My services are based on research from the world-renowned Gottman Institute, which is one of the few relationship counseling and therapy groups with methods and tools based upon scientific principles.
Let’s face it: the idea of going to couple’s therapy is a little scary. People have all kinds of preconceived ideas of what they will experience. But the alternative can be even worse! I realize this is a difficult step, and I congratulate you for having the courage to do the hard things for the sake of your relationship.
What is couples counseling like?
Many people have seen Hollywood’s comic version of therapy: the couple in the movie go to a therapist. During these scenes, couples angrily vent to the therapist, who is passively listening. Usually, the session is a disaster. While these scenes are entertaining, it paints a negative picture for couples who are considering therapy.
My approach is very unlike what you have seen in the movies. The goal is not for the couple to talk to the therapist, but to learn to talk to each other. The partners learn the nuts-and-bolts skills to have successful conversations about their sensitive issues.
What are couples saying about their therapy experience?
A common phrase I hear from my couples after completing an exercise is: “We’ve never talked like this before.” Or, I ask, “Do you think it would help if you did it like this more often?” and the response is often a hopeful, “Oh, yes!” I have been trained by the leading relationship researcher in the world,
Dr. John Gottman, who has learned a great deal about relationships by scientifically studying relationships for 40 years and counting. He, along with his wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, designed a couples therapy methodology that is based on that research. Their methods work!
What happens during sessions?
My sessions include:
Relationship Evaluation. I begin the assessment process by meeting with both of you, listening to the struggles that you are currently facing and the history of the relationship. We briefly explore the highs and lows of your life together and I observe how you discuss your problems.
Individual Meeting. Next, I speak to each of you individually and learn about your background. Since we can’t do an MRI of a relationship, I will ask you to fill out extensive questionnaires, which give a great deal of information about how you relate to each other and view the relationship.
Findings & Treatment Plan. I compile all of this information to understand your situation and look at your relationship from the perspective of scientific research. I share my findings with you, along with a treatment plan that incorporates your goals.
Therapeutic Work. In our therapeutic work together, we:
- Focus on rebuilding your friendship and affection for each other as the foundation to all other relational success.
- Work to regulate conflicts and understand them in a different way.
- Repair old and current injuries.
- Develop a sense of meaning in your shared life. I help you work on the relationship outside of the therapy office through the use of exercises. Used at home, these exercises get your relationship back on track and to help it stay there.
- Plan. Couples often make changes that last for a short while and then go back to old habits. So, I work carefully with you to develop a relapse prevention plan.
When should couples seek therapy?
Couples come to my office for a variety of reasons. Unhappy, conflicted couples come to learn the skills and attitudes which make for happy, successful relationships. Meanwhile, stable, happy couples come to therapy to hone their skills and learn to make the strengths and love in their marriage last a lifetime.
I especially recommend therapy to couples with circumstances, such as:
- Previous marriages
- Step/blended family issues
- Extra-marital affairs
- Childhood abuse histories
- Emotional issues such as depression or anxiety
- Sexual addictions and/or Intimacy Anorexia
I specialize in helping couples overcome these difficulties and find a greater sense of satisfaction in their lives and relationships.
Standard counseling fees and payments:
75-minute Assessment: $200
50-minute Basic Session: $110
90-minute Gold Standard Session: $165
Principle Skills accepts payment in the form of cash, checks or debit/credit cards. Principle Skills does not accept insurance. However, if there is an underlying medical condition that will be affected by therapy and can be diagnosed as a contributor to a client’s struggles, then Principle Skills may provide a “superbill” to clients. Clients may submit it to their insurance company for reimbursement. This “superbill” will be provided as requested, when appropriate. Please note that the majority of insurance plans do not consider marriage therapy a medical issue and will not cover it.
If you are not yet ready for private theray or feel it may not be appropriate for your situation, but would like to improve your relationship with your signficant other, I recommend my couples weekend workshop: The Art and Science of Love, created by the Gottman Institute.