MARRIAGE COUNSELING/Couples Counseling
Couples counseling is for couples who are married or not, engaged or not, living together or not, previously married or never married, younger and older couples, heterosexual or same sex couples, monogamous and non-monogamous. Whether you are looking to improve communication, trying to heal from an affair, want to grow your intimacy, develop trust, or just want to feel more connected again, this is a great option. Ideally, couples counseling is designed for couples who are committed to the relationship and are willing to do the the "work" required to help them maximize their relationship with their partner and want to continue to grow, connect, and engage with each other. This can be helpful for couples who feel like roommates, bicker frequently, struggle to find time together, or for couples who want relationship maintenance, those who still love each other and want to stay together, or for those who are beginning to notice that the fire, passion, and "honeymoon phase" is fizzling. Whether your problem feels big or small, new or old, now is a good time to intervene.
Studies show that when couples start having relationship problems, they wait an average of 7 years before seeking help. Working with a marriage therapist can help you avoid waiting until it is too late.
So, if you are starting to notice that things feel "off," you feel more like friends and less like lovers, feel bored or stuck, and overall just feel disconnected from your partner--like you're not on the same page anymore, the time is now. Let's handle small problems while they are still small. There is usually a reason for the disconnect and we can help you reverse the pattern that is not working for you.
If you are are trying to decide if you want to stay in this relationship, then stay-or-go counseling may be a better fit for you. With couples therapy, we make the assumption that both parties are committed to the relationship and the therapy process (at least for a small period of time mutually agreed upon), and we then work to teach you tools and skills needed to revitalize a tired relationship or create and sustain a relationship that is healthy and happy. In couples therapy, the therapist is also exploring your relationship dynamics, understanding how your relationship works (or doesn't work), is assessing your communication and relational patterns, and gives you recommendations based on those observations. However, if one partner is straddling the fence and doesn't feel like they are "all-in," but have a foot out the door instead, to do couples therapy can be premature. We can give you all the skills/tools in the world, but if you aren't committed to this relationship, we are doing a disservice to the couple. Stay-or-go counseling then takes a different approach to help you get clarity on if you WANT to consider couples therapy.
What if my partner doesn't want to come?
Sometimes it is difficult to make changes in your relationship if your partner is not invested in joining you in couple's therapy. We offer couples counseling-for-one, which is a great option to consider. It is like couple's counseling but when only one person wants to attend or is willing to attend at this time. You can often make changes in your relationship without both partners having to be present. Many times, reluctant partners are afraid to come to therapy because they are fearful they will be ganged up on or told they are wrong. As therapists, we don't pick sides. We don't tell couples that someone is right or wrong. The relationship is our client, and we want to take care of that. Blaming someone or shaming them isn't therapeutic at all. Therefore, we don't operate like that. Most times, after a reluctant partner has come to therapy, they say they are relieved, glad they came, and that it went differently than they expected. They feel as though they got heard, too!
My insurance covers marriage counseling. Do you take insurance?
Some insurance plans do cover marriage counseling (they often don't cover it at all if you're not married), but that comes with a few caveats. Typically, when a therapist calls to verify your benefits, your plan administrator will inform us that yes-it is covered on your plan as long as you don't talk about things like relationships and sex. CRAZY, right?! Here's why: insurance will only reimburse you if your therapy is MEDICALLY NECESSARY, and therefore requires your therapist to diagnose you with a mental illness/mental disorder diagnosis which becomes part of your permanent medical record. Most clients are not privy to this information. In addition to that, your therapist may or may not have to communicate some details about your case to your insurance provider to have your sessions authorized, and your insurance company may only allow for a certain number of sessions per year.
There are a couple of schools of thought when it comes to insurance for marriage/couples therapy. Most of the clients we see are high functioning people who just want a better relationship or just want to feel better about the relationship. We don't believe this makes you mentally ill, and we feel "icky" about giving you a diagnosis that may not be true just for the sake of getting paid. Additionally, when our relationships struggle, it is normal to feel depressed or anxious! We don't feel we can justify a short term issue with a long-term (permanent) diagnosis.
So, what does this mean? This means we are self-pay. There is an added benefit to self-pay. You don't get a diagnosis on your record, you have increased privacy and confidentiality since we aren't providing "medical" details to your insurance company for reimbursement, you have greater freedom and flexibility to talk about topics you want to talk about (your overbearing mother-in-law, your differences in parenting strategies, sex life, etc), and you get to choose how often you come. If you want 3 sessions a week, your insurance company won't deny that. If you want to come twice a year for a tune up, your insurance won't deny that. We feel it gives you a higher level of service.
We do understand, however, that sometimes using insurance makes sense. If therapy will create a financial burden, we don't want that for you. If that's the case, we are happy to provide you with some referrals.