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Couples Counseling and Marriage Counseling

Dr. Whiten's specialty is working with couples who feel disconnected and dissatisfied, whether emotionally, physically, or mentally. Here are some common dynamics she works with in therapy (and her own names for these common patterns):

Mr. Perfect And His Crazy Wife

The Ice Queen And The Martyr

Mr. And Mrs. Just Not Feeling It

The Wife Who Wants More And Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband

The Man-Child And His Long-Suffering Wife

The Lean-In Wife and the Underachiever

The CEO and the Resentful Employee

Over time, and often following significant life changes (like the birth of a baby or older kids leaving the home), couples often find it difficult to maintain the levels of open communication, emotional and physical intimacy, trust, mutual respect, and appreciation that allow relationships to thrive. Anger mounts over long-standing issues that have never been directly confronted and resolved, including sex.

Couples can become hopeless and disconnected, often then reaching out to others outside the marriage for the emotional support they do not receive at home. Another common pattern is constant levels of bickering that periodically escalate into large-scale blowout fights. Neither pattern is the one that either of you likely wished for at the start of your relationship.  

Couples counseling can often lead to dramatic improvement in partners' feelings about the relationship. No matter how hopeless or long-standing the issues may seem, meeting with a therapist can help partners gain the clarity, perspective, and understanding that is necessary for a more fulfilling relationship. You may never be back in the "honeymoon stage," but you may build a deeper and more real connection than you ever imagined. Many of Dr. Whiten's articles on relationships and sex can be found here on her blog

Discernment counseling can help you figure out if you have a path forward as a couple or if separation is the best recourse. Go here for Dr. Whiten's divorce specialty.

In couples work, Dr. Whiten takes into account how each partner was raised and the expectations that each brings to the relationship to help the couple gain insight into their issues. Couples explore why they may have picked each other, what changed over time, and what can be done to recapture and build upon the love that may remain. Behavioral assignments are given very frequently in couples counseling, as it is expected to be an intensive experience that quickly yields changes.  There is a great deal of time and effort necessary for two adults to come to a weekly therapy session together. Your time is respected by keeping counseling progressing at a pace that will allow you to determine after a few sessions whether you feel that counseling is the right path for you as a couple.


If you are very pressed for time and are in crisis as a couple, Dr. Whiten offers extended morning sessions/workshops where one couple can work intensively with her for an entire morning.  These are scheduled on a case-by-case basis.

If children or other family members are involved in the daily life of the couple, or if partners (such as in military families) must live apart or deal with long and oppressive work schedules, relationship conflict reaches another level of complexity.  It is possible for a couple to learn to work together as a team to prioritize the needs of the couple and ensure that the partners' love and commitment for each other can be rekindled despite the many real and challenging stressors that the couple faces.  

Sexual and physical intimacy often suffer greatly in relationships with conflict; conversely, a lack of sexual or physical intimacy can be a primary cause of partner dissatisfaction.  Dr. Whiten works with couples of all sexual orientations (LGBT as well as asexual spectrum) and cultural backgrounds on the sensitive issues surrounding sexual dysfunction, dissatisfaction, decreased  libido, and lack of passion and romance. There are many reasons that couples struggle with sexual issues, and there can be great progress made when couples make the often difficult decision to discuss this area of their lives with a therapist. Dr. Whiten is open to discussing all manner of sexual issues frankly and honestly, including but not limited to fantasies, dissatisfaction, and histories of sexual difficulties (including prior abuse). Such discussion, in a safe environment, can give partners a chance to be heard, and allow the couple to explore deeper origins of sexual issues as well as begin taking steps to yield gradual change.

"Within couples, I have found that I am particularly useful at helping males with difficulty expressing emotions.  Such men, often very successful by traditional measures such as job success, frequently find themselves at a loss in intimate relationships.  The same traits that allow men to succeed on the job in our society can often unfortunately get in the way when it comes to expressing their more vulnerable emotions in a relationship.  


Sometimes, they doubt they even have emotions at all, much to their spouse's bitterness or disappointment.  If this describes you or your partner, please bring it up in our early work together.  These issues of emotional awareness and expression can be worked on very productively, often leading to a deeper level of connection than either partner would have thought possible."  

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