WANT TO stop having the same old fight?
- Do you and your partner keep having the same fight and when it's done you don't even remember what is was about?
- Has doing what used to work in your relationship stopped working?
- Do you keep fighting over the same issue that not only doesn't get resolved, you get more discouraged each time you try?
- Have unexpected events put a strain on the relationship you thought could survive anything?
- Are you drifting apart, and even though nothing is really wrong, it feels like there is?
- Are you ready to give up because you don't know what to do anymore, but you don't really want to, you're just sick of things as they are?
It's smart to hire a consultant
If you, like a lot of people, feel stuck in your relationship, you could benefit from consulting a professional, just like you might see a financial planner to reach your financial goals, or a personal trainer to get into a productive workout routine.
You can always see a divorce attorney. Why try marriage counseling first?
you really can get unstuck
I know how hard it can be to get out of the conflict zone when you're stuck in it. I also know that once you start breaking ineffective patterns by creating lasting ones that work for you, you can leave the rough patches (and the fear it will only get worse again) behind.
Traditional couples counseling wastes precious time revisiting the argument of week, refereeing arguments in session, or trying to get partners to "behave better". I have some more effective ways of working.
By having solution focused conversations
When I ask questions that are good ones for you answer, you become clear about the direction you want your relationship to take. The work takes place during our conversation in session and continues after you leave. Sometimes a few very targeted conversations that identify what you want to be different and how you will get there in a way that's right for you are enough.
BY learning WHAT pEople in successful relationships do differently
For those who want a clear roadmap of what to do, there is a growing body of research on what people who succeed at long term relationships actually do that's different. Some of it is not what you would imagine. I am happy to share this work developed by The Couples Clinic in Geneva Illinois to translate research in practical steps anyone can take. You can learn more about it by listening to this podcast with marriage counseling researcher Dr. Brent Atkinson, who trained me in his methods.
Answers to some common questions about couples counseling:
- Ours is not a typical relationship : we are polyamorous / into kink, BDSM or another form of alt sex. Can you work with us?
- Ours is not a typical relationship: one or both of us are gay / bi / gender-queer / transitioning / confused or uncertain about our preferences or orientation. Can you work with us?
- We are in a mixed-orientation relationship. Can you work with us?
- Ours is not a typical relationship: we are part of an orthodox religious community. Can you work with us?
- Ours is not a typical relationship. We had an arranged marriage and are sexually inexperienced. Can you work with us?
Since I started doing relationship counseling here New York City, people have come to me after feeling misunderstood, criticized or judged by other professionals. You deserve to work with someone who gets you.
While I may not know everything about your particular situation, I have educated myself and seek ongoing training about a wide variety of relationship structures and practices. If don't think I'm the best person for you to work with, I'll help you find someone who is.
- My partner is very articulate, while I'm not always, at least around them. They usually manage to get people on their side. How do I know you'll treat me fairly?
You just described something my colleagues who do couples counseling and I see often. One partner manages to be calm, and even persuasive telling their side of the story, while the other person feels flustered or provoked, then has trouble expressing themselves clearly, maybe even loses their temper. Another common dynamic is that one person just plain talks more, or pushes to get more air time.
I make sure people have an equal number of turns, that each person gets heard, and "stays on their side of the line" sticking to their own experience vs. contradicting each other Turn-taking and allowing different points of view is fundamental to the conversation. I also work very hard to be "fair if not neutral", which means that I while I won’t take sides, I will tell you what I see happening with the two of you, what I know about couples, and what I recommend for your situation.
- I just found out my partner has been cheating on me. They say they want us to stay together, but I’m afraid I’ll never be able to trust them again. My friends are telling me to leave. Is there any hope for us, or should I just end it now even though I don’t want to?
If two people want to be together and are willing to do the work, then there’s hope. The people in the relationship are the only ones who can or should decide its' fate. Infidelity is very a common issue. Statistics suggest that roughly half of long term couples in the US will experience infidelity at some point in their relationship, and three quarters of them will stay together.
Infidelity is confusing, especially in the beginning, when each person has a different experience. The person who feels betrayed needs to keep talking about it. They need to be reassured over and over again as little things keep reminding them of what was a traumatic event. They avoid certain places, songs, or situations they find re-traumatizing.
The person who stepped out may ready to move on, or they might need time to get over what happened as well. Ending an affair may have been a loss for them, even if they wanted to end it.
When you start couples counseling knowing all this is normal, that in time and with effective treatment it will change, you can learn how to get past the trauma and back on the same page. You can restore your trust and even reinvigorate your relationship.
- We have been through 3 marriage counselors already. You're our last hope. How will this time be different?
I know people who've experienced unsuccessful couples counseling feel can discouraged, skeptical, even desperate. While I wish we had been able toward together sooner, I will do my best to help you skillfully improve your relationship. Because I focus on these three things:
- clearly identifying the outcome you really want
- concrete skills to achieve it
- ways to stay calm enough use those skills...
At the very least, you'll get a better idea of want you want from your current relationship and what it will take to achieve it. You'll have a better sense whether you're both willing to do what it takes to stay together. If damage has been done to your relationship, you will learn to repair it.
My clients pleasantly surprise me on a regular basis with how they succeed. What people need most is a safe space to sort themselves out, with the right blend of support and encouragement to start the process and keep it going.
- Our friends had a great experience with marriage counseling and encouraged us to try it. We think we are doing OK. Our few problems seem small. Should we try it anyway?
I promise I won’t look for problems that don’t exist or matter to you. Since the focus of my work is you succeeding according to your own definition of success, we might talk about what is already working well for you, (that you may not have paid enough attention to) so you can keep doing what works when life’s inevitable challenges pop up.
Between now and when we meet
I know there’s a ton of inaccurate and just plain bad information out there. You can access some reliable information on this website about relationships, sexuality and stress reduction.
You can read and subscribe to my blogposts about Couples Counseling.
- You can learn everything you need to know about fees, insurance and other logistics of working with me .
- If you still have questions you can email or phone to learn more about working with me. Or, you can go ahead and make an appointment.
Here's some unsolicited feedback about working with me:
"You have helped us learn the tools to get us past our stubborn ways to come up with a solution. I know that we got to this point in our relationship by working with you. I want to thank you very much. I am so glad that we met you and that we stuck it out through the good and bad times. "
here are some other good reasons to work with me:
- I designed (and keep improving) my practice based on feedback from clients, therapy seekers, and what I would want for myself or someone close to me, which is:
- easy online scheduling that allows you to decide when and how often to come in
- convenient location accessible from most subways (23 St. stop) PATH trains, Penn Station and Port Authority Bus Terminal
- a comfortable, upscale but unpretentious professional environment in a neighborhood (Chelsea/Flatiron) you'll actually enjoy coming to
- I am specifically trained to work with self-regulation, relationships, and sexual concerns of all types.
- I provide a warm, humane, hospitable environment. I will not judge anyone's lifestyle, culture, or identity. I do my best to learn about the wide variety of cultures and practices of the people I serve.
- I am practical, down to earth, committed to results. I study the research on effectiveness in therapy. ] I am not tied to a particular modality or technique. I use solution focused conversations to build solutions with you that fit you.
- While I may suggest existing resources that have proven useful to people in similar situations, what comes from our work together is tailored to your particular situation.