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Psychotherapist and Author

Helping men achieve meaningful relationships.

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Build confidence through mutual empathy and understanding

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Understand your emotions; get help with personal problems.

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Developing a meaningful life after your loss.

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James Swaniger, MA

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
CA License MFC 36314

better relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationships
better relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationshipsbetter relationships

Welcome to Better Relationships

I am Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private in Irvine CA. I graduated from Pepperdine University and have been licensed since 2000. My counseling approach includes supportive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. The type of therapy used depends on the client’s problem. I work with adult individuals and couples who are willing to do the hard work of therapy.

Basically, I help clients realize the problem-solving capacities they already have and teach them how to apply these to daily life. During this learning, and throughout the counseling process, people gain a better understanding of themselves and how they can resolve their problems. They learn what steps they can take to improve their situation.  When problems and solutions are clear, the work that has to be done during and after counseling seems more manageable.

Problems that bring us into counseling usually involve a relationship, either the one we have with ourselves or with someone else. These relationships normally have a pattern, one that gets “baked in” during the first five or so years of life. We then use this pattern throughout our life in all of our relationships. Usually this is a good thing. We can get along with each other, adjusting to each others’ patterns of living and relating.

When our patterns clash or we begin to struggle with how we feel about ourselves, something about our pattern no longer works. Our thinking, feelings and behavior begin to change. Life doesn’t seem to get any better. For example, we keep fighting the same fight at home or at work or we pick the same type of partner over and over and get the same results. Emotional pain can set it.

Counseling would first deal with your presenting problem such as those shown in the “Do I Need Therapy?” section. Once your situation is stabilized you can begin to learn how to modify your thoughts, feelings and behavior and improve your situation. You can also learn why things go wrong, what your emotional “triggers” are and what you can do to improve your circumstances.

In couple counseling for example, partners realize how each others’ behavior and emotional patterns from  childhood can lead to problems in their adult relationship – or how the “there and then” effects the “here and now”. When this happens they begin to understand why certain situations or comments or behaviors trigger emotional reactions.

The couple realizes why they keep fighting about the same issues if this is what they do. Partners gain a deeper understanding of each other and learn to communicate and behave so that problems get resolved faster  with less emotional pain. This helps deepen and enrich their intimacy and sense of connection.

My focus is helping people heal emotional pain they may have, and to teach them how rebuild and/or repair their relationships with others and with themselves. Along the way, they often gain a broader perspective and a deeper self-understanding.

Please call me at 949-760-7171 or text 949-244-8572 or email me at with any questions, comments or to schedule a session.

Meet Jim Swaniger, MA, LMFT

Before becoming a psychotherapist I worked as a mechanical engineer. So I understand the impact of work and career can have on relationships and personal fulfillment. I am the author of “Building Better Relationships – A Guidebook for Men” and several published articles.  I am a native of Connecticut, a U.S. Army Veteran and have been in private clinical practice in Orange County CA since 2000.

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Our Services


Individual Counseling


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Marriage and Couples Counseling


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Grief Counseling


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What got you to this point
is your own story.

“Building Better Relationships: A Guidebook for Men”
– James Swainger, Author

Personal Mission Statement

Emphatically sharing in the personal and spiritual concerns of individuals in the community, I am committed to assisting others achieve satisfying and productive interpersonal relationships, based on their needs, values and lifestyles. This commitment is founded on my belief that satisfying relationships are essential to all human endeavor, and is supported by my wisdom, insight and strength of character.

© Copyright, 1996 J.R. Swaniger, All Rights Reserved

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