What qualifications should I look for in a couples therapist?
Why do people come to couples therapy?
How long does couples therapy take?
What can I expect in couples therapy?
First and foremost, you can expect a non-judgmental environment where you can be understood, challenged, and learn more about yourself and your partner. In the initial phase of therapy, I will help you assess your current relationship struggles and strengths. In addition to interviewing you about this, a great tool is the Gottman Relationship Check-Up, an online assessment that I can interpret and review with you. After, a treatment plan will be devised with your input. You can expect subsequent sessions to focus on core skills that are known to build healthy relationships, such as how to diffuse conflict or how to rebuild connection. Additionally, your specific concerns that were outlined at the start of treatment (or new ones) can be addressed. While the session format may have continuity, the content of the discussion will depend on what’s most relevant each session, whether it be resolving an argument that just occurred or reaching a new understanding on a long-lasting concern.
Should I engage in individual therapy along with couples therapy?
It may not be advised to have individual and couples therapy simultaneously due to competing goals or interventions. Many people are surprised to discover that relationship therapy will enhance their personal functioning and can address their individual symptoms or concerns. This occurs through the context of a growing, committed relationship in which space is created for their individual needs and greater support is given and received. Thus, they may discover they are not in need of individual therapy while doing couples therapy. Of course, every circumstance is different and there are exceptions in which individual therapy may be warranted or recommended. If this is something that you partake in, let both therapists know so that they can work with you to have interconnected goals that will honor your relationship growth. I am happy to discuss your goals and how couples therapy can align with them.
Do you work with couples who are unsure if they want to stay together?
Yes. It’s not uncommon for couples to be unsure if their relationship can be saved or even if they want it to be saved when they come to therapy. Figuring that out can be a very appropriate use of sessions. If a couple has already decided to separate or divorce, attending therapy together can also be very effective for a couple of reasons. First, if there are children involved, they will need to learn to co-parent well for the benefit of all. Second, it is helpful for the growth of each person to understand their contribution to the end of the relationship so that they won’t repeat dysfunctional patterns in future relationships and can move forward in a healthy way. Finally, if they are able to develop a shared narrative about their relationship that they can present to others they may avoid losing friends and splitting family members. Remember, a relationship that doesn’t survive effects not only the couple, but their families and communities as well.
What if I’ve tried couples therapy before without luck, why should I try it again?
It’s not uncommon that people have an unsuccessful experience with couples therapy before having a transformative experience. There are 2 common reasons for this. The first is that they worked with a therapist that wasn’t appropriately trained in couples therapy, and, thus, did not have adequate expertise to be helpful. The second is that they were not fully engaged in the process. Couples therapy requires a level of focused attention during and outside of therapy sessions and sometimes it is not the right time for one or both partners to commit fully, such as if they have competing demands for their time or emotional attention. Oftentimes when couples report an unhelpful couples therapy experience they may have attended sessions sporadically or been unprepared to change. When both partners are committed to acquiring new skills, growth is achievable.
What kind of couples do you work with? Any you don't work with?
I collaborate with couples of all ages, sexual orientations, faiths, and stages of relationship. I work with both heterosexual and same-sex couples. I also work with couples with a Christian perspective and other couples who may have different religius affiliations or none at all. My nonjudgemental approach allows me to assist couples wherever they are at rather than expecting them to be anything different.
What if it's hard to find a quiet place at home for online therapy?
If children are an issue then it may be helpful to take advantage of evening appointments, either after young children go to bed or while older children are safely occupied. Some couples attend therapy from one partner's work office after hours, or from a home office or other location that can become a sacred space. If you are concerned about being heard by family members, a simple white noise machine can block out conversation. I will be happy to brainstorm other ideas with you for optimizing your online therapy space so that you can communicate openly during appointments.
How do I get started? What if I have additional questions?
Do you take insurance? What payment methods do you accept?
I do not accept insurance for multiple reasons. Many insurances do not cover couples therapy and none cover 90 minute appointments for couples therapy. Since I am not credentialed with insurances, I encourage you to check your out-of-network benefits to see if they would be helpful to you. I am happy to provide a "superbill," which you can give to your insurance company for reimbursement of out-of-network benefits. I accept flexible medical savings cards and credit cards for payment.
Do you work with clients all over the U.S.?
Unfortunately, no. Due to licensing regulations for clinical psychologists I am able to work with clients whom are residents of Oregon, Idaho, Virginia, and Florida in an unlimited capacity and residents of Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia as long as the COVID-19 crisis is still impacting those states (these states have relaxed telehealth regulations during this time).
Do you provide couples therapy intensives over a whole day or multiple days?
Yes I do. Intensive couples therapy, often referred to as "marathon" therapy, can be a good option for some couples. It can complete weeks or months of standard therapy over the span of a weekend or a week. Couples often choose this course in order to jump start their therapy program, when their time is limited, or when their need for relationship insight or results is acute. Marathon therapy sessions are typically booked in half day to two day session increments; however, I am happy to discuss a longer intensive therapy plan to fit your needs.