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Marriage Counseling | Couples Counseling
Philadelphia |
David Steinberg, PhD, LCSW

Couples Counseling can resolve your relationship issues. It takes a lot of hard work to rebuild trust and intimacy, but working with a seasoned psychotherapist can help you to heal old wounds and move forward with emotional clarity and direction.

That’s what I’m here for. I help both individuals and couples heal their relationships in individual and marital/couples counseling.

Rediscovering the spark and mutual affection in a relationship can only happen when the space to fully express yourself feels like a safe and open one. I provide a couples counseling environment in which both partners feel protected and seen.

In couples counseling one question asked by many is "How do you restore trust of a significant other that has been betrayed?"

Solid couples therapy is informed by the fact that many events can threaten a relationship. Your partner feels like his physical needs aren’t being met and ends up having an affair; your wife is frustrated by her need for emotional closeness and finds satisfaction in an online relationship with another man. The feelings of betrayal on discovering infidelity can overwhelm any hope you have of rekindling the love you and your partner once had. Couples therapy can help you rebuild a foundation of trust and intimacy.

All relationships require a certain amount of attention and care.

Cultivating a lasting relationship is like cultivating a garden. Plants must be fed, watered, and tended to or they will die. In much the same way, relationships require loving care in order to thrive and evolve.

The act of repairing a relationship requires the ability to know yourself emotionally, so that you can clearly communicate your feelings to your partner.

Being able to talk about difficult issues and obstacles in your relationship can only happen when both individuals let go of their need to be right. Just because your significant other experiences you as cold and mean doesn’t mean you that you are. Part of the healing process is discovering your old templates for being in a relationship, and understanding how they have been at play. Marital counseling gives you the opportunity to begin tending the garden that is your relationship.

Relationships can get stuck in powerful negative feedback loops. Couples counseling can help break the old cycle.

Many people are afraid to go into couples’ therapy for a whole host of reasons, including a fear of confronting their own dysfunction in the relationship. By working on your own understanding and awareness, I can help you shift your way of being with your partner. Then you can become a catalyst for your partner to discover a new way of being, in relationship to you.

Defending yourself only pushes your partner away.

Know what you really want in your relationship. If your arguments often revolve around some need of yours to be right, then you might want to look at how close you really want to be. Many of us consciously fear being abandoned, when the truth is that we are scared of emotional closeness.

The way to feeling closer and more connected is through more separation.

Where many couples go wrong is in believing they have to think, be and feel like their partners. If this is what you’re doing, however, you’re leaving no space for your own feelings and experience. This can lead to feelings of suffocation, and the urge to disconnect and run away. Part of learning how to be in a healthy relationship is to be able to honor your partner’s feelings and experience without taking responsibility for them – and even if you disagree with them. His or her feelings aren’t necessarily about you, even if they seem to be.

Some people go into couples counseling because they want out and don't know how to do it alone...

You've tried, but you simply cannot get over past hurts and transgressions. Maybe you want out but don't know how to do it alone. Perhaps your afraid of hurting your husband, or afraid of how he will handle you in your truth. Couples counseling is a safe environment where you can work on being in your truth with your partner. With support and healthy limits, you can learn how to communicate authentically and get your needs met in a reasonable fashion.

Oftentimes couples are too intensely involved to see the forest for the trees. A relationship in this state could benefit from a trained couples counselor to help navigate to more clarity and understanding.

I recently worked with a couple where the woman would cry and emotionally disconnect for an entire day whenever they had a heated argument. The man perceived her as purposefully shutting him out, and would become very hurt and then enraged. He thought she was actively shutting him out and punishing him for raising his voice.

Several sessions into their therapy, I was able to see the dynamic in action. So we explored her emotional memory to see what might be triggering this behavior. As it turned out, she was able to recall terribly frightening moments in her childhood, when her mother would ‘fly off into a rage, throw dishes and break things in the house.’ She recalls hiding with her brother in a closet, waiting for her mother’s rampages to end. We realized that she was, in fact, having a traumatic reaction to her partner’s anger and raised voice, and literally “disappearing” from herself.

Once he realized the effect he was having on her, he was able to change the way he spoke to her when he was upset; in return, she was able to stay in the room and be present. During our therapy together, he learned to understand that her times of disconnect were not about him, but about her own need for safety. She, on the other hand, began to understand that his anger was often just an expression of deep hurt and fear of abandonment, not because of anything she was doing wrong.

The Pathway to More and Better Sex is to be in your Truth...

Though it can be terrifying, nothing will give your relationship more current than being in your truth. People often make the mistake of being strategic out of fear that they will lose their partner. The end result is often that their partner ends up not even knowing who they are. Being in your truth can create a storm and stirs the pot. Better to stir the pot and create electricity than to hide and see your relationship die in a state of disconnect.

Marriage or a committed relationship of any kind is a sacred bond between two people.

We are innately and biologically social creatures. So when emotional and physical needs go unmet, the relational bond is threatened. Just like the Tango, it takes two people to make a marriage/relationship work. It’s critical that you take the time to meet your partner’s needs -- and communicate your own.

Infidelity is a crisis of major proportions, but it is also an opportunity for growth and healing.

You feel deeply hurt, angry and rejected. How could he betray your trust and bring such pain and humiliation into your life? You are wondering whether you’ll ever be able to feel safe with him again. At this point, you aren’t sure you want to save the marriage, and are wondering whether to even bother with couple’s therapy.

When one partner strays, it’s important to explore what went wrong in the relationship before the betrayal occurred. Relationships can rebound from infidelity, but only if both individuals are committed to making the relationship succeed.

Sometimes it takes a few sessions of counseling to figure out whether or not both partners want to repair the bond. With the help of a trained relationship therapist, a couple can gain clarity and move past the hurt and shame. Regardless of whether you decide to stay together or separate, a crisis of this kind can be an opportunity for growth and emotional evolution. The goal of treatment is to create an environment of awareness so that the same mistakes aren’t repeated.

More than 50 percent of men who cheat don’t do it for the sex. The reason most often given is that they felt emotionally disconnected, lonely and unappreciated. Men are much more insecure than they often appear to be, and when they don’t feel appreciated or cared for, they are more likely to look outside their marriage or relationship for affirmation of their goodness and value.

When your relationship is broken, your body and your mind can take the brunt of it.

Our evolutionary survival stems from the idea that there is safety in our tribal communities. So when a marriage breaks down, the tension and drama often manifests itself in disease or illness. When we are stressed out, our immune systems become compromised.

Rediscovering harmony and love is not just a Hallmark card moment, but a matter of survival. Stress disrupts our biological well-being as well as our emotional equilibrium. Not dealing with a problematic relationship can lead to very serious health problems for everyone involved. .

Open communication and good intentions lie at the heart of all successful partnerships.

I will teach both of you how to hear the other’s feelings and conflicts without anger or argument. Learning how to receive each other’s feelings and experience requires special intention, curiosity and openness. In the first stages of the healing process, it’s very easy for a couple to feel defensive, hurt or anxious. But under the guidance of a good couples’ therapist, both partners have the opportunity to be heard and understood in a safe environment.

Conflicts can easily be transformed from potentially explosive and alienating episodes into opportunities for connection and understanding.

I will teach you to:

  • Be able to disagree without things getting ugly.
  • Tap into your ability to ask for what you want, without shame or fear.
  • Set limits with your partner from a place of self-love, not fear or anger.
  • Listen and support your partner, even when their truth doesn’t match your experience.
  • Express appreciation for the goodness your partner does have to offer, even when you feel hurt and disappointed.
  • Accept your partner’s feelings of hurt and anger without taking responsibility for them.
  • Open your heart to the possibility of repairing your relationship.
  • Find the sweetness that fuels love and closeness.
  • Be the catalyst for your partner’s emotional evolution within your relationship.

If you have never experienced a good example of a healthy relationship, then you probably never developed the basic skills for relating.

Many unsuccessful relationships go on for years and years, especially when children are involved. So much focus and energy goes into raising children, that a relationship’s issues might never be discussed, much less resolved. They may come up from time to time, but rather than being addressed, they slip out of direct consciousness only to re-surface during times of stress.

I will help teach you the basic skill-set for having a successful relationship.

Issues can be explored in a safe environment during therapy sessions, and you will be given clear communication techniques to immediately help you communicate better once you leave the session. As a therapist, I view therapy as a participatory process. As the client, you are involved in the treatment plan and the evaluation of your progress. Your sense of self-determination and guidance will be honored and encouraged throughout your sessions.

You want to repair your relationship and recognize your own needs to reconnect with your partner. So contact me now, and let’s get started rebuilding. Request a consultation now.


David Steinberg, PhD