Advanced Counseling and Psychotherapy
—private offices in New York and New Jersey—

Manhattan, NY, Bergen, NJ
New York Local: (212) 996-3939

New Jersey Local: (201) 226-1880

Psychotherapy, Counseling and Medication Management 

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Adult, Marriage, Couples, Family, Child, Adolescent 

Manhattan, NY, Bergen, NJManhattan, NY, Bergen, NJ

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Commonly Treated Issues Include:

Abuse / Trauma
Addictions / Habits
Alcohol / Drugs

Bipolar / Mood Disorders
Career / School
Caregiver Stress
Chronic Worry
Conflict / Trust

Eating / Weight Issues
Illness / Grief / Loss
Learning Problems

OCD / Obsessions
Panic / Fears
Parenting Issues

Personality Disorders
Sex / Intimacy
Sleep Issues
Women's / Men's Issues

Marriage Therapy / Counseling

Marriage and Relationships
If you are having problems within your relationship, coming together for relationship or marriage counseling can often lead to improved understanding and communication with one another. Through counseling you can learn to listen to the needs and desires of your spouse. Marriage counseling teaches couples the tools needed to achieve honest, respectful, two-way communication that will prevent future arguments. Couples will learn to replace resentment with respect and to replace arguments with caring conversations. The goal of marriage counseling is to help each individual gain a better understanding about the needs of their partner increasing marital satisfaction.

Through marriage and couples counseling each partner will improve his or her listening skills.  This will enable the couple to more effectively hear and understand the needs of their partner, which will allow the relationship to flourish. Marriage and couples counseling focuses on clearing past issues so the couple can concentrate on improving their present situation. New skills aim at allowing an individual to build intimacy without sacrificing their own individual identity. Working in individual and joint sessions will assist the individual to heal old wounds, address conflicting priorities and preferences, and bring balance back into their lives. Continual patterns of negative interaction can be replaced by new and love-enhancing behavior.

Signs of Trouble
Research shows that marital problems do not spontaneously improve. By the time couples separate or divorce, they have experienced on average 6 years of relationship deterioration. Those couples who seek marriage counseling and spend time improving their relationship when problems first develop have a better chance at having a successful relationship. Marriage counseling or couples counseling can help steer the relationship in the right direction.

Inability to Communicate within the Marital Relationship
In some long term marriages an individual may believe that their spouse no longer understands them.  The partner will complain of a severe lack of communication involving their children, work, or home lives.  Some couples even report losing interest in activities that they used to find enjoyable to do together.  It has been reported that 12% of couples who seek marriage therapy feel alone and feel as if they can not confide in their partner anymore.  Without open communication the marriage and the family will suffer.

Some partners even expect their spouse to have the ability to read their mind.  This expectation is very unhealthy and stems from the belief that a married couple should know everything about each other's needs and desires. The longer two people are together the better they know one another, however, reading each other's mind is an unreasonable expectation. The concept of mind reading often appears in the situation where a couple exchanges gifts.  For example if a wife is constantly disappointed by her husband’s gifts she blames him for not understanding her desires or not caring about her.  Because if he truly “loved” her he would know exactly what present she was expecting.

Some spouses expect their partner to give them constant praise throughout the day.  When they are denied this praise marital conflict occurs.  Communication difficulties arise around many areas including but not limited to overspending, financial matters, outside friendships, infidelity, online addiction, online infidelity, substance abuse, and parenting concerns.  A spouse who spends most of their time at work can often lose the ability to communicate with his or her family. Marriage counseling helps couples rebuild trust and open communication.

The Soul Mate: a fantasy that destroys marital reality
The concept of the soul mate is increasingly popular in western society.  Individuals have come to believe that one day they will meet their soul mate. The soul mate rests on the ideal that each person is destined for another perfect mate. Many people search for their soul mate and sadly never find that person who says all the right things and fulfills every need. When someone is searching for their soul mate instead of trying to work through already existing relationship's issues the relationship will take on much stress. The soul mate fantasy is a concept that puts unnecessary pressure on a relationship to be ideal.  Every couple has disagreements and instead of terminating the relationship because of an argument or difference in opinion, marriage counseling or couples counseling will allow the couple to communicate their differences and improve their relationship. 

Career and Work Conflicts
The Workaholic
If you or your partner is having trouble balancing your career life and your home life, marriage therapy can be extremely helpful in creating realistic goals to help improve your marriage. Many couples have difficulty balancing their home life and work life.  Such a balancing act often increases stress within the marital relationship and within the household. Due to the fact that American households are mostly two-income, many couples are have difficulties balancing their home life with their career.  When one spouse is forced to work longer hours because of his or her job, tension can develop within the relationship.  If a spouse loses a job or if the spouse's salary seems insignificant to his or her partner, then conflict and stress will surely arise. In many instances being successful at work means giving up family responsibilities, which can jeopardize one’s home life.  In order to be successful, an individual is required to work a full time job, and then go home to handle all the domestic duties. In order for there to be harmony in the marriage, domestic responsibilities should be shared in a dual income household.

The Stay at Home Partner
When one spouse in the relationship does not work there is often increased pressure and tension within the relationship. A stay at home partner is expected to handle all household endeavors and family issues.  Seeing as the domestic partner has no other job besides household duties the working partner takes this for granted. What the working partner sometimes does not comprehend is that household duties and family issues are a twenty four hour job with very little rest, praise, or reward.  It is a job that often goes unnoticed by the working partner and the family.  When there is little thanks, resentment and frustration can build within a marriage, which causes tension and marital dissatisfaction.

The Unemployed Partner
In some instances a spouse is unable to get a job creating tension within the marriage regarding financial matters and responsibility to the household.  When one partner is unable to work resentment and guilt are often the result.  The unemployed partner can develop feelings of worthlessness because they can not provide for their family or spouse.

Financial Issues:
Balancing financial issues such as overspending or budgeting within the marriage

Financial matters can be extremely confusing and frustrating especially if a couple does not agree on the way money is spent and budgeted within the household. Thus marriage counseling allows the couple to discuss openly their opinions on how money should be spent within the marriage.  No matter how rich or how poor a couple is, one of the constant subjects of marital disagreement is money. Whether it’s over how money is earned, spent, or saved, money arguments are common and affect the relationship because money issues are emotionally charged.

Attitudes toward money are learned in childhood. When spouses are raised with widely differing attitudes toward money, conflict is inevitable. The key is for couples to discuss their views on money and to decide among themselves how they will make decisions about how the family money will be handled.

A mistake couples often make is to have one spouse in complete control of all family assets. That’s not to say that a spouse with a particular skill in managing money should not use that skill, but that spouse should always discuss with his or her partner what ultimately happens with the money. Marriage counseling, family therapy, or family counseling can alleviate much of the stress caused by financial issues. Counseling and psychotherapy should be with a licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, professional counselor, family therapist, or psychiatrist. On occasion one of the partners or family members might be helped by medications for depression and anxiety.

Religion in Marriage
Religious beliefs are something quite essential in a marriage. Couples looking to get married should discuss how religion will play in their lives and what each person holds important as in spiritual beliefs. If one partner truly wishes to convert it should be treated with love and respect. Both partners should attend counseling with the minister, rabbi, or priest during the conversion. Couples seeking to remain with two religious beliefs in the house should seek counseling in order to discuss where and how each religion will play in their families’ lives. In complex religious situations, it is imperative that decisions about religion be made early on in the relationship. Marriage counseling, family therapy, or family counseling can alleviate much of the stress caused by religious differences. Counseling and psychotherapy should be with a licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, professional counselor, family therapist, or psychiatrist.

Chronic Illness
The Chronically Ill Parent and the effect of Illness on his or her Family and Partnership
When one partner becomes acutely or chronically ill it can be one of the most devastating experiences that the couple will ever face.  Illness not only affects the individual but also that person’s partner, children, family, and friends. When a parent falls ill, children are automatically faced with issues of death and illness and what it means for them. Children may misbehave due to increased anxiety and depression regarding the situation. A child’s reaction to a parent’s illness can include separation anxiety, clingy behavior, drug or alcohol abuse, difficulties in school, and argumentative and oppositional behavior. Each member of the family faces issues from who is going to make dinner to more serious issues of who will give the chronically ill parent his or her medication and drive them to the hospital for treatment. When one partner becomes ill the rest of the family is forced to continue life and absorb that individual’s previous responsibilities.

The Strength of the Well Partner
The partner of a terminally ill individual is forced to compensate for their spouse's illness and must take care of their partner by continuing his or her previous responsibilities.  When faced with the possible death of a partner, couples are forced to begin taking precautions for the future.  Daily life is forever changed and the stress of illness of a family member creates frustration within the household.  The well partner becomes the strength of the household and in highly relied on by the other family members.

Social Isolation due to Illness
There are instances of social isolation when an individual is chronically ill.  For many they have no desire to have their friends or extended family see them dying.  In combination with fatigue and weakness, the chronically ill individual isolates not only himself but his family in the interim.   Suddenly a household that was once booming with activity and filled to the brim with new faces and new friends becomes increasingly quiet.   The more that the family isolates themselves the weaker their outside support system becomes. Social isolation is a pattern that is very easy for a family with a chronically ill individual to fall into.  With the help of marriage and family therapy the family can work on their relationships and their new positions within the household.  Each individual needs to find their new identity within the household and how it relates to outside friends.  By creating an open line of communication families will have the opportunity to understand what each member is going through.

The Guilt of the Chronically Ill Parent
In many instances, the chronically ill parent is faced with issues of worthlessness, hopelessness, and guilt.  Some individuals believe that their illness is the result of not taking care of past health concerns.  The chronically ill are forced to concentrate on becoming healthier and often lose those aspects of their life that previously defined them.  When a father is dying of cancer and is on disability he no longer feels that he can properly provide for his family. For ill parents who are incapable of physically taking care of themselves or their own family they feel like they have failed.  This type of guilt is psychologically and emotionally damaging for the ill partner and can often lead to depression, which will cause marital stress. Marriage counseling, family therapy, or family counseling can alleviate much of the stress caused by a chronically ill family member. Counseling and psychotherapy should be with a licensed psychologist, psychotherapist, professional counselor, family therapist, or psychiatrist. On occasion one of the partners or family members might be helped by medications for depression and anxiety.

Parenting Issues
Couples that have children are often faced with some stressful and challenging parenting issues.  When it comes to parenting issues many couples disagree on the choices they wish to make for their children. When disagreements occur, often conflict and tension within the relationship is the result. Serious issues that test a marriage include a chronically ill child, a child with learning disabilities, a mentally retarded child, a child with autism, or child's death. These issues are often devastating to a family and can put stress on a marriage.

Special Education Children
Maintaining a Healthy Marriage While Raising a Special Education Child

Parents raising a child living with mental retardation, autistic spectrum disorders, or learning disabilities (such as ADHD) are confronted with huge challenges regarding the care of their child.  These challenges range from providing the correct medical care to finding the right schools and the right opportunities.

Parents with children living with a disorder find that their entire family is extremely isolated. They begin to be left out of neighborhood functions and as a result lose the powerful connections they once had with friends. The stress of having a multiple handicapped child creates tension within the family and the marital relationship. 

Parents may find themselves becoming depressed or grieve for the dreams they once had for their child.  When a parent has a special education child he or she may throw themselves entirely into the lives of their child.  The child basically becomes the center of his or her world. Instead, another parent may become a workaholic in order to cope. Without a balance between family, work, and self parents may find themselves becoming increasingly stressed, anxious, angry, or depressed. These feelings have a negative effect on the family and marriage. For couples who find that their marriage is suffering due to the stress of having a child with mental retardation marriage therapy is a great option.  It allows that couple to voice each of their concerns and achieve balance within their lives. 

The Chronically Ill Child

Parents raising a chronically ill child face overwhelming challenges that often result in marital distress.  Parents of an ill child are completely responsible for his or her medical care and thus devote all of their time to taking care of the child.  Often such stress places their relationship with their spouse last.  Couples with a chronically ill child complain that their partner is emotionally distant, that they are unable to communicate, and intimacy is lost.  Many couples focus all of their emotion, energy and time on taking care of their child and very little time on maintaining their relationship with their spouse. Therefore marital therapy can help build trust, intimacy and secure attachment in the marital relationship

Loss of a Child
The loss of a child is the most devastating experience a parent can face--and missing the child never goes away. A piece of yourself is lost and your future is forever changed. The age of the child at the time of death does not lessen the hurt or devastation. It feels completely unnatural for a child to die before his or her parents.   When a child passes away the parents are forced to live on.  One might think that the loss of a child would bring parents together but more often it causes isolation and distance.  Sometimes the distance has increased to such an extent that one or both partners emotionally and sometimes physically seek comfort outside of the relationship.  By seeking marriage counseling in a timely fashion couples can deal with the often times unfortunate consequences of a death of a child.

The Effect of Stress on Marriage and on Spousal Health
If you're married, you already know that your spouse is an enormous influence on your life. What you may not realize is that he or she also has a profound effect on your health. A good marriage can have positive effects on your health while a bad marriage can adversely affect your health. As recent studies show, the simple act of being married can add years to a person's life. Marriage can even lower the risk of all sorts of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and the flu. Caring spouses often encourage each other to eat right, exercise, take vacations, and choose a healthy lifestyle. Close and supportive companionship also acts as a buffer against stress and all of its physical and emotional consequences.  In unhappy marriages however, partners are brought down physically and emotionally. Fights, uncertainty about the future, unequal workloads, and a basic lack of compatibility can all generate unhealthy levels of stress. Studies show the impact of marital stress on health is brought on by traditional risk factors to health such as smoking more, or lack of physical activity.

Blended families and step family problems
Family Therapy and Couples Counseling Can Help Ensure Success of the New Expanded Family
In a blended or stepfamily, one or both partners have been married before, and each have lost a spouse through death or divorce. One or both may have children from their previous marriages and once married they will form a new stepfamily that includes children from one or both of their first families.

Studies show at least one-third of all children in the U.S. are expected to live in a stepfamily before they reach 18 years of age. The blended family is a norm for American society.  Due to the fact that each family has lost in some manner stepfamilies face many lifestyle adjustments and changes. Fortunately, most of them are able to work out their problems and live together successfully. But it takes careful planning, open discussions of feelings, positive attitudes, mutual respect and patience. While some families make the transition without counseling seeking family counseling helps and ensures a healthier, smoother, and more successful transition.  Those families who seek counseling and couples counseling before the marriage or shortly after will benefit greatly from marriage therapy. 

Marriage Counseling Helping to Relieve Anger within Relationships

Anger is one of the more common patterns in relationships that cause problems. Anger occurs in insecure relationships with a lack of communication and are characterized by years of built up resentment. In these relationships the partners feel that their marriage problems will never be solved and thus feel hopeless. However, those couples that are committed to change and end their anger issues often glean positive results from marriage therapy. Symptoms of anger are verbal and physical irritability, passive-aggressive behavior, distancing behavior, uncomfortable silences, lack of support, hostility, anxiety, frustration, having feelings of guilt or regret over something that you have said or done in a fit of anger. Anger can result in repeated social conflict such as law suits, fights, property damage, school suspensions, etc.) When friends or family approach you with the concern that you need help managing your anger, it is time to get help. Having chronic physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal difficulties, or anxiety are some clear physical signs of anger’s presence. Anger is more often than not a problem that routes from family history. Marriage and family therapists are experts trained to identify anger patterns.  By identifying these anger patterns therapists develop a keen understanding of the patient's perception of his or her anger and his or her reactions to stressful life situations.  Next the therapist devises helpful and healthy ways for the married couple to deal with, express appropriately, and move past spousal anger.

Domestic Abuse
The American Association of Marriage and Family therapy declares that over 20% of American families experience some sort of violence within their household. Domestic violence is more common in younger couples than in older ones. Physical abuse can be classified as pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping or otherwise assaulting one another.  Sadly, domestic violence is becoming increasingly common. Many couples also experience emotional abuse within their
relationships. Examples of emotional abuse within relationships include controlling behaviors, verbal threats, or insulting remarks.  Even with the most insignificant abusive incident, couples should always seek counseling. Many couples believe pushing or shoving is not abusive and they believe it will end as soon as a particular stressor is removed from their lives.  However, life is never without stress and thus many of these violent acts do not cease but rather intensify and grow more dangerous.

In relationships where one partner exhibits controlling behavior the relationship is considered abusive. A controlling husband for example may verbally threaten his wife into social isolation.  Forcing her to stay home and break any friendships she has outside of the marriage.  A controlling spouse may financially abuse his or her partner by giving them an allowance and denying them money.  Thus, they become completely dependent on the abusive spouse.

We can help you if you believe you are in an abusive relationship. For couples interested in taking steps towards ending the violence in their household and continuing their relationship, marriage therapy can be the answer.  Marriage counselors, marriage therapists, family counselors, and family therapists come up with strategies and give couples the tools they need to take violence out of their lives completely.

Intimacy Problems
Intimacy is usually thought only as sexual activity, and nothing else. This conception of the term is incorrect. Intimacy may include love, respect, communication, kindness, unselfishness, and emotional and physical closeness. More physical aspects of intimacy that are nonsexual may involve sitting next to each other, holding hands, hugging, kissing, cuddling, etc. When there are sexual problems (little or no sex) then sexual problems become 90% of the issues within the marriage. 

Sexual Issues
Marriage Therapy Can Help Increase Marital Affection
Sexual Issues usually begin to surface when intimacy is lost. Sex that lacks emotional intimacy is only temporary. When sex is done purely for physical pleasure it becomes les and less satisfying for the couple. When people have sexual problems, they often believe it is in relation to the sex itself.  The couple may begin to think the problem routes from the physical act of sex such as premature ejaculation, retarded ejaculation, inability to achieve orgasm, impotence, inability to maintain orgasm. The result of this is often overlooking areas where solutions can be found. This can also cause over-emphasis on one aspect of the relationship, excessive blame, self doubt, frustration, and resentment. Often the problem is not actually of a sexual nature but reflects other issues in the relationship.

The Sexually Addicted Partner
Very often sexual addictions are not about sex.  A person who has a sexual addiction is using sex as a way to deal with anxiety.  Sex in itself is nothing but an act that calms that person down.  Psychotherapy can help the person with the sexual addiction to deal with anxiety in a healthier and more constructive fashion.  Sometimes a person becomes addicted to masturbation.  It is important to find the cause of the unwanted behavior.

Infertility affects couples in many different ways. When a couple discovers that they are infertile they have a feeling of shock and sadness.  Many couples believe that they will have children later in the relationship.  When they find out that they are infertile many of the dreams they once had are suddenly shattered.  When one spouse is infertile he or she may feel incredibly guilty, and depressed.  They may feel shameful, or like an unworthy partner.  They may believe that their partner would be happier with someone who could conceive. When these feelings enter a marriage, finding counseling is one of the best decisions a couple could make.  Losing the ability to have biological children can cause marital conflict, and loss of communication.  Infertile couples are also likely to experience lack of affections and lack of sex. By participating in marriage counseling as soon as possible the couple increases their chances of maintaining a loving relationship built on trust and honesty without regret or resentment. 

Platonic Friends in the Work Place
It is no secret that many coworkers become extraordinarily close.  Often coworkers spend more time together than they do with their own families. Together coworkers deal with the stress of work and find time to talk about family life and individual issues. These relationships can become very strong and have the potential of becoming romantic. When a spouse begins to relate better or even rely more on a coworker then his or her marriage will be affected.  In many instances jealously may occur or a lack of communication may arise within the marriage. In marriage counseling the couple would discuss what part platonic friends outside of the marriage should play in the relationship so that the marriage is not threatened. 

Infidelity can be defined as marital disloyalty, adultery, unfaithfulness, betrayal, or a breach of trust. The causes of infidelity can be varied and complex. It does
not matter whether a couple is in a happy or troubled marriage; affairs can happen in both. The spouse involved in the affair may not be getting enough from his or her marriage, but they can very well not be giving enough. Reasons for infidelity are derived from low self-esteem, relationship problems, or lack of emotional connection. A new type of infidelity has become more common where people who never intended to be unfaithful, are inadvertently crossing boundaries from platonic friendships into romantic relationships. Being platonic friends means having a relationship that is purely spiritual and free from sensual desire between two persons of the opposite sex. Platonic friendships that become sexualized are increasingly common in the work environment or internet chatting.

Once infidelity is discovered, signs of depression including suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and a powerful sense of loss and betrayal emerge. Reactions of a spouse who has just been betrayed strongly resemble those of one who is suffering from symptoms of post-trauma stress disorder. The most severely traumatized are those who were the most trusting and the least suspicious.

Initially what needs to be established in marriage therapy when regarding infidelity is whether the marriage is going to survive. The couple needs to decide whether or not to stay married, or to constructively find a way to separate. An important thing to note is that recovery cannot begin until connection with the affair partner is completely over. This means to completely stop talking to or meeting with this person, let alone the physical contact. If the affair partner is a business co-worker, all interaction must be strictly business oriented. Signs of healing and recovery will reveal itself through three distinct ways:

1.) The marriage will be stronger and more couple oriented rather than child oriented.

2.) The weaknesses and vulnerabilities are understood and are confronted as they occur.

3.) The couple will have developed trust and commitment, empathy for one another, and a shared responsibility for change.

Online Infidelity/ Computer Sex
When one partner fulfills emotional needs through an online relationship
When a partner begins to seek emotional fulfillment or physical pleasure from an online chat buddy, marital conflict will certainly occur.  Often when a spouse feels neglected within the relationship instead of communicating their feelings to their spouse, they find solace in the internet.  The internet is a free, safe space where they can express themselves to other people.  However, because they have the ability to hide one’s identity or to be whomever they choose, the internet becomes a fantastic world where they like themselves more. More and more the partner begins to avoid reality and seeks the constant praise he or she finds online. There are instances where a spouse will actually find another romantic partner online; a relationship which might even include online sexual behavior, otherwise termed “cyber-sex”.  Although cyber-sex does not include any visual stimulation or direct physical contact it still is considered infidelity and has the ability to destroy a marriage.

Marriage Counseling can Help Lessen Anxiety and Increase Marital Communication
Anxiety is an unpleasant state
that involves a complex combination of emotions that include fear, apprehension, and worry. It is often accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe headaches.

Anxiety appears in marriage, especially this day in age when couples are facing so many different challenges in the work place, at home, with their children, and other areas. The anxiety found in marriages is often due to factors outside of the home but unfortunately couples find it hard to leave these problems at the door when they come home to their spouse.  Marriage counseling can allow couples the chance to discuss their anxieties and learn to confide in their partner.  By openly communicating their fears couples learn how to lessen their individual anxieties; a skill that will help lead to a successful partnership. 

Substance Abuse and Marriage
Substance abuse not only affects the individual, but it radically and negatively affects his or her family, partner, friends and co-workers. Everyone suffers when a family member abuses drugs or alcohol.  When a partner abuses a substance his or her relationships are often unhappy.  As the use of the substance increases and becomes more severe, the abuser’s family becomes less important to him or her.  Distance develops and often fighting, arguing, and conflict arise.  Sometimes physical and emotional abuse in the relationship is the direct result of a partner’s substance abuse.  When conflict increases within the relationship, the abuser often increases his or her use of the substance creating more marital conflict.  Relationships affected by substance abuse remain caught in this vicious cycle.  Your relationship may be affected by alcohol abuse if:

You have covered up for your spouse because of their drinking. For example if they forgot to pick up the kids at school because they were drinking in a bar
you would say, “He had to stay in a business meeting.”Drinking or using drugs is the only thing that your partner finds fun. Your partner drinks in order to reduce the stress of home life. You or your partner is only affectionate when intoxicated.

For those interested in ending the substance abuse and improving their relationship, there is hope. Marriage, relationship, or family counseling can help
couples reflect and work on their problems in a safe atmosphere with an nonjudgmental professional. If you or your partner is showing signs of substance abuse, getting help is the best thing you could possibly do for your relationship and your family.  Many couples believe that if they ignore the abuse then their problems will just disappear. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. Psychotherapy for substance abuse is most effective when combined with regular attendance to support groups.

Depression is categorized as a mood disorder, but its symptoms vary widely and it can affect the body, mind, emotions, behavior, and interpersonal relationships.  It is recognized that depression is an extremely debilitating disorder that affects each patient differently.  Symptoms of depression include insomnia, fatigue, weight loss, weight gain, diminished sex drive, and anxiety.  Depression also interferes with a patient's ability to think clearly, focus, and make good decisions.  Sufferers of depression often have feelings of sadness, guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness. Those with depression are at
higher risk to abuse substances, and attempt suicide.

When one spouse is experiencing depression it can greatly affect his or her marriage.  A partner experiencing depression may cause tension within a marriage and put more stress on the relationship. The depressed partner may blame their spouse, thus the spouse may have feelings of guilt or resentment. Spouses may also feel hurt and angry at their depressed partner because they no longer feel emotionally connected to their partner, and have lost all ability to communicate and enjoy one another.  These negative family relationships may also lead to an increase in depressive symptoms; creating an endless cycle with little hope to come out of it.

How Marriage Therapy Helps
Marriage Therapy is conducted by a licensed psychologist or social worker.  The focus of marriage therapy is not on the couple's relationship.  Through marriage counseling each partner has the opportunity to express his or her feelings in an accepting and non-judgmental environment.

Creating a Safe Atmosphere in Marriage Therapy
In marriage and couples counseling the therapist can help guide you and your partner along the path toward building a safe and responsive connection and
help you identify repetitive negative behavioral patterns, and the feelings that underlie them. The therapist provides a safe atmosphere to help each partner express those feelings and to facilitate listening and acceptance between partners. The therapist's role is to help the couple learn how they have become stuck and unable to make connection and how they can build on their own resources to reconnect. The therapist is also trained to help couples with 
special issues including aggression, substance abuse, infidelity, depression, sexual issues and parenting concerns.

Relationships require that both people examine their own behavior and how it affects the relationship. In relationship counseling the focus of the counseling is on the relationship; the relationship is the patient, not the individuals. Sometimes, however, it is necessary for individual coaching or therapy to take place, just as individual dance instruction might be necessary in order to help the couple dance more effectively together.

In relationship counseling a lot of attention is paid to how each party responds to the various issues they are confronting. There is no right or wrong way to respond; there are just different ways of responding. Some of them however, are more effective than others. Some work for the relationship and some do not. These are all issues to examine during the counseling sessions.

Goals of Marriage Counseling
Whether married or not, whether gay or straight, many people have relationship problems from time to time. Relationship counseling helps overcome obstacles to intimacy. It helps resolve conflicts, increase communication skills, and enhance relationships. In relationship counseling, people learn how to communicate more effectively, how to respond to situations rather than react, and how to negotiate differences rather than engage in a battle. While it is better if both members of the relationship attend counseling, often progress can be made even if one person begins treatment.

When is it Time for Marriage Counseling?
Couples should seek marriage counseling as soon as possible in order to relieve marital tension.  The faster a couple seeks counseling the more successful the therapy will be.  By taking part in marriage therapy couples will be given the opportunity to talk about their issues and avoid any of the unfortunate consequences that may result from ending their relationship.

If you want more information about marriage or couples counseling, want to discuss your particular needs, or want to schedule an appointment, call our offices today. We can help suggest the marriage or family therapist that best meets your needs.