Couples Counseling Approaches

Couples Counseling Approaches

The counselors at PHA Wellness will work with you to determine the best approach to use for your relationship. We use three different approaches to couples counseling: (click on the down arrow to see more)

Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT)

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), which is one of only two empirically validated approaches to to treating couple distress and the only one anchored in attachment theory.

Where other couples therapies have a success rate of only about 30% and couples relapse after a year, EFT is a proven effective treatment for distressed couples and families. In EFT research studies, most couples (over 70%) turned their relationship around (from distressed – no matter how distressed – to happy) in 15 – 20 sessions and over 90% of couples reported being “significantly improved.”*

View these videos  explaining Emotionally Focused Therapy and and what makes it so effective.

Discernment Counseling

If you or your spouse are not considering divorce but are not completely sure you want to stay together, you are in a tough spot. Discernment Counseling can help you. It’s a chance to slow down, take a breath, and look at options for your marriage.

Discernment Counseling is a new way of helping couples where one person is “leaning out” of the relationship—and not sure that regular marriage counseling would help–and the other is “leaning in”—that is, interested in rebuilding the marriage.

Our counselors will help you decide whether to try to restore your marriage to health, move towards divorce or take a time out and decide later. The goal is not to solve your marital problems but to see if they are solvable. Discernment counselings is a maximum of five sessions. The first session is usually two hours and the subsequent are 1.5 or 2 hours.

View the following video to learn more about this unique form of counseling:

Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Combining the knowledge and wisdom of nearly forty years of studies and clinical practice, Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps couples achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships. This therapy is a structured, goal-oriented, scientifically-based therapy using research-based interventions and exercises. Intervention strategies are based upon empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s study of more than 3,000 couples.

This therapy shows couples what actually works to help achieve a long-term, healthy relationship.

Gottman Method CouplesTherapy was developed out of this research to help partners:

  • Increase respect, affection, and closeness
  • Break through and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
  • Generate greater understanding between partners
  • Keep conflict discussions calm

Learn more about the Gottman Method in this video:

Often people feel that they’re being forced by their partner to enter therapy, or that they don’t have a choice. They fear they will be ganged up on, put down, or analyzed. In reality, couples counseling is about each partner having a say, and a safe place to express true feelings and desires in relationship. Each partner learns how to shift away from defensive or offensive maneuvers and toward more honesty and acceptance.

Our therapists ensure both partners feel safe and supported. We work to maintain calm conversations, where each partner can speak and be heard. We teach you how to create your own calm and safety at home, so you can feel closer and more trusting of your partner. We work with couples and families of all sexual orientations and configurations.

Successful couples counseling leads to:


  • Win-win solutions to reoccurring issues
  • Couples feeling free to be themselves
  • Renewed trust and appreciation of one another
  • More mature, honest exchanges
  • More fun, closeness and better sex!

Learn more about our approach to couples counseling »

Our therapists who provide couples counseling:

Laura Barbeau, MA, LMFT
Jess Vail, Psychotherapist
Michele Michaelson, Psychotherapist
Sara Nuahn, MSW, LICSW, CBIS
Jessy Conners, MA Level Practicum Psychotherapist
Jessica Lind-Lamoureux, MA Level Practicum Psychotherapist
Doug Perry, MA, LICSW
Krista Post, MA, LP

Laura Barbeau is a member of DRI Alliance