My Mission is to help you find lasting love that is both peaceful and satisfying, with the person that is right for you.
Whether you are single or a couple, you deserve to have love, and a fun, peaceful, sexy, and deeply satisfying relationship with the person who suits you best. As your therapist and coach, I work closely with you so that you can reach your relationship goals–every one of them.
If you are already a couple, it is my mission to help you connect with each other in a manner that eliminates conflict and hurt, and that will bring you both the happiness and the unique satisfaction and intimacy that are the true gifts of a successful, loving relationship.
If you are a single and looking for the woman of your dreams and a relationship that is everything you want, you, too, are a part of my mission. I am here to provide you with mentoring, help and support to prepare yourself to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right mindset. Together, I will help you identify and then build a set of dynamic skills that will enable you to recognize when someone is absolutely right for you (and when she is not), and to be able to co-create with your partner the kind of relationship you really want.
Who Am I?
I am Leah Cochrane, LGBTQ Relationship Coach and Counselor, and a California licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (#40362).
♥ I am a highly trained Relationship Coach for both Couples and Singles, and a Radical Dating®, Radical Romance® and Radical Marriage® Program Coach.
♥ I am a resourceful, intuitive expert for same-sex relationships with women, although I often work with men, as well.
♥ I’ve been a licensed therapist for over 15 years, since 2003, and a Relationship Coach since 2016. I have worked in various roles in the mental health clinical and research arena for more than thirty years.
♥ I am an Elder, a married Queer woman, happily married (finally!) to the person who has been the woman of my dreams for the past 22 years.
♥ My formal credentials are at the bottom of this page if you are interested.
Truth be told, I haven’t always known how to recognize real love. I haven’t always known how to be a desirable partner, either. But I learned. How I learned is a part of my story and a large part of the reason why I now help others like you to connect to your heart, to your desires, and to the partner that is the right match for you. You will find my story below.Read on...
I was 32 years old when I began the relationship that changed everything I thought I knew about love and relationships. I met a woman who became my lover, and after just a few short months, my “life partner.” You see, I wanted a family more than anything. I hated being a single mom and dating was beyond my comfort zone and my social skills, so I was ready and willing to hook up.
I was ready and willing but, as I now know, not even almost close to being able to form and sustain an intimate, healthy relationship. I had doubts and trepidation about moving in together so fast, you bet I did. However, I believed I was in love, and that’s what counted. So, I ignored my misgivings, my uncertainties, and my intuition. I argued against my friends’ warnings. I paid attention to the only thing that mattered at the time: I believed that like any fated lovers, we were meant to be together.
But of course, we weren’t any such thing.
In the years that have passed since this relationship ended, I have come to understand that my ex probably didn’t enter the relationship with the intention to harm me so badly, nor did I intend to make her life so difficult, or to disappoint her in so many ways. But that is what happened, in spite of the strength of our respective intentions.
The beginning of the end started fairly soon after we moved in together, when our intense “in-love” feelings began to fade. The relationship limped on into misgivings, frequent hurt feelings, and loud, intense arguments over housework, finances, childrearing, the future, time, table manners, bedtime reading, and on and on. You name it, we fought about it. Love turned into a tally sheet. All of our interactions became tit for tat. We wounded each other with words almost daily. It became easier to spend time apart than it did to be together.
I told myself that we were just having normal arguments, that we were just working things out. In the name of Love, I exhausted all my financial resources and alienated friends and family. I accepted verbal abuse, infidelity and constant criticism as a part of “working things out.”
I couldn’t figure out how we had gone from being so in love to what life had become for us–and our unlucky respective children. After one of our big fights we would spend hours “processing” feelings, belaboring what had happened, trying to get the other person to agree with our own point of view. We’d sleep on it and then write out long, impassioned testimonials. We would make contracts. We would plan to start over. We’d cry about it. Then the cycle would begin again.
At the time, my solution was to act as helpful and as loving as I could toward my partner. My thinking was that I would demonstrate to her how I wanted to be loved. Hoping she’d get it. Hoping she would return the favor. Wishing, always wishing, that it would get better, that she would stop criticizing and saying hurtful things. Hoping that after all the pain and all the “processing” we had put into it, that it would grow into the love I wanted. It never did.
My friends and family would have said, if I’d been willing to listen to them, that my partner was physically and verbally abusive. They didn’t understand why I stayed, and why I made excuses for my partner.
They didn’t know about the deal where I was trying to show her how I wanted to be loved. And they didn’t know that it wasn’t real love on my part. But then, neither did I. And they really didn’t understand why I stayed for seven long, miserable years.
I can tell you why, now, although it took me a long, long time to understand why. What I figured out was this: it wasn’t real love I felt for her.
Why not? Because it was all about what I wanted for me, and not so much about my feelings for her. She stayed with me, of course, for her own reasons that also had little to do with love.
We were two people who had no idea what real love was supposed to look like. I, because I was living the second disease of alcoholism, called codependence, and she because she coped with her emotional pain and dysfunction by doing what she did (hers is not my story to tell–suffice to say, however, that in terms of dysfunction, we were well-matched). For a very long time I held onto the false hope that my partner would eventually get with the program and become the lover and the partner I needed her to be.
In the course of trying to get that from her, I simply tossed away huge chunks of myself. I ruthlessly squandered my well-being and my self-esteem in exchange for the mere hope that the relationship would someday be what I needed it to be.
So, I said “yes” when I really meant “no.” I jettisoned my own dreams and plans instead of standing up to her for what I wanted. And all the while, I told myself I was doing it for love, and for the commitment I’d made.
I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was feeling was very far from love.
I had been in the early years of recovery from alcoholism when I found this relationship. I stayed in recovery and in therapy during the worst years of our relationship, thank goodness, but it took her leaving me in the most painful way imaginable, before I finally got it. For over seven years I had lived a parody of a loving relationship and had come to believe that was all there was.
The most painful part of the whole experience, for me, was that I had wanted the whole loaf, but had settled for nothing but crumbs. And at the end of it, I didn’t even have crumbs. The realization nearly destroyed my heart.
Those were some of the most painful weeks and months of my life, before or since. I grieved for the child who was hers that I was forced to leave behind (Lesbian/Gay partners had no parental rights to a partner’s child). I grieved for my own, only child’s loss of a step-sibling. I leaned heavily on the kindness of friends, on my women’s group, my therapist, my family of origin, and upon what I had learned about mindfulness through Vipassana meditation practice. For a while, I believed the experience had broken me.
But it hadn’t.
You’re probably familiar with the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Somehow, somewhere, I found a bit of grace in this incredibly painful experience, or perhaps it was that grace found me. In any case, it enabled me to step away from my experience enough to see what I had become. I realized I had some choices to make. Some healing to do.
I dove into therapy, deeper than I had ever done before. I meditated. I performed healing rituals. Attended drumming circles. I went to lots and lots of 12-step meetings. I did a lot of writing.
I asked myself if there was anything positive that I might be able to take away from nearly losing myself. I looked for the lesson in the whole, awful experience. It was a difficult thing to do, being as hurt and as angry as I was. But slowly, and with a lot of hard emotional work, I chose to embrace the lessons, instead of becoming a truly bitter and defensive woman.
Since the end of that relationship almost 25 years ago, I have become a new person. A better version of myself. Someone I like a whole lot better. I am able to say, now, with confidence, that I know what love is. I know who I am, I know what I require in a relationship and what I look for in a partner. I know I have found my heart’s mate, but even if that hadn’t happened, I know with certainty that I would never again accept the kind of relationship like the one I’ve described here. I now know that what I have to offer a partner is real love, and that I am free to give the best of me, and that I am worthy of love.
After the painful relationship, I longed for someone who I could adore, and who would adore me in return–someone who would love me just exactly the way I was–the perfect parts of me and the flawed parts of me.
Because I had embraced the painful lessons of that long-ago relationship, I was able to recognize my Love when she came into my life, even though she was unexpected. Our marriage, like most successful marriages, is not always smooth and easy, but it is always safe and loving. Because of my personal experience, my trial by fire, as it were, helping others with their relationships seemed like a natural path for me to follow, and so it has been.
My hard-won knowledge and personal experience, combined with years of training and professional experience, are what I have to share with you. Now you know someone who has been through it all, and who also has the training, experience and credentials to help you find your unique path to happiness and satisfaction.
You Can Have Lasting Love
You are here because you want to know how to take what’s in your heart and mind and create it in your life. You want someone to adore and who adores you right back. Of course you do. I get that. And I can help you do that–in any one of a number of ways, depending on your situation.
For those who are in a relationship already, I can offer you Lesbian/Gay Marriage Counseling, Queer Couples Therapy, LGBTQ Couples Coaching and Counseling, and Pre-commitment Counseling for same-sex couples. No matter what part of my services you may consider, what I offer is care and support to aid your ongoing relationship.
I also have personalized approaches to help you find the right partner for you, even if you feel you have a “broken picker” or believe you have been unlucky in love.
Call or text me at 415-710-6615 to get more info or to schedule an appointment for a free Breakthrough to Love Strategy Session.
I encourage you to call now, while it’s on your mind–while your feelings are guiding you to seek a solution.
(415) 710-6615 • call or text with questions or to request a phone appointment to discuss your situation.
Below are my credentials:
Leah A. Cochrane, MA, MS
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
License # 40362
RCI-trained Relationship Coach for Singles and Couples, licensed Radical Dating®, Radical Romance®, and Radical Marriage® program coach
(Training and Affiliation at Relationship Coaching Institute)
MS Counseling 1996
Emphases in Marriage & Family, and Rehabilitation
San Francisco State University
MA Health Psychology 1991
University of California San Francisco
BA Psychology 1983
Summa Cum Laude
California State University East Bay
“Treatment Strategies for Returning Troops” 2014
John F. Kennedy University
Relationship Coaching Institute
Singles Relationship Coach 2016
Couples Relationship Coach 2017
UC Regents Fellowship
NIMH Training Fellowship
Graduate Research Prize
Gaylesta, the LGBTQ Psychotherapy Association www.gaylesta.org
CAMFT (California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists) www.camft.org
San Francisco Chapter CAMFT
Relationship Coaching Institute, member and graduate