Couples/Marriage Counseling

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

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.

COVID-19 Preparedness and Mitigation Protocol

I am offering some office-based, and mostly video-based, psychotherapy and couples counseling via an easy-to-use, HIPAA-compliant teletherapy platform called Here in my building, the engineer/superintendent and management company have upgraded the air filtration system (vastly improving its MERV-rated filters, and so on). For in-person meetings, I try to maintain ample space between chairs, and time between sessions for everyone's protection. Also, there are days when I might be wearing a basic, disposable paper mask in our sessions, particularly if you request that I do so. (I would wear a sturdier N-95 mask at your request.--Your health is very important to me.) I will not require you to wear masks, however, and I am open to any additional suggestions you might have, going forward. 


Call Today for an Appointment:  202-929-6473

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 are not entirely sure 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: Are you on the same page regarding children, alcohol use, money, politics, house chores, the autonomy-dependence balance, and expectations of, and with respect to, in-laws? Who is doing the cleaning and grocery shopping (and how often), and how will things like "down time" and "workout time" get prioritized as careers and family composition change over the years? Does this person share your most closely-held values---the things you like to do, and your ideas on how to live a good life? 

Not only are the above 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 more 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, as well as flag for future awareness and discussion.

Standard Couples Counseling and Marriage Counseling in Washington, DC

Typically, people come in for five to fifteen sessions---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. Maybe it helps to know that most people are not actually trying to be difficult in their relationships with each other. More likely, one and/or the other person is struggling with deeply-ingrained, maybe not-entirely-effective coping mechanisms, the origins of which might pre-date the current relationship of decades or more.

Essentially, we would 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 the context of difficult topics. Structure for careful listening create safety, in other words. 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 then 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 this process, 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.

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 at least some sense of sadness and loss.--It's painful to feel a need to walk away from an all-in investment in love and joining of all kinds, to give up a piece of your history with the other person, or figure out a profoundly different family organizational structure. See if you can come together now--but from the place of your best selves--to make the decision to either part and/or to have a completely recalibrated relationship together from this best-self place. -- Can you give voice to how you have grown in the relationship--what you will miss, what you will always be grateful for having learned or shared, and why it's important to be able to separate in as respectful a way as possible? Bitterness and contempt, while understandable internal emotional states, are not long-term answers for a relationship that is ending, especially if children are involved--and concern for their, and your, 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 point of recategorizing a relationship.)


Photo by Paul Mannix
(African penguins, Boulders Beach, S. Africa)

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