Helping you find the road to lasting love.
You deserve to have love, and a fun, peaceful, sexy, satisfying relationship with the person who suits you best. I will work closely with you, mentoring you through creating your own customized Plan. Then I’ll hold your hand while you implement it, and hold you accountable to your stated desires. I know you can do this, and I’m here to help you do it!
Who Am I?
I am Leah Cochrane, MA, MS, LMFT, a resourceful, intuitive expert in relationships. I’ve been a therapist for over 15 years, licensed since 2003. Proudly, I’m also a queer, older married woman, happily wed to the person who has been the woman of my dreams for the past 20 years. My credentials are at the bottom of this page if such information is of interest to you.
I haven’t always known how to find love, though, nor have I always known how to be the kind of partner someone would want to have. But I learned. How I learned is a part of my story and a large part of the reason why I’m now an expert in helping someone like you connect to your heart, your desires and the woman that is right for you.
I was 32 years old when I began the relationship that changed everything. I met the woman who became my lover, and after only a few months, my life partner. I ignored my misgivings and uncertainties, my intuition, and argued against friends’ warnings. I paid attention to the only thing that mattered at the time: I believed I was in love and that we were meant to be. But of course, we weren’t.
In the years that have passed since this particular 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 difficult, or to disappoint her in so many ways. But that is what happened in spite of the strength of our respective intentions.
The end started fairly soon after we moved in together, with the fading of those intense “in-love” feelings. The relationship journeyed on into misgivings, frequent hurt feelings and intense arguments over housework, finances, children, the future, time, table manners, bedtime reading, and on and on. Love turned into a tally sheet. I told myself that we were just having normal arguments, just working things out. In the name of Love, 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 the two of us–and our children. After one of our big fights we would spend hours “processing” feelings, what had happened, what we wanted from each other. We’d sleep on it and then write out long, impassioned testimonials. We would make contracts. My personal solution was to be as helpful and loving toward my partner as I could, thinking that I would demonstrate to her how I wanted to be loved that way. Hoping she’d get it, and return the favor. Wishing, always wishing, that it would get better, that she would stop criticizing and saying hurtful things, that after all the pain and processing we put into it, that it would grow into the love we both wanted. It never did.
My friends and family would tell you that my partner was physically and verbally abusive. They didn’t understand why I stayed, why I made excuses for her. They didn’t know about me trying to show her how I wanted to be loved. They didn’t know that it wasn’t real love on my part. But then, neither did I. And they really couldn’t understand why I stayed for seven long, miserable years.
I can tell you why, although it took me a long time to understand it. It wasn’t real love I felt for her because it was all about what I wanted for me, and so very little about her. We were two people who had no idea what love really was. I, because I was bound by the second disease of alcoholism and codependence, and she because she coped with her emotional pain and dysfunction by doing what she did. For a long, long time I held onto the false hope that my partner would eventually get with the program and become the lover, 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 self-esteem in exchange for the mere hope that the relationship would someday be what I needed it to be. I said “yes” when I really meant “no.” I jettisoned my dreams and plans instead of standing up for what I wanted. All the while, I told myself I was doing it for love, for the commitment I’d made. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was feeling and doing was very far from love.
I stayed in recovery and in therapy during the worst of our relationship, but it took her leaving me in the most painful way imaginable, before I finally got it. For over seven years I lived in a parody of a loving relationship and thought that was all there was for me.
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 and it nearly destroyed my heart.
Those were some of the most painful weeks and months of my life before or since. I leaned heavily on the kindness of friends, on my women’s group, my therapist, and upon what I had learned about mindfulness through Vipassana meditation practice. For a while, I thought it had broken me.
But it didn’t. You know how the saying goes, right? “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…” I chose to learn the lessons from my experience. Since the end of that relationship almost 25 years ago, I am able to say with honesty that I know what true 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 still know that I would never again lie to myself or anyone else about what love is, or about how I feel. I know that what I have to offer a partner really is love and is the best of me.
Before I met my wife, I knew that I was looking 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 and the flawed parts.
I recognized my Love when I found her, 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 training and my experience helping others to recognize love and invite it into their lives, becoming a relationship expert seemed like a natural path, a title earned through hard, honest work, and through trial by fire. That knowledge, certainty and experience is what I have to share with you.
You Can Have Lasting Love
You are here because you want to know how 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, through the System I’ve created. See the Home page and the Roadmap to Lasting Love page for details.
For those who are in relationships already, I can offer you relationship counseling; Lesbian or Gay Marriage Counseling, Queer Couples Therapy, LGBTQ marriage counseling, or pre-commitment counseling, or whatever you prefer to call it–it is care and support for you to aid your ongoing relationship, or to prepare for marriage (I highly recommend pre-commitment counseling if you plan to marry). Whether you are trying to make it work, or you’re trying to end it gracefully–I support you take a moment to look ahead before you leap, and get some help if you need it. I’m there for you, either way.
Call me at 415-710-6615 to get more info or to schedule an appointment or a free Breakthrough Strategy Session if you’re interested in the Roadmap program, or use the scheduling button on the right side of the page. You can also use the email form on the contact page of this site to request an appointment or Breakthrough Strategy Session, especially if you have questions.
I encourage you to call now, while it’s on your mind–while your feelings are guiding you to seek a solution.
©RCI, Inc. used by permission
Below are my credentials:
Leah A. Cochrane, MA, MS
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
License #MFC 40362
Relationship Coach for Singles
(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
UC Regents Fellowship
NIMH Training Fellowship
Graduate Research Prize 1990
Gaylesta, the LGBTQ Psychotherapy Association www.gaylesta.org
CAMFT (California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists) www.camft.org
San Francisco Chapter CAMFT
IATP (International Association of Trauma Professionals)
AAUW (American Association of University Women)