Not sure where to begin to fix what feels like an impossibly tangled mess of marital/family problems?
Each piece of the problem feels equally important to address, and equally urgent. What's most important is that you have a clear understanding of why your family is struggling, and what can be done to change it--before starting a course of treatment.
A Circle of Supportive Services to Help Families
Let’s start at the beginning and get a clear picture of what is happening to your family and the possible solutions with a thorough and swift “diagnosis” from an objective expert.
The Whole Picture Approach to Treatment:
4 Steps to Mastering Your Life
Stage 1: Stabilize
Your situation feels a bit chaotic and you aren’t sure how to make things right. Worse, your significant others’ (spouse, kids, parents) coping styles lock horns with yours, making everything feel tense and risky. You need a treatment that fits the urgency of your needs before it gets any worse. My 4-session, whole picture evaluation will help you and your significant others to get a clear understanding of how your marriage/family got here and why, and what options you can use to stabilize things. Here, an honest confrontation of your situation can help you to return your marriage/family to a place of calm.
Stage 2: Support
Once we have “stopped the bleed” and have established a workable plan forward, we assemble all the essential players to dig out of the problematic situations. Then you will begin to understand the events that led to the breakdown in entirely new ways—ways that hold each person accountable for their part without ever “villainizing” them. This will help to restore basic trust and security to your family instead of maintaining all the ways that divide. You are soon surprised at how swiftly you feel relief and hope.
Stage 3: Strengthen
After the crisis has passed, it’s time to grow and strengthen your family system. We will target the development and practice of skills such as effective negotiation, respectful confrontation, repair and forgiveness so your marriage/family life can become both functional and fulfilling. Mastering them will reduce the likelihood that you will need to return to therapy in the future.
Stage 4: Set up
Your marriage/family has become a place of pleasure and connection again. Now it’s time to set each of your family members up to succeed in reaching their life goals. We ask: who are you now that you are no longer struggling with relationship problems, depression or shame? How do you want to spend your time, and with whom? These questions are considered carefully as we generate ideas on next steps and paths forward. This may include referrals to other helping professionals (i.e., individual therapists, Life Coaches, etc.) that can help you reach your life dreams.
Frequently Asked Questions
- In our first phone conversation, I’ll begin to challenge your fear that your situation is a hopeless, embarrassing mess; instead, I’ll show you that it’s common, logical and fixable.
- You'll begin to believe that your important relationships will be strengthened throughout the entire evaluation and therapy process.
- You’ll appreciate that you and your significant others will be included in all decision-making around treatment--including direction, pace and time in therapy.
- You will sense that this therapy will be educational, empowering and immediately helpful, and it will feel better to do more than just talk about change.
This therapy model is unique because after a 4-session evaluation, you will have a clear, logical, thorough understanding of what happened to your family/marital unit, will learn what options are available to you and will receive guidance customized to your specific situation on your next steps.
This process will uncover and address important and often uncomfortable truths that contributed to your problems, which, after becoming known, can finally facilitate the change to resolve the issues. Great care is taken to ensure that no member of your relationship system is painted as “the problem” or treated as “defective/sick”. Rather, the focus is on removing obstacles and teaching each person to be their most skilled, best selves in all their interactions that will lead to actual improvements to your family or marriage.
I draw from years of training and studying developmental, socio-cultural and existential (philosophical) psychotherapies. My primary approach to understanding why/how pathology develops and to customizing treatment for each person is influenced by a fascinating, effective model called Control Mastery Theory, which integrates cognitive, psychodynamic and relational therapies in its approach to treatment.
Using those influences, my practice approach has become more “Marriage/Family E.R. Doctor” than “Healing Journey Guide”. People want immediate relief from their pain and assurance that it will never return; I provide this by helping them tame their marital/family crises, showing them how they got there in the first place and teaching them skills to successfully manage life struggles going forward.
Yes. People with eating disorders, psychoses or major mental illnesses, sex offenders and people currently in domestic violence relationships would be better off working with clinicians who are specially trained to treat their conditions.
I am not the best fit for those seeking a slow, gradual unfolding of insights through talking and exploring given my tendency toward progressive forward motion (think: the steady flow of a stream vs. slow faucet drip).
Otherwise, all other seekers of truth and fulfillment are welcome!
The process begins during our first phone call—an “initiating client” in turmoil reaches out to me seeking help.
To avoid the “S/he who gets to the therapist first, wins” thing, I speak personally to each spouse/parent before we meet to get a sense of their personal viewpoint and goals. Then we will arrange to meet in for our 4-session evaluation in the following configurations:
- Session 1: Me, Spouse A, Spouse B—learn concerns and goals, observe dynamics
- Session 2: Me, Spouse A—deeper dive into your concerns and desires, obstacles
- Session 3: Me, Spouse B—deeper dive into your concerns and desires, obstacles
- Session 4: Me, Spouse A, Spouse B —discuss results of evaluation (e.g., my working hypothesis of what happened to your family) and recommendations. Options reviewed and decisions on immediate steps will be made, including whether further therapy is indicated and if so, in which form?
*For people seeking a more traditional form of therapy (i.e., issue- and diagnosis-driven individual therapy), in our first discussion I will invite you to consider addressing your struggles through my “whole picture” lens, where improvements with your actual loved ones—instead of talking about improvements with your therapist—is the main focus. After all, no one exists in a vacuum, so why should your therapy? If, however, you still prefer that form of therapy, I will be happy to refer you to some excellent local therapists.
Every treatment plan is customized to meet the needs of each situation. After the 4-session evaluation, there are two phases to therapy: a crisis/stabilization phase and a building/strengthening phase.
The first phase of therapy requires more frequent sessions since there are more “fires” to put out and fewer skills in managing them. Sessions should occur at least weekly during this phase (or more if necessary).
As families/couples become more stable and skilled, sessions occur anywhere from 1-3 times a month. If services by other helping professionals are added to the treatment plan our sessions can be reduced to an “as needed” or consultation basis.
*Situational, financial and time needs of all parties are always carefully considered when making these decisions. What is important is that treatment intensity should match the urgency of each situation.
Every treatment plan is customized to meet the needs of each situation. Crisis home visits are usually 90 mins, deep dives into individual issues are 60-90 mins, negotiations/contracting new family or marital parameters are 90 mins, and confronting sensitive and important topics with family members are 90 minutes. Sessions are held with various members of the family as the situations demand.
During the first phase of therapy (“crisis” phase), weekly 90 minute sessions are common. Families that choose to continue therapy past this phase (into the “building/strengthening” phase) often drop down to 60 minutes, weekly or biweekly until they feel they have reached their goals.
My therapy motto: “Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”
You deserve the swiftest, most effective path to get you what you most want.
Once the 4-session evaluation gives us your family’s starting point, “diagnosis” and goals, we create the road map to getting it, step by step. The first order of business is stabilization, and we do this by confronting the situation head on.
After your family/marital situation is stabilized, you decide what to work on next, or whether to work more at all.
As you become more stable and skilled, sessions occur anywhere from 1-3 times a month. If you decide you want to continue to grow and build your marital/family foundation and skills, we can create a treatment plan to include this (with me or with another qualified therapist). Or maybe you’ll decide to take a break from therapy and stop altogether.
My current Fee Schedule is as follows:
- Individual sessions - $200/hour
- Couples/Family Sessions - $300/hour
- Discernment Counseling - $300/hour;
first session is 2 hours, any subsequent sessions are 1.5 hours long (D.C. sessions run 1-5 sessions maximum)
- *Veterans receive a 50% gratitude discount off all therapy services.
I choose not to accept health insurance. Without the intrusion of insurance companies, you and I get to control the direction, frequency and duration of your therapy.
All my therapy services are reimbursable by most insurance plans on an “out of network” basis, which means that your plan will pay a portion of the fees for providers like me who don’t take your plan. Check with your insurance benefits to get clarity on any deductibles, the service codes they will cover and at what cost to you per session.
*Affordability is a real and important factor in any decision-making process; when it comes to investing in the health and safety of your family and marriage, choosing the best person—not the cheapest--is always worth the investment.
Cash, check, credit cards or HSA debit cards are accepted.
While I am super grateful that telehealth allowed us to remain connected during the pandemic, there is simply no substitute for in person human connection.
So other than the occasional use of telehealth as a backup for health or transportation issues, I conduct sessions in person.
I am located at 105 Church Street in the beautiful, serene and charming town of Guilford, CT. My office is just to the right of the corner of Route 1 (Boston Post Road) and Route 77 (Church St), in a large white house that houses other professional offices. My office is in the back, where there is a small parking lot for free and easy parking.
*When necessary and welcomed, family sessions involving children can be conducted in your home—it gives kids a sense of comfort (and a bit of “hand”) since I am entering their turf instead of them entering mine.
Have more questions?
Contact Me for more information!