Couples

  • Relational Issues
  • Communication Problems
  • Blended Families
  • Parenting Problems
  • Premarital Counseling
  • Divorce & Co-Parenting

To borrow from Dickens, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Most relationships start out with the “best of times,” and somewhere along the way, many couples run into some of the “worst of times.”

Couples TherapyI specialize in working with couples during the worst of times – those stuck places, dark times, and miserable patches. The goals are to relieve psychological suffering, create conditions for healing and reconnection, move you both toward a more comfortable way of being together, and to find the way ahead.

Couples Therapy is done with my partner, Hope Panara, MA, LPA, as a Co-Therapist. Together, both therapists work with you as a couple to resolve problems using a depth psychological model that aims to get below the surface of the problems.

Dialogue Therapy 

Our model for couples therapy is called Dialogue Therapy. It was originally developed by Polly Young-Eisendrath and Ed Epstein in 1982. Dr. Young-Eisendrath has published two books exploring the method: Hags and Heroes (1984) and You’re Not What I Expected (1993). A third, True Love Ways, is to be published by Shambhala in 2018.

In just seven meetings with us, Dialogue Therapy offers deep insight into the roots your suffering. It opens up the possibility for a new acceptance of your partner and yourself. You will learn ways to have more skillful dialogues together, and practice increased mindfulness. After the emotional landscape of harmful patterns is clarified, you will be taught skills for recognizing and avoiding re-wounding while encouraging renewed intimacy. Combining psychoanalytic methods with aspects of psychodrama and mindfulness, Dialogue Therapy is a unique approach to healing chronic relationship problems and not simply papering over them.

Couples therapy is notorious for failing because the members of the couple depend too much on the therapist. They deal with their conflicts only in the presence of the therapist. Dialogue Therapy, even from the first session, requires a couple to speak with each other and develop skills that do not depend on the therapist. In the co-therapist model of Dialogue Therapy, while more expensive, there is a special opportunity for each member of the couple to develop as an individual, alongside the development of the couple.

How it Works

Dialogue Therapy is done with Co-Therapists. The first session is three hours, and all other sessions are two hours. Sessions are monthly.

Session #1 – Introduction, Evaluation, Relational History (3 hours)
Session #2 – First Session of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict (2 hours)
Session #3 – Second Session of Dialogue Therapy: Practicing Skills (2 hours)
Session #4 – Building Empathy for Your Partner and Yourself (2 hours)
Session #5 – Using the Skills of Dialogue Therapy and Empathy to Repair Trust (2 hours)
Session #6 – Final Session: Refining Your Skills (2 hours)
Session #7 – Follow-up: Six months later (2 hours)

Fees

Health insurance providers will not reimburse for Couples Therapy using this co-therapist model. While an added expense on the front end, couples find that the use of co-therapists and extended session times are beneficial for working through their long-standing difficulties in a more thorough manner. Meeting monthly and limiting the work to only seven sessions keeps overall costs in line. The fee for Dialogue Therapy is $85 per therapist per hour. Total cost:

Session #1  (3 hours)  –  $510
Session #2 – 7 (2 hours) – $340 per session