Couples therapy options
Couples come to therapy in very different stages of their relationships. Some couples are seeking to reinforce a relationship that is already strong, while others are at wits' end, and are not even certain if they want to remain together. We offer six options to meet every couple's needs:
(All options are available in person, or via telehealth.)
Premarital Counseling Sessions and/or Retreats
Planning your wedding is a happy and beautiful stage of your relationship: the cake tastings, the showers, and other important milestones. However, before you say “I Do,” consider not just the beginning of your journey together, but the long-term health of your union. Starting off on the right foot with your spouse could save years of heartache (and therapy) down the road.
With the guidance of a couples therapy expert, you will have the opportunity to envision your life together and build a solid foundation from day one. You'll do so in a manner that feels safe but allows you to take risks; in a manner that teaches you to learn, grow, and manage conflict as a team.
We offer premarital counseling in traditional weekly sessions, or as a 1-2 day private retreat that gives you and your fiancé undistracted time to devote to one another. It will be just you and your partner, with an expert couples therapist all to yourself, in a comfortable location (see below for location options). Cost: $275 per 80 minute session; contact us for retreat costs.
Discernment Counseling, Limited to 1-5 Sessions
Unlike couples therapy, the aim of discernment counseling is not to improve your relationship. Instead, discernment counseling is designed to help each partner determine where they stand on the relationship: Are they still invested, and would they like to continue working at making the union work? Or have they already - sometimes without being fully aware - divested from the relationship?
Discernment counseling typically starts with an in-depth assessment process designed to pinpoint each partner's emotional wounds, provide clarity regarding the different pathways forward, and potentially identify steps needed to repair the relationship.
Discernment counseling is designed to be short term (1-5 sessions). At the completion of each session you will be asked if you desire another discernment session. Discernment counseling is completed at the end of the five sessions (or before) when you have determined a path forward - to enter couples therapy, to maintain the current status, or to dissolve the relationship. Cost: $425 per 2-hour session.
Ongoing Weekly Couples Therapy Sessions
Relationships are joyous, but they can also be challenging. Nobody teaches us how to create a successful romantic partnership. It’s no surprise that we often run into trouble after the novelty of falling in love wears off, and the challenges of daily life set in. Maybe there’s a crisis, or maybe the distance grows over time. Babies are born, finances strained, trust may be compromised... and soon enough, conflicts arise that feel impossible to solve, or disconnects emerge that leave partners feeling lonely.
The good news is that it is possible to manage conflict and bridge connections together in a way that renews the feelings of closeness, friendship and love again. At our clinic, we help couples disarm conflict and rebuild intimacy and friendship.
The Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Coupled Therapy are the two primary, research-based approaches to couples therapy used worldwide. Decades of research supports each of these modalities and both offer keys to lasting happiness and love. We help couples:
Deepen their emotional connection
Replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions
Increase intimacy, respect, and affection
Repair past hurts
Recover from affairs or infidelity
Adjust to parenthood
Increase sexual satisfaction and compatibility
Create shared goals and values
Talking about tough topics with your partner is never easy, but we take an active role in your relationship repair, to ensure that things remain calm and productive. This is not an unstructured therapy session where you come in with your partner, fight about various issues, and then leave feeling bad. In Gottman therapy, you learn and practice new skills that will continually move your relationship forward. When old habits like criticism or defensiveness arise, we will intervene and bring the conversation back on track. In Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, we zero in on the relationship connection and help partners form a stronger, more secure bond. Partners lean to identify relationship patterns that keep them feeling stuck, and then learn new, healthier ways of interacting. With practice, couples are eventually able to adopt these new habits into their daily lives. Cost: $275 per 80 minute session.
Ad-hoc (Occasional) Couples Sessions
Ad-hoc relationship consultations are best suited for couples who are unable to commit to weekly therapy appointments (due to variable work schedules, etc.). They may also be right for those who simply prefer occasional relationship consultations, or who want to schedule periodic consultations post-therapy to ensure the relationship stays on track.
You will find this work different from regular therapy appointments, in that it is not progressive in nature and relies on the couple coming in with an agenda on which they’d like consultation. However, ad-hoc consultations can be a valuable resource for couples who are in less relationship distress but who want to explore, deepen, and/or maintain their relationship. Cost: $325 per 80 minute session.
1-2 Day Intensive Retreats / Weekend Marathon Therapy
At our private retreats/marathon therapy sessions, we help couples repair their relationship and teach the same skills as in our weekly sessions (see description above), although in an accelerated format. A concentrated retreat such as this is particularly effective when a relationship is in immediate crisis due to infidelity or other distress; or when a couple wishes to move forward with more urgency; or when partners' lives cannot accommodate regular, 80-minute weekly sessions.
Research demonstrates that couples therapy can be very effective when offered in intensive sessions lasting 1-2 days. Couples respond incredibly well to it. The Gottman Institute, leaders in the field of evidence-based couples therapy, have pioneered this approach, and it is sometimes called "Marathon Therapy." It is the equivalent of months of weekly therapy sessions, concentrated into 1-2 days.
Our retreats begin with a 4-hour intensive Gottman Love Lab Assessment, then proceed to Marathon Therapy. We also offer 2-hour, 3-hour, and 4-hour Weekend Marathon Therapy sessions, once a couple has completed the Love Lab Assessment.
These intensive sessions will be just you and your partner, with an expert couples therapist all to yourself, in a comfortable location (see below for location options). You will be able to share and discuss feelings that are otherwise unapproachable due to their potential to spiral, and you’ll do so in a manner that feels safe and allows you to take risks. Contact us for costs.
About Our Private Retreat/Marathon Therapy Locations
If you are interested in our retreats or Marathon Therapy, please contact us for costs and details.
We offer several possibilities for retreat locations:
You may come to our very comfortable and beautiful offices for the day, then return home at night, if you live locally.
If you would prefer to stay nearby, we recommend the very hip and vibrant Tacoma McMenamins Hotel. The hotel, brewery, and entertainment complex is just a short one-block walk from our offices (see photos below). We have negotiated special discounted rates with McMenamins for your stay during your retreat.
Under certain circumstances, our therapists can make arrangements to conduct your retreat in your home, your vacation residence, or another comfortable location, although you may incur some travel expenses.
Your retreat can also be conducted entirely via telehealth.