I very much enjoy providing couples therapy and marriage counseling in Washington, DC. This is a vibrant, energetic, multi-cultural, and well-educated city, and I enjoy helping couples improve in yet another area of competence and connection that they bring to it.
Call Today for an Appointment: 202-744-2922
Premarital Counseling in Washington, DC
Regardless of how long a couple has been together, marriage is one of the most important life decisions we make. If the two of you do not already know where each other generally stands today on the matters of children and child-rearing, finances, fidelity, religion/spirituality, and so on, these are avenues you are strongly advised to explore: What do you have in common with your partner, and can you easily name five things that you enjoy together? Are you on the same page regarding children, alcohol, money, politics, house chores, and what to do with free time? Who is doing the cleaning and grocery shopping, and how will things like "down time" and "workout time" get prioritzed as careers and family composition change over the years? Does this person share your values--the things you like to do, and your ideas on how to live life? Not only are the themes themselves important, but I would also encourage you to be even more interested in HOW you have this type of conversation--the very subtle, sub-text ways that you and your partner open up towards each other and/or seemingly disregard or accidentally dismiss one another when there are slight or serious differences of opinion on these important subjects. Within approximately three to five sessions together, we will look at how the two of you communicate and then tidy up any relational habits or proclivities that might be getting in your way at this point.
Standard Couples Counseling and Marriage Counseling in Washington, DC
Typically, people come in for five to fifteen sessions--and sometimes for more, if considerable damage already has been sustained over many months or years--in order to get to the bottom of the repetitive communication traps that have moved, or are currently moving, from frustrating to downright corrosive and isolating inside the relationship.
Essentially, we focus on the partnership as a dynamic system. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, in other words, as the relationship itself feels the effects of each partner's experience in other roles.--Work relationships, friendships, the family of origin, and relationships with children in the current family structure, for example, all have an impact on how the couple functions. To rebuild intimacy in a strained partnership, specific training allows the therapist to help the couple interact more openly, and with emotional safety, thereby increasing the felt sense of connection between them--even in difficult topics. There should be no "taking sides" by the therapist. Each person needs to feel heard and understood in order to build a more satisfying life together.
For relationships of a few months or dozens of years, ironing out communication wrinkles, large and small, can bring huge relief. I will work with you to pay attention to, and really get to know, your relational process. By doing so, you will be able to move beyond the quicksand of the arguments themselves to what's happening sub-text (i.e., on an emotional level), not just within yourself, but also with respect to what's happening with, and for, the other person. In doing so, you will learn how to be clearer and more effective than ever in what you say and how you are received, while also learning how to take in your partner's (not to mention coworkers', friends', and family members') communication with equanimity and a real sense of competence.
Same-Sex Couples Counseling in DC
Every relationship faces challenges from time to time, and same-sex couples certainly are no exception. Even the most prepared, in-love married couples experience a variety of complications and problems over the course of the relationship. Some couples may fear they’ve grown apart over time, have trouble communicating, worry that they have less and less in common anymore, or face more serious issues, such as lying and infidelity. Same-sex couples who face relationship stress, inside or outside of marriage, can benefit from couples counseling as a way to either restore the relationship or to help it transition into its next natural phase. Learn more about my LGBT couples counseling services in Washington, DC.
Some Specific Couples-Related Issues
After Trust Has Been Betrayed -- An Affair
When the contract has been broken, it brings the question, how did this ever happen, and how can we go on from here? Let's get to the root of the problems and talk about the things that one and/or the other of you have been neglecting, or needing to say, for a long time. We'll create a safe space for this and make every effort to restore trust and connection again as soon as possible, so that the healing can begin and better decisions can be made by each party, both individually and all the way around.
Many couples in this country--certainly evidenced in the Metro DC area, at least--happen to carry two different political party affiliations inside of the same relationship, and things increasingly can feel like poles asunder, generating the feeling that never the twain shall meet (to brazenly clip a partial phrase from Rudyard Kipling), especially in these most recent years. The easy thing to do, of course, is to decide that we are correct, and the other person (along with his/her group of voters) is categorically wrong. But, what happens when you're in love--either falling in love or fully invested in this person over many years and many stages together, in spite of those (perhaps even more strident now) political beliefs? First, we need to be comfortable and sufficiently secure within our own selves and political positions--yet not so absolute about these political convictions that we find ourselves utterly uninterested and shut down (i.e., lacking in our typical curiosity about things)--in order to make room for another set of thoughts and viewpoints. When this sense of self and calm are not in place, we human beings have an inadvertent proclivity for offloading aspects of ourselves onto, or into, other people and groups and then strongly disliking these disavowed elements in that person or group over there. This madness can only stop with some honest soul-searching, and then with some meaningful, patient communication with the other person. I am happy to help you with this process, if that relationship might be worth pursuing or saving.
How To Part Amicably
All relationships come to an end in this lifetime, whether that's due to geographic separation, death, or one or both members having stopped growing inside the relationship. Regardless of whether or not there is some semblance of mutual agreement about a separation (and there often is not), there is virtually always a sense of sadness and loss.--It's difficult to give up love, to give up a piece of your history with the other person, or to break up a family. Come together now to give voice to how you have grown in the relationship--what you will miss, what you will always be grateful for, and why it's important to be able to separate in as respectful a way as possible. Bitterness and contempt, while understandable reactions in a given moment to certain behaviors, are not long-term answers for a relationship that is ending, especially if children are involved or there there is any concern at all for mental health over time. For the children's sake, and/or for the sake of restoring emotional equilibrium as soon as possible, there ARE healthier ways to express strong emotions at the dissolution of a relationship.
Photo by Paul Mannix
(African penguins, Boulders Beach, S. Africa)