Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Our Most Commonly Asked Questions

Choosing who to work with in therapy is a big decision and of course you have questions! This is a good thing – questions mean that you are invested in the process. Therefore we would like to address some of the most commonly asked questions and concerns here. If you find that you have other questions or you need more information, just give us a call at 858.280.2892. We’re happy to talk through any of your questions or concerns!

Between us, we have six decades of training in state-of-the-art couples therapy. We translate the latest research into compassionate, practical guidance drawing on our expertise to create the best and most lasting results for your unique relationship needs. Every day, we use our own marriage as a living, loving laboratory for practicing and perfecting the skills and techniques that we bring to your sessions.

The short answer? As soon as it crosses your mind! Statistics show that couples generally put off seeking therapy in spite of their distress. We have discovered that couples tend to wait six or more years before they seek help. This delay allows hurt feelings to accumulate and negative patterns to become well established. It’s never too late but the sooner you come in, the better. This is an investment in your personal wellbeing, the health of your relationship and the happiness of your family.

The duration of counseling varies from couple to couple. Some may benefit from just a few sessions—these are generally people whose relationship has a healthy foundation and who know they are committed to each other for life. Other couples may take longer because the disconnection between them is more pronounced. Healing these relationships takes time and commitment from both partners for the most growth to occur. It has likely taken years to get to this level of distress, so the healing may also take time. The majority of our clients spend from 2 to 20 sessions in counseling.

Initially, weekly sessions from 60 to 75 minutes make the most sense to establish momentum and learn strategies and techniques to practice at home. In fact, much of the work occurs at home between you and your partner and the more you practice, the less frequently sessions are required. Counseling sessions are designed to teach new skills and to provide a safe space in which each partner’s experience is shared to increase understanding and create a deeper connection.

We find that it’s common for one partner to be more willing to come to therapy than the other. This is known as the “dragger and draggee” phenomenon. One partner is viewed as the voice for the couple but as long as you are both willing to attend, the process will work. We have lots of experience drawing out less enthusiastic participants to ensure that you both have the opportunity to express your feelings and benefit from counseling. Sometimes, a partner is afraid that we will take sides. Every session is a safe space without judgment. The only side we’re on is the side of the relationship, advocating for growth and positive change.

Yes, if both of you are motivated and committed to making a change. It takes a willingness to look at our own behaviors and accept how we are contributing to the relationship disconnect. If our intention is to connect and grow the relationship, we need to make sure our actions follow that intention. Often our reactions are based in defensiveness. That defensiveness may have the unintended consequence of wounding our partner and causing misunderstanding. If this sounds familiar, we invite you to investigate couples counseling further.

Couples counseling is a place without judgment or discrimination. The only requirements are a committed partnership and a willingness to attend.

If one or both of you are in active addiction, currently having an affair, or have an untreated severe mental illness you wouldn’t be good candidates for couples counseling or workshops until the issue is addressed.

Please let us know if you would like a referral to an appropriate mental health professional. We would be happy to help you take the first step toward a healthier life so that, when the time is right, we can work together to repair your relationship.

Many people come to the first session saying that they’re not sure about the future but are certain that they can’t continue with the communication patterns they have in place now. We use a technique called discernment counseling to help couples with the momentous decision of whether to continue their relationship. Often these same people are able to recommit when they experience a safe, respectful and compassionate interaction pattern with their partner aided by counseling. Sadly, reconciliation is not always possible. Sessions then provide a place to gain clarity, helping you to make decisions that are not reactive or premature.

One person cannot do the work of two—it takes two people committed to the relationship to make it work! Both you and your partner need to be dedicated to improving the relationship for counseling to be successful and transformative.

Alternatively, we do work with couples who want to end their marriage or relationship in a positive and supportive way, creating a platform for enduring friendship and successful co-parenting, if there are children. This is called conscious uncoupling and the process provides both closure and healing.

We recommend that you “interview” therapists by phone to find out if they have specific training in couples counseling and, if so, what that training is. You may want to ask approximately how many couples the therapist has seen and over how many years; what’s their approach to relationship therapy; how do they structure the sessions and what do they expect from the couple both in session and at home.

Private insurance typically doesn’t cover couples counseling as most insurance companies do not deem marriage/couples counseling to be “medically necessary.” However, one or both of you may have a pre-existing diagnosis (major depression, addiction, bi-polar disorder or ADD, for example) that has impacted the relationship. Insurance companies may reimburse couples counseling due to medical necessity, if the treatment plan developed to address the pre-existing diagnosis recommends couples sessions as part of the treatment. Additionally, Craig is a recognized Medicare provider and marriage counseling is covered by Medicare.

We operate on a sliding fee scale. If you can’t afford treatment, let us know and we will work something out. Please do not let this keep you from participating in at least a couple of sessions to gain the insight and skills you need to begin to grow your relationship.

To support our troops, we’re happy to give active-duty military a 20% discount.

All sorts of people! Years ago, therapy was highly stigmatized: it was believed you must be “very disturbed” or “weak” to seek it out. Fortunately, times have changed. Today people from all walks of life and backgrounds go to counseling and it’s considered a normal and healthy resource. People seek therapy for a variety of reasons including the desire for personal growth, navigating temporary or long periods of stress, improving relationships, communication skills and better understanding how our past impacts our current challenges and choices.

Individual counseling is $200 per session. Each session is about an hour. To support our troops, I’m delighted to give active-duty military a 20% discount.

I’ve had clients believe it would take years, only to find that they reached their goals in fewer than three months. I’ve also had clients begin therapy thinking that they needed only one or two sessions only to discover that it takes considerably longer to address deeply embedded patterns. After the first session I can give you a ballpark idea, but ultimately it depends on how focused you are, your willingness to do the assigned homework, and how receptive you are to new ways of thinking and being. I find that most clients come motivated and become even more motivated as we progress and they are able to see real life transformation. These clients often achieve their goals faster than originally anticipated.

At your first session, you will complete a 10-minute intake form and then we’ll review it together. We’ll discuss your goals for therapy and I will ask questions about the breakdowns that have been occurring in your life. Together, we’ll explore the subconscious patterns that keep you stuck and replace them with new patterns that bring peace and happiness to your life. The type of therapy that works best for most people is goal-oriented and dynamic, working together towards positive change.

Most of my clients meet with me weekly at first. Some then come every other week if finances or scheduling are a consideration.

The easiest way to make an appointment is to use my online scheduler. Otherwise, call me and we can discuss times and days that work for you. If it’s more convenient to email me, please use the contact form. If you are unsure about starting therapy, please feel free to reach out so that we can discuss your questions and concerns.

At this time, I unfortunately do not accept insurance.

Our premarital counseling program consists of six one-hour counseling sessions that create a foundation for future success through education, exercises and conversation. To begin, you’ll receive a link to purchase the online assessment, Prepare/Enrich ($35). We offer this to you at our cost and the results will be sent to us and reviewed in your sessions. Scientifically developed, this assessment provides the criteria for effective relationship skills. During the sessions, we will guide you through the results highlighting relationship strengths and areas where you may need growth to support lasting intimacy.

We charge $1080 for the six sessions, a $120 savings from our usual cost. Should you wish to have less than the full six sessions, the usual fee of $200 per session will apply to as many or as few as you like.

We feel that any new relationship can benefit from premarital counseling. It doesn’t matter whether you and your partner are cohabitating, engaged, or are newlyweds. If you’re in a committed relationship and want to deepen your connection, premarital counseling will give you the tools you need for the long term success.

The unique design of these weekend workshops can be transformative for all couples. They are ideal if you wish to invest in your present and future relationship, whether you’re just beginning your life together, your relationship has become routine or you are struggling to overcome challenges.

There is a mix of activities during the workshop, all building on one another to help you deepen your connection. We will have short educational talks, film clips, time for reflection and personal writing exercises, group discussions, high-energy fun, and private time to practice new skills with your partner.

No one is required to “share” in the group discussions and those who do are not expected to reveal personal information of any kind. The discussions are often cited as being one of the most valuable aspects of the weekend. Participants tell us that they learn a great deal when others share their challenges and successes, but each person can participate as much or as little as they wish.

We actively create a safe space for all present and we trust that each participant knows how to glean what is personally resonant and relevant over the course of the workshop.

No. The workshops are dynamic, immersive and highly focused. Whereas group therapy is usually a longer term endeavor, this is an educational weekend workshop. You’ll walk away with better insight about yourself, your partner and your relationship and with new skills to support deepening your relationship.

Yes, it is important for couples to be here for the entire workshop. The workshop is structured such that information and exercises build on each other, so if any are missed you will not get the full benefit. We ask that, as a courtesy to your fellow participants and to maximize the positive outcome, you attend the whole workshop. By doing this you’re making a commitment to the health and growth of your relationship.

We look at the stages of relationship development, what we bring to the relationship, our reactivity styles that can impede successful communication, how to nourish the relationship, how to ask for what we need, and how to resolve frustration. You will create a relationship vision to take home and we’ll all work to pay attention to those areas we appreciate in our partners. We spend a lot of time on proven and effective communication.

Any couple in a committed relationship can benefit from these workshops. Participants are at various stages in their relationships. Some are preparing for marriage, some have been in their relationship for many years, others are dealing with estrangement, an empty nest, or balancing the demands of family and work. The common denominator is that we all struggle with similar disruptions of connection with our partners and we all yearn for the connection or re-connection that allows love and passion to grow.