New Start Therapy, Julia Flood, LCSW

Couples

Couples Therapy / Marriage Counseling

When you feel like this isn’t the person you married; when you worry that the gap in between you is widening every day; when it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under you after discovering the affair... it can feel like you are in over your head, and you may ask “Is it too late to save my relationship?”

Couples counseling can lead to restoring the broken trust and intimacy your relationship once had. Your marriage or committed relationship is definitely worth fighting for, and needs to be given a real chance to succeed. My couples therapy practice offers the tools and space you need as a pair to give your relationship that chance. Some possible areas of focus in couples counseling are:

  • Healing from an affair

  • Endless arguments

  • Feeling distant/growing apart

  • Getting past hurt

  • Jealousy

  • Work-life balance

  • Differences in parenting

  • Sex and intimacy

Together we will create a safe space to explore your relationship. I will help to uncover underlying dynamics, unspoken feelings, and hurtful patterns in your interactions with one another, and help you to break out of them. I can coach you to use new tools to communicate your needs without falling into familiar conflict patterns, and help you to rebuild trust, and rediscover the joy, surprise, and closeness in your relationship.

You might be feeling very little hope for your relationship right now. As your couples counselor I see my job as holding that hope for you for a while, until you can see whether it is possible to rebuild your commitment. The question isn’t whether you’re committed for life, but whether you both can commit now to working hard in couples therapy on your relationship by taking separation off the table for the time being.

Pre-Marital Counseling

Despite looming divorce statistics, most young adults today still hope for a happy marriage in their future. The desire is there, but what seems to be lacking are the tools to make it work. People often attribute the success or failure of a marriage to “luck” and finding the one “perfect” partner.

 

Especially in the beginning of a relationship, when getting along is easy, partners tend to underestimate the work and care that is necessary to maintain any long-term relationship. Pre-marital counseling provides young relationships with skills and tools to master difficult situations that will likely occur in their shared future. Examples of subjects that often come up in pre-marital counseling include:

  • Wanting children

  • Previous relationships

  • Navigating different desires

  • Personal time vs. couple activities

  • Relationship with in-laws

  • Cultural and religious differences

  • Gender role expectations

  • Attitudes towards money

These can be sensitive topics that evoke strong feelings, which is precisely why it helps to work through them together with a skilled neutral guide. Learning to anticipate and effectively negotiate issues like these early in your relationship will greatly increase the chances for the long-term success of your marriage.

Multi-Cultural Couples

Whether you are from different countries or cultures, or you’re in a multi-race or multi-ethnic marriage, you are likely to experience some significant challenges. Being an immigrant and in a bi-cultural marriage myself, I have a special sensitivity and awareness of the ethnic, cultural, and religious differences that diverse couples face, which, if not navigated carefully, can pose major stumbling blocks to a relationship.

 

Multi-cultural couples are subject to special stresses and strains beyond those experienced in most marriages, because such marriages have a built-in difference in areas that can be especially sensitive. Areas of conflict faced by many diverse couples are:

  • Religion and holidays

  • Family language

  • Child rearing

  • Extended family

  • Gender roles

  • Prejudices and assumptions

  • Where to live long-term

At least by the time you have children, difficult questions likely arise such as: How much limit setting do toddlers need? What does a mother's or a father’s role look like, and what role does extended family play in raising the children? Should babies be on a schedule for sleeping, eating? Where does the baby sleep? How long may the in-laws stay when they visit? Will they live with us when they get elderly? Does one of parent stay at home with baby? Will our children go to public school? Will one of us change their mind about which country we should live in?

Most of these questions come up in all marriages, but with multi-cultural couples, they often involve assumptions and expectations that are so much a part of the fabric of your background and identity that you may not even be aware of them or their intensity.

On the other hand, there are special rewards for those who are willing to manage differences with their partners and families. Therapy can help you draw out the nuances of your and your partner's understanding of family relationships, values, and beliefs (which you both may never have fully investigated before) and help you negotiate a healthy balance.