Couples Therapy

Couples Therapy

What to Expect in Couple’s Therapy

Elements of Couple’s therapy include:

  • Developing a shared understanding of the problem
  • Defining what success looks like to you
  • Exploring causes and contributors to the problem
  • Taking responsibility for your role in the conflict
  • Learning and practicing a proactive communication approach
  • Addressing untreated mental health conditions
  • Sexual education and coaching, as needed
  • Guided touch practices for homework, as needed
  • Anticipating and overcoming obstacles to change


My approach to couple’s therapy falls loosely into four phases, as follows.

*Note that these phases are an approximation of the typical flow of treatment. Each couple is different, and we will follow the timing and progression that is best for you.

Phase One:

Therapy intake and assessment - This phase is dedicated to learning about you, including why you've come to therapy, the history of your current issues, your mental health history, relevant medical history, family history, sex and relationship history. Phase one typically takes 3 sessions, as I will meet with the couple together, then each partner separately for one session. The intake period is also a time for you to learn about the process, ask any questions, and decide whether this is the right therapy for you.

Goals to accomplish during this phase:

  • Meet with each partner individually to complete the intake process
  • Identify and address any immediate concerns relating to safety, consent, or severe untreated mental illness.
  • Build trust and rapport with the therapist
  • Develop a shared understanding of the problem
  • Identify your therapeutic needs
  • Develop an initial plan for treatment

Phase Two:

Phase two focuses on "shoring up" the foundation of your relationship. This will include the following:

  • Address and reduce ongoing conflict
  • Learn and implement healthy, effective communication skills
  • Address issues of power and control
  • Develop the capacity for self-reflection, personal responsibility, and growth
  • Psychosexual education
  • Meet with each partner individually to assess progress

Phase Three:

Phase three focuses on building on top of the foundation created during phase two. This will include the following:

  • Identify, verbalize, and respond to specific suggestions from each other
  • Go deeper on the issues identified during intake or subsequent sessions
  • Follow through on specific touch practices at home as discussed in session
  • Navigate obstacles that arise
  • Adjust the therapeutic approach as needed
  • Meet with each partner individually to assess progress

Phase Four:

Phase four focuses on the following:

  • Continue to practice and maintain the new skills and habits you learned in phases two and three
  • Navigate various life situations and stressors that arise
  • Make a plan for relapse prevention
  • Schedule an appointment for several months in the future for a check-in