Both my personal and professional experience tell me that the work of building and maintaining a healthy relationship might be the most challenging, but also the most important and rewarding, thing we will ever do as human beings.
Believing this, I am especially moved to work with people in this area of their lives.
As a marriage therapist (or couples therapist, as I work with many couples – including same-sex couples – who are not married in the traditional sense) I work with couples in all areas of couples therapy: premarital counseling, relationship support (traditional couples therapy), infidelity/affair recovery, Discernment Counseling for Couples (when one partner is “leaning in” to the relationship and one is “leaning out”), and divorce (or relationship closure) counseling.
In keeping with best practice guidelines, my standard couple session time is 1.5 hours. However, I also offer 50-minute couple sessions to clients for whom that session length is a better fit. Premarital, Relationship Support and Affair Recovery sessions can also be held as Intensive (3-hour) Couple Sessions on an afternoon or a Saturday morning, as these times become available.
Take a moment to read through the following services to see which one might be the best fit for you.
Before We Begin – My Couples Counseling Assessment Process
In keeping with relevant research recommendations, my work with you will begin with a thorough relationship assessment. This assessment will consist of one 1.5 hour joint assessment session (both partners attend), an individual assessment session for each partner, and completion of an online relationship evaluation. At the end of this process, all three of us will have the information we need to establish and address goals tailored specifically to your relationship.
Most couples enter into a marriage or committed relationship with significant differences in personality, temperament, values and needs, as well as our own personal baggage from previous intimate connections. Bizarrely, we also arrive at this most important co-creating moment without a manual or toolkit to help us manage these differences.
Although the statistics regarding divorce are improving, these challenges continue to impact even the most committed couple, and there is no doubt that couples who engage in premarital counseling – a type of couples therapy meant to prepare you for marriage or a committed partnership – increase the likelihood that their relationship will stay the course (according to a survey published in the Journal of Family Psychology, couples with premarital education reported higher levels of marital satisfaction and experienced a 30 percent decline in the likelihood of divorce over five years).
Our premarital couples therapy sessions will involve a rigorous but positive exploration into common areas of disagreement and misunderstanding – such as communication, finances, sexual intimacy, career goals, parenting timing and philosophy, spirituality and extended family involvement – and will provide each of you the opportunity to embrace your fullest individual potential within the supportive boundaries of a vital, fulfilling relationship. This work will in turn enhance the likelihood that your partnership will experience a long and satisfying future.
Contact me today if premarital couples therapy sounds like a good idea to you. I look forward to working with you.
Relationship Support (Traditional Couples Therapy)
Maintaining a committed, mutually affirming relationship can be a challenging endeavor. As we work together in our couples therapy sessions to support and repair your marriage or committed relationship, I can help you:
• Soften and clarify your communication so you are able to really hear and understand each other’s thoughts, feelings and important stories
• Learn skills and strategies that will help you manage the misunderstandings and conflicts that can arise in a long-term relationship
• Enhance your friendship, intimacy, and positive affect in order to help you improve your secure attachment to one another
• Identify shared goals and values that will allow you to build and maintain a unified meaning system for your relationship and your family
• Clarify the identities and roles you each bring to your relationship and recognize when those elements might need to be revisited and reassessed
Contact me today to set up a couples therapy session. I look forward to working with you.
According to couples therapists, infidelity is the second most damaging relationship problem, surpassed only by domestic violence.
The revelation of an affair (whether emotional, sexual or both) can be traumatic, and the early stages of the couple’s recovery journey is usually marked by extreme feelings of anger, loss, betrayal and guilt, as well as disorientation and mistrust regarding the future of the marriage or partnership.
If your relationship has experienced this trauma, there is hope. With the support and guidance of this particular type of couples therapy, you and your partner can learn to:
• Realign personal and relationship boundaries
• Identify the individual, relationship and socio-cultural vulnerabilities that helped make the affair possible
• Understand the meaning of the infidelity to both partners, and move toward reparation and forgiveness
• Rebuild trust in each other and in the relationship
Healing from an affair happens gradually, and in stages. It takes time. But with hard work, you and your partner can fully grieve the loss of the original relationship and begin to build a second, stronger one characterized by vitality, intimacy and trust.
Contact me today if you and your partner are experiencing the aftermath of an affair and feel couples therapy could help you begin the journey toward healing. I look forward to working with you.
Discernment Counseling is a specialized type of couples therapy in which one person is leaning out of the relationship and is reluctant to work on it, and the other wants to save the relationship.
Discernment counseling is short term, and the focus is not on solving marital or relationship problems but on seeing if they could potentially be solved.
- Unlike traditional couples therapy that assumes that both people are willing to work on the marriage, discernment counseling helps people decide whether to work on their marriage or keep moving toward divorce.
- Unlike individual counseling that usually takes one person’s side, the discernment counselor works to understand both partners, even if they see things very differently.
In our discernment counseling sessions, I will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move towards divorce, or take a time out and decide later. I will respect the reasons at least one of you might be considering divorce and also try to open up the possibility of restoring the marriage to health.
I will emphasizes the importance of each person seeing his or her own contributions to the problems and the possible solutions. This will be useful in future relationships even if this one ends. Discernment counseling will be considered successful when both of you have clarity and confidence in your decision regarding the relationship.
If you feel this specialized form of couples therapy would be good fit for you, contact me today to set up a Discernment Counseling appointment. I look forward to working with you.
Divorce (Relationship Closure) Counseling
Divorce may be one of the most stressful experiences one can go through, even if it brings relief from an unhealthy or unfulfilling relationship. The process can take a significant emotional toll on all parties involved. And if children are involved, the stress level of everyone in this uncoupling process can be even higher.
Divorce counseling – couples therapy with a particular focus on navigating the changes and stress brought on by the divorce process – is for couples whose mutual goal is relationship closure. It is independent from, but very compatible with, divorce mediation services.
In divorce counseling sessions, I can help you:
• Work through painful grief and loss feelings, such as denial, anger, guilt and depression
• Learn how to communicate better and collaborate productively so that you are able to respectfully resolve disagreements regarding living arrangements, financial obligations and parenting responsibilities.
• Understand and appropriately address the emotional needs of your children during this difficult time
• Learn more about yourself and begin to see this life transition as an opportunity for personal growth and development
• Discover coping strategies that can help you heal old wounds and begin to establish a new life without your partner
Contact me today to set up a divorce (relationship closure) counseling appointment. I look forward to working with you.