Rosenberg, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist

Janis Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

9696 Culver Boulevard, Suite 303
Culver City, CA 90232
Lic # PSY 15452

  • Weekly or Biweekly Individual Psychotherapy Sessions for Personal Growth
  • Couples, Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Telephone consultation sessions
  • Half hour supportive or educational sessions
  • One and one-half hour sessions for couples

Areas of Specialization

  • Fear of intimacy and relationship ambivalence
  • Divorce and infidelity
  • Trauma and DEPRESSION
  • Parenting and Step-parenting
  • Shyness and Self-esteem Issues
  • Finding or building a healthy passionate relationship
  • Adjusting to loss, separation and divorce
  • Underachieving or creative blocks
  • EMDR Therapy (Level 2 Certification)
  • Eating disorders, weight loss, body image
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Motivation and tools for CHANGE


John Gottman ( Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, 1994) has amassed a great deal of research and can predict which marriages will last. The key is the couple’s ability to resolve conflicts.

The magic ratio: “As long as there is five times as much positive feeling and interaction between husband and wife as there is negative, we found the marriage was likely to be stable.”

John Gottman is a social psychologist in Seattle and runs a marriage lab where they test couples, video their interactions hooked up to machines to measure physiological signals of stress. In one study they were able to predict with 94% accuracy which couples would stay together and which would divorce based solely on the couple’s views of their marital history and their current perceptions.

A lasting relationship results from a couple’s ability to resolve conflict that is inevitable in any relationship. There are 3 different styles of problem solving: 1) validating couples who resolve things calmly 2) conflict-avoiding marriages, where couples rarely confront their differences and 3) volatile marriage where couples who have frequent conflict and passionate disputes.

All of these styles can have stable equilibrium if they are agreed upon by both individuals. If negativity builds, and the four horsemen take over, the marriage will be in danger.

No matter what style your marriage follows, you must have at least five times as many positive as negative moments together if your marriage is to be stable.

Gottman talks about the emotional highjacking connected with conflict behaviors. His Four Horsemen are:

  • Criticism—attacking someone’s personal personality or character, rather than a specific behavior—usually with blame.
  • Contempt—The intention to insult and psychologically abuse your partner.
  • Defensiveness—a response to blame where no one takes responsibility.
  • Stonewalling—Withdrawal, isolation, no communication.

These are four behaviors that predict divorce. Frequent arguments cause partners to develop bioemotional hypersensitivity to each other and knee jerk hostility.

Strategies to break the cycle of negativity:

  • Calm down—Gottman describes the experience of flooding where an emotional trigger creates physiological arousal. Learning to calm down the arousal is especially important for men. He advocates teaching relaxation for the overlearned response to flooding, which is often to run away or distance. He suggests taking your pulse as you argue with your spouse and taking a break if it goes up too high.
  • Speak nondefensively; reintroduce praise and admiration to avoid the 4 horsemen. Dwell on what’s right in your marriage.
  • Validation: let your partner see you understand him and can see his perspective.
  • Overlearning—try and try again. Practice these skills till they feel normal.

(Excerpts from Why Marriages Succeed and Fail, John Gottman)

If you are interested in learning more effective ways to communicate and find intimacy in your relationship, you may want to consider couples counseling.

Questions for Dr. Rosenberg? Send her e-mail or call her at 310-841-0302