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Relationship Counseling and Marital Therapy

It hurts to discover that your relationship is in trouble. We think that if we hang on, we can “weather the storm”. Yet we feel alone, isolated, and afraid. Recovering from the issues that bring us to the brink by learning good communication skills is one of the primary goals of marital therapy. To do this, I use a modified version of Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

During the first session, I will meet with both of you to get a feel for your needs and how we might best tackle your issues. Often, I will have both of you take the Gottman Relationship Checkup test, which helps me to identify areas that you are already strong in and where our focus needs to be. We’ll go over the results and begin working on bringing the two of you closer by learning new skills and more positive ways of interacting with each other.

Patients interested in determining their level of relationship distress can take the Relationship Assessment Test as part of their treatment orientation.

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Marital Business Relationship

Developing a Marital Business Plan

Marriage is when two people come together because of a mutual attraction and desire to spend their lives together. The problem is that situation is not always as easy as it is portrayed on TV and in romance novels. The marital relationship is much more difficult than we can ever imagine for a number of reasons. It is helpful many times to helps “reframe” some of the ideas about marriage if we are to make it work. Physical Attraction When we first meet someone, we find that we have a physical attraction to that person which “pulls us” toward them. We...
Marriage spouse change

How Do I Get My Spouse to Change?

Relationships are important to your health and survival. Many times we enter relationships and notice things in our mates that “we know need to be changed!” The problem is that there is always an element of truth in the situation but changing others is a much more complicated situation than it might seem on the outside. It is always easy to see what others are doing wrong and what they need to change. At times, others do need the help of others to “see the light” and make changes. However, most of the time, others will tend to resist our...
broken egg

How to Repair a Marital Affair

First, remember that legal proceedings don't resolve the emotional issues. It is important to focus on your pain and anger rather than on attacking your spouse. Make sure to leave the children out of the argument; forcing them to be involved or using them to inflict pain on your partner can cause emotional injuries that will follow your children for the rest of their lives!  Forget the temptation to separate immediately, as this will only complicate your options. Avoid making any major decisions during the middle of this crisis! Give yourself time to work on your emotions and the relationship.  This...
infidelity affair rose wine

The Anatomy of Infidelity and Affairs

We tend to think that infidelity and affairs are all about sex.  In reality, affairs are symptoms that sends a message about problems in the relationship.  Understanding this simple issue will allow you to work on the complex problems of finding solutions. The betrayal of trust from one's spouse or partner can be one of the most damaging issues to any relationship. Perhaps you suspect your partner of having an affair. Once an affair happens, the relationship becomes unbalanced. You feel violated and are uncertain whether or not you can ever trust in the relationship again. The person having the affair...
banana peel slip

The Six Weakest Moments for Affairs

Affairs are difficult for most people to understand. Knowing the vulnerable periods can help in preventing and dealing with them for men and women alike. 1. The Hard-Working Steady Course Work Ethic We value getting up, working hard and long, coming home, dealing with the family, playing with the kids day-after-day. We lose our imaginations because we get stuck in a rut of daily life. We forget how to take time out, have fun, act like kids. We grind away under an ungrateful boss, spouse, etc., seeming to be trapped for the rest of our life — and then we die...
Trauma and Crisis in a Marriage

Is My Past Trauma Causing Issues in My Marriage?

We have a tendency to believe that our marriage will “always be there” and never be in crisis. We also realize that all relationships have their ups and downs, and this helps prepare us for difficulties down the road. However, when a significant crisis or traumatic event happens, the stability of any relationship can be put in jeopardy. Understanding a few key concepts can help us to “manage” these difficult times in healthier ways. Is it a Crisis? A crisis can happen when we experience a loss in our family, a loss of a job, the death of an important family...
When you play with matches, you will get burned

Warning Signs of Violent Acts

There are ways of evaluating the potential of future violent acts by those people we associate with in our daily lives. Part of the problem is that we “choose to ignore” the signs and symptoms that suggest future problems in our relationships out of our “hopes, needs and desires.”  Understanding a few issues helps one to make realistic and logical decisions about what to expect from others. The Nice Guy Syndrome We frequently hear others describe people who have been violent as “nice guys” who never showed any indications that they might “lose it.” Others may like them, but they are difficult...
stadium alone

Why Do I Keep Choosing the Wrong Person?

We sometimes wonder why we get ourselves into difficult relationships that “turn out bad” when they seemed so “promising” at the beginning. Sometimes we notice ourselves continuing to “pick the wrong ones” over and over again and cannot figure out what is happening. Many times we attribute it to the other person and think that there are so many “wrong people out there” that we just better “stay away” or “put up with it.” Understanding a few issues will be of a great deal of help and assistance. Modeling of our Family Much as we might had to admit it, much...
Gottman Method

What is Gottman Method Couples Therapy?

Some patients prefer to use a specific type of Relationship Counseling called the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy. Based on Dr. John Gottman's research from the 1970's, this type of therapy is designed to help teach specific tools to deepen friendship and intimacy in one's relationship. Officially, the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy relies on a specific structure and approach. Which is interesting in that Dr. John Gottman is also a vocal advocate for making modifications and adaptations to his techniques as each therapist sees as appropriate.  The structure involves a series of assessment phases, followed by treatment and then...
spy binoculars investigation

How Do I Know if My Partner is Cheating on Me?

Relationships go through many stages, ups and downs, good times and bad. Most of the time we get through these difficult periods. At times, our intuition tells us that the relationship is in the midst of a crisis. Affairs can threaten your trust in the relationship. Understanding the critical clues to an affair can help keep things calm in difficult times. Clues to Unfaithfulness There is a sudden, and new, interest in one's physical appearance. New friends and acquaintances are developed outside of the marital relationship that become a focus on energy, focus and involvement. There are concerns about aging, time left, and a rush...
mouse trap accident

Why Does My Marriage Feel Like a Trap?

The Freedom of Choice is the most valued factor in our lives. Human beings will do most anything to insure that they can have choice in all of their decisions. Much of what counselors, therapists and psychologists hear in therapy is related to a sense that the individual does not have a sense of choice in their lives.  When we feel an obligation to do something, being forced to do what others want, we resist. This is made worse when there is a sense of betrayal in the relationship in some manner. This causes a worry about trust and how...
steps steep path

Crisis Points of Relationships and Marriage

Marriage is most open to crisis when it is rigid and inflexible. Whatever won't bend will break, or push others away. Rigid people, who expect specific roles in relationships only create more crises at different relationship developmental points. When the relationship demands that there be isolation from outside supports, such as family, the focus becomes one of control and fear. Problems can also develop when the relationship is seen as needing to be on the high of a romance. Romance seduces people into expecting too much. Romance after courtship can fade fast. Some people have never learned the difference between love, romance, sex, and growing...
children playing tricycle

How Divorce Affects Children

Divorce is difficult for all concerned. The adults are hurt, defensive, confused, frightened, and respond by a desire to for revenge and defensiveness. Children are confused and uncertain about what to do or where they belong. Understanding a few factors is critical to everyone’s continuing healthy development. Children Are Not Adults Children as not little adults who understand things the same as real adults do. Children tend to interpret what is happening to them in terms of their immediate lives. Children have little understanding of the future and tend to live in the present. They tend to hold magical beliefs that influence their thinking and behaviors. They...
fight karate

Why Does it Hurt So Much When We Fight?

The process of "becoming a couple" is filled with many emotions, feelings, attitudes, risking and identification with another person. Relationship problems happen when these same emotions are injured in any way.  When one "sees and hears" much blaming and emotions between a couple, it is clear that there has been an "attachment bond injury" that has to be healed before the relationship can continue and be healed. Attachment-Bonding We know that an infant and parent need to develop a close bond of trust if the child is to grow. Without this bond, the child will experience a "failure to thrive" which may...
wedding rings

How Can I Trust After an Affair?

Affairs happen for many reasons The main wound is that trust and comfort in the security of the relationship has been shattered.  The fact that we all search for security makes any violation of the relationship, either mental, spiritual, or sexual, much more upsetting. The fact that one is not expecting it, or that it was not part of the assumption about how the relationship would progress and operate, causes traumatic responding. It violates the hopes and expectations that one can be really who they are with another person. Affairs are not really about sex.  It is about betrayal and...
painting a landscape

How Sex and Affairs Act Like an Antidepressant

What is it that causes people to become involved in extra-marital affairs? There are multiple reasons that affairs happen. What has rarely been explored is how depression is a strong motivating factor in the initiation and continuing nature of affairs. Understanding a number of factors might be of some help in thinking as one finds themselves trapped in temptation. Resistance to Reality Changes The one thing that is always happening in life is the one thing that we resist the most: change! We are constantly faced by the issues of change in life whether it be the changing of one day to the...
doubt choice hammer nail screw

Should I Stay Married or Get Divorced?

All marriages have difficult times that at times can seem overwhelming and confusing.  We all ask the question about whether or not it is worth the efforts to stay married. The question of, "Should I stay or should I go" weighs heavily on us. Sometimes, we end up stuck with the conflicting thought that our partner is too good to leave, but too bad to stay. Frustrated When we go through rough times, everything about the other person bothers us. It almost does not matter what the other person does, we tend to find fault with it. In the past we...
broken wine glass marriage

How Do I Come to Terms with my Divorce?

Divorce, or the loss of a relationship, is a very difficult time for all concerned.  It brings out many emotions, causes much confusion, and affects children, adults, parents, and the community.  Relationships are important to our lives and it is difficult for us to experience the loss of them. As we experience the changes of divorce, it is important that we understand what has happened. Divorce happens for many reasons: Because the relationship was not right from the beginning. Because the other person refused to grow in the relationship, did not do their part, was more dependent on their spouse, ...
relationship fight conflict

How Do I Deal with Relationship Conflict?

Healthy families, and couples, know that everyone, and every family, has problems. We want to live in a society that tries to force us to believe that only bad people have problems. The reality is that we all have issues that we have to deal with and solve if we are to be functional and healthy. When one member of the family has a problem, it is critical to know that it is something that affects the entire family. We end up getting defensive, avoid dealing with conflict or possibly create more problems by trying to fix it. This happens more...
relationship dating

How Do I Know If I am Ready to Date Again?

After a painful divorce or if a relationship falls apart, it is important that we take a honest look and understand why the relationship fell apart to ensure that we are whole and ready before we can be a good partner to someone else. Getting involved in a new relationship or getting re-married because you are bored or lonely will only ensure the same disaster and heartache that you have already experienced. We do this to avoid struggling, growing and learning to live as a whole person. Before you start a new relationship, make certain to ask yourself these important...