Couples Counseling

My approach is solution-focused: helping the two of you solve issues that prevent you from being the loving couple you once were.  My therapy style is direct and interactive.

Are you having one (or more) of the following problems in your relationship?

You miss the days that you could just talk to each other, without fighting.

You are sick of giving each other the cold shoulder and feeling like strangers.

The sizzle has turned to fizzle.  The difference in your sex drives is creating conflict.

One of you is jealous for no reason and it is tearing you apart.

One of you had an affair and your future together is uncertain.

You are better off changing your process, not your partner.

You both came into this relationship with baggage: baggage from previous relationships and baggage from growing up.  Many times people really just don’t get how their words, tone of voice, jokes, and actions affect their partners.  You are different people; you have different triggers and buttons.  I can point out these dynamics and work with you to create an action plan.

I don’t encourage couples to rehash old fights and battle it out in the office. You can fight for free at home.  I want you two to evaluate your relationship, develop creative solutions to ongoing problems, and have empathy for each other again.   I can help you get back to being the loving couple you once were!

Couples Counseling FAQ

What if I don’t know if we need couples counseling or if I just need to meet with you alone and figure out if I want to be in this relationship?

This is a very common question.  It depends on your situation.  Give me a call and we can discuss what would be best for you and your relationship.

Do you only see married couples?

No.  I see all couples.  You are welcome whether you are married, partnered, living together, separated, divorced or single; and you are welcome whatever your sexual orientation or identity.

Maybe we should just end it.  Can counseling really help us?

Maybe, maybe not.  If you expect to come to counseling and have me tell your partner that she or he is wrong and that you are right, then no, counseling isn’t going to help.  Isn’t this what you’ve already been doing, waiting for your partner to change?  The truth is, you can only change yourself and your reactions.  If you both are willing to take a hard look at your part in the dynamic, and work to change it, then amazing things can happen.

What will our first meeting be like?

Both of you will meet with me together to discuss the problems you are having.

I will listen to each of you, not to judge who is right or wrong but to help uncover the dynamics that are affecting you as a couple. Uncovering these dynamics is what has the real potential to help you as a couple.

At the end of the session, we will talk about some of these dynamics and how (and if) I think you can benefit from couples counseling.

Instead of automatically booking a follow-up session, I’ll ask the two of you to go home and talk with each other about what we discussed in our meeting to see if you want to continue in couples counseling.   No pressure.

What if my partner isn’t ready?

Are you ready?  Yes, it takes two to tango but often it only takes one person to change the dynamics of a relationship.  You make up half of the relationship.  If you improve your own self-awareness and thereby react in different ways to your partner, she or he will react in different ways.  I’ve seen this work even in the most stubborn and serious cases of relationship conflict.

A word to couples with children:

I understand that all relationships cannot be saved.  I don’t believe in staying in a miserable relationship for “the sake of the children.”   Having said that, I feel that children develop best in an intact household.    Once you become a parent, frankly it isn’t all about you and your happiness.   Your decision to separate will profoundly effect your children.   It is not a decision that should be made lightly.  Couples counseling can help you make absolutely sure that this relationship is beyond saving.  This may sound either obvious or ridiculous, but often the stresses of everyday living, particularly with children and the strains they can put on a relationship, can cloud our judgment on such matters.  You owe it to yourself and your children to try to salvage this relationship.  If you believe this too, I’m the right counselor for you.

A word to same-sex couples:

While same-sex couples have many of the same challenges as heterosexual couples, you also face additional outside pressures due to societal homophobia, which can create conflict within the relationship.  These issues include: family acceptance, different levels of comfort with being “out” and religious or cultural expectations.

You need a counselor who can teach you to recognize these outside influences, so that you can better learn how to come together as a couple and resist these forces instead of letting them tear you apart.   I am a LGBT affirmative counselor and have special training in same-sex couples dynamics.

Contact Caroline