Counseling For Couples + Relationships

We rarely hear the inward music, but we’re all dancing to it nevertheless.
— Rumi

Couples therapy or relationship counseling is designed to help heterosexual and gay couples work through relationship and communication problems and create or reconnect to love, respect and emotional closeness. I work couples in crisis and high-functioning couples helping them listen for and understand the emotional needs of the other. Effective couples therapy should provide support and guidance so that communication can feel safe and constructive. Additionally, couples can learn tools to navigate problems, work through conflicts and increase the attachment bond, which results in deepened intimacy and trust. I am excited to use the many skills and tools I've acquired to help clients create a more successful partnership as a result of my training with The Gottman Institute and by integrating EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy into sessions.

What Research Tells Us About Relationships:

  • Emotional distance can be as destructive to a relationship as conflict
  • The way a couple fights, repairs and resolves problems is more important than what they fight about 
  • Attachment insecurity leads to conflict and or distance
  • In distressed relationships, some partners shut down and withdraw as a way to manage intense emotions
  • Couples must nurture fondness and respect for the other in order to thrive together
  • Couples need shared meaning in their lives to remain connected 

Therapists who have received training from The Gottman Institute are interested in using a range of effective interventions to help partners in couples therapy master difficulties including, learning to:

  • Re-ignite the flames of fading romance and friendship
  • Build shared meaning, values and symbols for long term connection
  • Bridge the chasm of emotional distance and building a culture of appreciation
  • De-escalate volatile arguments and gridlocked fights
  • Eradicate criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling
  • Heal from affairs and other breaches of trust
  • Learn to listen and understand the needs of the other
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Develop healthier problem-solving skills and learn to resolve conflict productively
  • Identify and express personal needs clearly and openly
  • Create shared goals, values and dreams
  • Express, disclose and resolve painful emotions
  • Work through unresolved trauma and issues of the past and wounds that have occurred in the relationship 

Common reasons couples decide to seek relationship counseling:

  • To heal from emotional affairs and infidelity
  • Divorce, remarriage and blended family
  • Sexual problems such as incompatibility or lack of desire
  • Health or emotional problems
  • Healing from addictions or substance abuse
  • Money and financial concerns
  • Difficulties with communication or expressing needs
  • Conflicts about values
  • Different parenting styles
  • Cultural differences
  • Fertility issues and related stress
  • Anger and resentment problems
  • Personal histories of abuse and trauma
  • Roles and work/life balance

I am happy to work with you in person or if your schedules conflict, online therapy using a HIPPA compliant service or Skype which is not secure are two available options. Please send me an email for more information.

Premarital Therapy + Counseling

Premarital counseling allows couples to nip issues and potential problems in the bud, strengthen the bond as well as talk about and clarify goals and values that are important to each member of the couple.

Sexuality + Intimacy

Sexuality in Intimate Relationships

Sexual problems are common in relationship therapy. Approximately seventy-five to eighty percent of all adult males and females experience sexual difficulties in their lives. The symptoms may vary, but often these problems can be caused by anxiety and stress, lack of sexual knowledge and/or experience, different needs and sexual interests, inability to communicate sexual needs, relational difficulties, childhood trauma and health and hormone-related problems. Therapy can help couples explore and understand the origin of their sexual difficulties, provide specific knowledge about sexual function and suggest methods to increase sexual satisfaction.  As a therapist, I am sex positive and comfortable working with sexual diversity ranging from mainstream to alternative lifestyles.

More helpful information about Relationship Counseling:

Many fear bringing their struggles to a couples therapist because of shame or the threat that the relationship may end. In my experience, many relationships grow and thrive as a result of successful couples counseling. Many couples enter treatment to enhance their connection and relationship. For some, the relationship is in a crisis and requires a swift response to stop the bleeding. A trained relationship therapist will know the right approach. I consult with individuals and couples as they navigate many phases of relationships such as those in newly-formed relationships, pre-marital counseling, pre and post-baby transition difficulties and separation or divorce. I offer 60 and 90 minute consultations in my New York City office, over the telephone, or via Skype or Google Helpouts.

Many of my clients enter therapy to share the challenges and drama of single life and dating in Manhattan, as well as the complexities of long-term relationships. The ability to create and maintain meaningful and mutually satisfying relationships leads to a balanced and satisfying life. Research tells us that committed relationships, partnerships and connected marriages can be our greatest source of love, support, and happiness. As the early glow of a new relationship begins to wane, challenges in the form of patterns and dynamics begin to surface and things can unravel fast. Each member of the couple may unconsciously trigger in the other unfinished business of the past such as: early unmet needs, deficits, abandonment, loss, rejection, engulfment and a variety of other family of origin dynamics. What occurs can be emotional distance and negative feelings, contempt, defensiveness, conflicts that escalate, confusion and the inability to reconnect and repair after a dispute or argument. At this point, the relationship can become a source of pain and tension, rather than comfort, mutual support and joy.

Couples counseling is a type of relationship therapy that focuses on building and maintaining a healthy partnership by fostering connection and attachment, developing compassion and empathy for self and other, learning new skills and even resolving wounds from the past. Clients seek couples therapy and pre-marital counseling for a variety of reasons. In some cases, partners have suffered a trauma in their relationship, such as a betrayal or infidelity, unemployment or another type of crisis that creates stress. The popularity and dependence on social media such as Facebook and other technological advances such texting and email has created new problems for couples leading to misunderstandings and even emotional betrayal and affairs. Couples with relationships that are higher-functioning and less-stressed use relationship sessions to better understand the needs of their partners, deepen listening and communication skills and further strengthen their relationship.

According to marriage and relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, less than 5% of divorcing couples seek marriage counseling and the average couple waits six years before seeking help for marital problems. Additionally, half of all marriages fail in the first seven years. Couples may fear relationship counseling for many reasons, yet it is clear that most couples endure a less than ideal partnership for far too long. Therapists who work with couples agree that intervening soon rather than later will yield better long-term results.