feels guilty. I'm mad at him for being mad at me. My parents want me to leave him which isn't helping me. He hasn't told his parents but I think he should. We're totally stuck & the wedding is in 3 months. We both thought if we got counseling maybe both we could fix our relationship. I thought about premarital counseling for ages but my fiancé wasn’t sure about it, then I saw an episode of Dr Phil where he recommended premarital counseling to someone with a similar problem.
"We found Dr Desmond through a Google search & she responded back quickly. We asked her if we could get a combination of premarital counseling & some couples therapy for our other problems. Our counseling with her was helpful because after that first one I felt so much hope that we could get through it. She's easy to talk to, plus taught us things we needed. She was able to see us at night after work so that made things possible for us. It’s not perfect yet but we feel we’re lifting back up to how we should be. I can almost start thinking about the wedding again without freaking out.” Clients ~~ West Hills, CA
"I reached out for premarital therapy because my fiancé & I were having some problems. It’s been a lot recently, especially because our wedding is in seven months. My fiancé is from Ecuador but we met when he was here on vacation. Everything was over the top for us, I truly feel he’s my prince, but now that he’s here we’re finally close everyday with a lot of problem triggers over small things. I feel I cant do anything right for him, then we argue before bed almost every night. Our road to the wedding is a battlefield because his mom thinks I’m spoiled, my mom is begging me to postpone the wedding. I felt like at this point we needed an outsider’s perspective who is not our families to see if we can fix things. We signed on for 6 sessions of premarital therapy with Dr Dona, now were on session 3. Its helping us already at least to stop fighting before bed. I’m trying to see his point that I disrespect him when I interrupt a lot. He's trying to see my side that I need him to still be romantic with me and be the man I fell in love with. He’s being nicer to me since we have have an agreement on how to communicate better so we argue less. I am excited for more session. I like the way Dr. Dona makes us each feel safe about our points of view. She's not judgy at all but is teaching us to make things better so we're feeling some good that we found the right counselor for us." Clients ~~ Chatsworth, CA
“Me and my girlfriend have been together about 4 years now. We are having a lot of arguments and disagreements lately I just want to work on getting us back happy because I really love this girl and am truly planning on being with her forever. I want to marry her for her birthday next year so we can start our new life together. We also have a 7 month old child together. After our daughter was born things got bad for us. No sex, fights such loud yelling that I don't want my daughter to see anymore. We used to be golden, I don't know why we can’t even talk without arguing now. My girlfriend makes me feel like the villain but I need us to be like we were with her not mad all the time. I wrote Dr Dona about all this and we went in for premarital counseling 2 times a week at first then because of sitter issues we had to go every other week. Things are improving with my girlfriend. She says I understand her better. Her stress with the baby isn’t better yet but I’m hoping. She made me write this review because she needs me to do more to help out. Other things are improving though. We’re glad to get help.” Clients ~~ Woodland Hills, CA
“We contacted Dona Desmond looking for an emergency session. We got into a really bad fight about the wedding plans, honestly the worst ever. She had a special package for our situation. Helped me with an anger issues & we came back for work on our communication with some sessions. Too much wedding stress! So far it’s helpful. We found value there.” Clients ~~ Calabasas, CA
“We're recently engaged. My fiancé & I have both had good experiences in therapy so I'm on board for some counseling. Our first meeting with Dr. D was good, she's warm, caring, knowledgeable about the stuff we’re going through. My challenge is my work schedule so sessions are hard for me but she is willing to work with that, seeing us on Sundays, so far so good. She also does evening sessions and has stayed late to see us at times. We feel good about this therapy experience so we both definitely recommend her for relationship improvement and also for communication.” Clients ~~ Santa Monica, CA
Dona Laressa Desmond, PhD, LMFT
Expert PreMartial Counseling and Couples Therapy