Couples Counseling

Is your relationship with your partner suffering? Are you feeling lost about how to improve it?

“I can never get it right with her. I always miss the mark or do something wrong.”; “We fight about the same thing over and over again. It doesn’t matter what I do…I can yell and scream, but he doesn’t hear me.”; “I feel like we’ve grown apart, like we are living two separate lives. He never spends time with me anymore.”; “I really want to trust again and I really want this to work out, but I am so scared of getting hurt again.”; “We never have sex anymore… I wonder if she/he still desires me.”

Have you noticed arguing more—often about relatively unimportant things? Do you ever feel like your fights get you nowhere, and they never get fully resolved? Perhaps you have just discovered that your partner cheated on you. You lost all the trust that you once had. Or maybe you have you been trying to trust again and forgive, but you simply cannot move forward? Do you struggle with being emotionally close with your spouse? Have you ever said to yourself or your spouse, “We just need to communicate better!” Maybe you and your partner grew apart, and it feels as if you were living with a roommate instead of a spouse. What if you lost the spark, and you want to regain it desperately but you don’t know how to do that? What if your sex life is somehow suffering or even nonexistent? Finally, if you are going through a difficult life transition – job loss, being a new parent, recent move – you might be feeling drained and needing more support from your partner.

Don’t lose hope! You can improve and/or save your relationship!

My passion, and the focus of my clinical practice, is helping couples work through their problems—whichever “size” these problems are. I help couples find connection, trust, and fulfillment within their relationships. I am committed to fighting for your relationship until you tell me to stop!

There are hundreds of couples out there who are struggling with similar problems… You are not alone!

Remember, there are hundreds of couples out there who are struggling with similar problems. Some couples are too embarrassed or discouraged to talk about their problems, so they cover them up and act as if things were just fine. Sometimes they go on like this for decades. Other couples try sharing their marital problems with friends or family members. This can become tricky because these support systems—despite their best intentions—can give wrong advice or even take the side of either you or your partner. All of that can create more chaos in your relationship, along with more hopelessness and fear of losing your partner. In couples therapy, you get the benefit of having a therapist look at your case objectively and in a way that will build you up and give you hope.

It is possible to repair and strengthen your relationship

We all get “stuck” sometimes. Not all of us know however, how to move forward when we hit a bump on our “relationship journey.” Unfortunately, we have not been taught at school the crucial skills of how to repair a conflict, how to trust again, how to communicate effectively, or how to maintain a loving bond after years of being together. I have been trained specifically in a therapeutic model that focuses on teaching couples how to:

  • Communicate better
  • Feel closer to their partner
  • Argue less
  • Be a team
  • Be more effective parents
  • Trust again

Based on my clinical training and my personal experience of being in a long-term relationship, I am enthusiastic to share with you what I know about relationships, love, trust, intimacy, parenting, and more. It is possible to get the old feelings back and to recreate the relationship that you once had.

At that point, you might be wondering… Do I really need couples counseling?

This is a great question. You need couples therapy when you start recognizing some of these common warning signs:

  • Blaming the other person
  • Attacking the other partner’s character
  • Criticizing
  • Being persistently angry and resentful
  • Name calling and mocking
  • Using sarcasm and hostile humor
  • Giving the other person the silent treatment or physically removing yourself from arguments
  • Ignoring and withdrawing emotionally and physically

Also, if you are going through stressful life transitions—job loss, being a new parent, experiencing an empty nest, getting sick or disabled—that are straining your relationship, you might want to seek additional help.

Finally, if you are currently seeing a therapist individually, and you find yourself talking with that therapist mainly about your relationship problems that is a good indicator that couples therapy might be very helpful to you.

… But what if you tried couples therapy before and it didn’t work?

If you tried couples therapy before and it didn’t work for you, I can understand how discouraging, risky, and upsetting it must be for you to even consider couples therapy again. I also encourage you to think about some of the reasons why therapy didn’t work for you. Was it because you and your therapist were not the best match, or you didn’t feel like your therapist understood you? Maybe you or your spouse were not quite ready for it or didn’t think that you truly needed it? Or was it because you had too much going on at that time and therapy wasn’t really a priority for you? If some of these arguments are valid, assess whether or not re-starting couples therapy makes more sense now than it did before. This time around, you might know more clearly what you are looking for in your therapist and in your treatment. Take advantage of this experience, and use it in a way that works for you.

… But therapy is expensive!

Yes, therapy can be expensive. It is easier to spend money on a nicer dinner, vacation, or new furniture for your house. Indeed, spending money on these pleasures sounds more appealing—as long as your relationship with the one person that you care about the most is satisfying and loving. If that is not the case, and your relationship is suffering on the daily basis, investing money in fixing it might be a bigger priority than a new car, furniture, vacation, etc. Also, I am sure that you have heard that therapy is still cheaper than getting a divorce. You also might have heard that some of our personal problems—if not resolved in your current relationship—tend to follow us to our next relationship until we resolve them. So why not work on them now?

What if my partner doesn’t want to come in with me?

If that is the case, come in by yourself! We can still work on some aspects of your relationship even though your partner is not there with you. You see, if by seeing a therapist individually you start changing the way you approach your partner, he/she might start “believing” in therapy, and; therefore, they might be more likely to try it themselves.

Out of hundreds of therapists out there, why should you choose me?

You might be wondering if I am the right therapist for you. I am so glad that you are thinking that. This is your treatment and you need to make sure that you feel comfortable with and understood by your therapist. You also must have confidence that your therapist knows how to restore your relationship and make it better.

As a therapist trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), I can help you get to the heart of the problem instead of only treating the symptoms. We know that standard techniques like teaching couples how to communicate better or how to problem solve more are ineffective. How many times have you promised yourself that “this time, I will not fight with my spouse, and I will take a “time-out” if the argument gets too intense?” How many times have you failed at that (or made things worse by storming out) the second you saw your partner roll his/her eyes?

We know that below the surface, the real questions that we ask ourselves are: Do I matter to you? Can I count on you? Will you be there when I need you? Do you value me for who I am? In EFT, we address these questions, and we help couples have new, more vulnerable types of conversations that ultimately reshape their relationships.

What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a model used by therapists to work with couples and marriages who are experiencing relationship distress. This model helps couples learn what is really driving their negative patterns of interactions with each other. EFT focuses on rebuilding and strengthening the connection between partners so that partners can feel safe and trust each other more. Click here for a more detailed description of EFT.

There is hope! Don’t take my word for it! Look at these numbers. Over 25 years of research in Emotionally Focused Therapy has documented that 70% of couples receiving EFT recover from symptoms of relationship distress, and up to 90% report seeing improvements in their relationship. If you would like to learn more about EFT, hear it from an expert by clicking here. Importantly, for most couples, EFT has also shown positive outcomes long after they have finished counseling, compared to other couples counseling approaches that show only positive outcomes while during the actual treatment.

Also, clients who work with me have mentioned on multiple occasions that I truly listen to them, and “get them.” They said that despite English being my second language, they appreciate my simple, yet in-depth reflections of their experiences. They also report trusting my skills. They know that if we were to “get stuck” in treatment, I will consult on their behalf and make sure that everything possible is done to save their relationship.

Here is what one client said about my service:

“Marta, we are so grateful that you came into our lives. You really pushed us to look at our situation from a different perspective. I cannot count the times that we have said out loud and silently: ‘What would Marta say?’ The techniques that you taught us not only helped, but they also changed us. We relate differently with each other. It has switched our thinking and our belief forever. I feel better equipped to live my life and care for my family, and relate to the world as a whole.

We have had our “bumps on the road,” but we continue to draw on our experience with you and try to stay on track. Our ability to do this is due to a lot of dedication and hard work, coupled with the knowledge you shared with us. We really made a good team! Thank you for being patient with us while we opened up. Thank you for the encouragement, validation, and support when we worked hard and when we didn’t know if we could try anymore.”

Therapy will not be easy; however, once you start feeling a little more connected and reassured in your relationship your hard work will pay off. I have seen couples change, trust more, communicate better, and feel closer to one another. You can be one of those couples too! Call me for our 30 minutes phone consultation today!