Couples Therapy

couple-tallRepair disconnection, find intimacy and deepen love with your partner. Develop healthy, productive ways to communicate with each other and get your needs met. Your relationship is worth it. All you need is someone to help you along the way.

What is Couples Therapy?

In spite of couples loving each other, we can all get caught in unhealthy behavior patterns. All couples deal with conflict, but many of us have never learned how to manage it effectively. It can be hard to express our feelings, manage frustration, or effectively repair disconnection. We may find ourselves having the same argument over and over again, or refuse to discuss certain subjects to avoid a fight. Sometimes we may feel betrayed or disappointed by our partners and not know how to repair an injury or rekindle our affections.

I help couples understand the patterns that cause distress in their relationship and teach them healthier ways to relate to each other. Couples therapy is designed to help both of you become effective listeners and to learn how to communicate your own needs in a productive way so that you can bring connection, joy and passion back into your partnership.

The Benefits of Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can benefit almost anyone, including those who wish to:

  • Repair disconnection when you feel abandoned by your partner
  • Learn about your relationship patterns and attachment style
  • Get unstuck and find effective ways to communicate your needs
  • De-escalate conflict and stop the negative cycle of repetitive arguing
  • Learn what to do when you feel like you’ve “fallen out of love”
  • Rekindle or discover new passion and desire for your partner
  • Manage disagreements before they become painful arguments
  • Address sexual concerns and experience deeper levels of intimacy
  • Learn how to manage major life transitions (birth, loss, illness)
  • Recover from affairs, infidelity, or addiction relapse

To learn more about how couples counseling can benefit you, contact couples therapist Theresa Bullock Cohen


FAQs

If you’re thinking about couples therapy and have questions, here is some useful information to get you started.

1. When should my partner and I seek couples therapy?

Regardless of the state of your relationship, couples therapy can be helpful for most people. I offer couples therapy for:

  • Those in committed relationships who have hit a bump in the road and want a “tune-up”
  • Pre-marital counseling to increase communication prior to marriage
  • Transition counseling for couples experiencing change (from becoming new parents to empty nesters)
  • Crisis counseling for couples experiencing affairs, addiction relapse, sudden illness or loss

2. What kind of couples do you work with? +

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with couples of different ages, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities and religious affiliations. Additionally, I have experience working with couples at many different stages in their relationships, including young couples dating, partners who are cohabitating, newly engaged, newly married, young children entering the picture, mid-life partnerships, empty nesters and couples who have been in committed partnerships for over 40 years.

3. How do we get started? +

Prior to starting couples therapy, I am happy to speak with you on the phone to get a brief understanding of your situation, give you a sense of my therapeutic style and determine if I am a good match for your needs. We will then meet at my office in Nantucket, Massachusetts. At the initial meeting, I will want to meet with both partners at the same time to get your perceptions of the relationship’s problems and strengths, get a brief history of key events in your relationship and learn about your communication styles. On the second and third sessions, I will meet with each partner separately to get more in-depth information about your attachment style, personal history, and relational patterns. For the fourth and subsequent sessions I will meet with both partners together.

4. How often will we meet? +

 I develop a customized treatment plan for each couple that takes into account your needs, goals, and schedules. I most often meet weekly with my clients, however when couples have achieved many of their goals in therapy, we will reduce the frequency as needed. I primarily work in a short-term model for couples therapy, however some complex and multi-layered issues lend themselves to a longer treatment.

5. What type of couples therapy do you practice? +

I primarily practice Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), a three-stage process that helps couples learn to de-escalate conflict, understand their emotions, create effective patterns of communication with one another, and rebuild their emotional and physical closeness with one another.

In addition, I draw upon my training as a psychodynamic clinician to recognize and process underlying dynamics, barriers to intimacy, and sexual challenges, as well as using my cognitive behavioral training to teach communication strategies.

6. What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy? +

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a well-validated, structured approach that is designed to help couples understand and respond effectively to each other’s needs. It is a collaborative model based on adult attachment theory, with the premise that we all want to be loved, to be understood and to know that we matter to our partner.

In EFT, couples learn to identify their negative communication cycle, regulate their emotions, heal their attachment injuries and send clear emotional signals to their partner. They also learn how to respond in a healthy way to the signals that are sent to them. When couples can clearly communicate and respond to attachment needs, it can create the safety, trust and support that couples long for.

7. What is adult attachment theory? +

Adult attachment theory is based on the idea that we all have attachment needs “cradle to grave”. This means as infants and adults we need to have our attachment figure nearby, accessible, attentive and attuned to our needs in order to feel loved, secure and confident.

When our attachment needs are not met — for instance when our partner is physically present but emotionally distant or disappoints us at a key moment — relationship distress can occur. This disconnection can prompt demanding, defensive, or avoidant behavior and result in feelings such as anger, sadness or fear.

In couples therapy, it means that we need a partner whom we can trust, depend on and be confident that we matter to them. Once your partner understands your attachment needs, you can work together to rebuild connections and deepen intimacy.

8. Do you have specialized training in couples therapy? +

Your relationship is of the utmost importance and you deserve to see a highly trained and qualified professional. That is why I continually hone my skills as a seasoned couples therapist.

Over the last 10 years, I have attended numerous continuing education seminars on couples therapy through Harvard Medical School, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, Imago Couples Therapy, and the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

I also completed a yearlong post-graduate training program through the Family Institute of Cambridge where I learned cognitive behavioral strategies to help couples improve their communication skills. I completed a three-year post-graduate fellowship through the Psychoanalytic Center for Families and Couples of New England in order to have a specialized understanding of the psychodynamic underpinnings about how our past affects our present relationship patterns.

Additionally, I am a certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, which is an empirically-based model designed to help couples accept, express, regulate and transform emotion.