If your relationship is stuck in frustrating patterns, and you want to get back on track,
I can offer you realistic, direct guidance.
The point isn't for you to spend years in therapy. It's to walk away
with insight and skills that will help you stay connected to your partner.
You can have a good relationship.
You can learn to be a good partner.
Couples counseling could help you get there.
I believe that the best way to grow is through an intimate relationship with someone else. I've seen that with my own relationships and with my clients.
My focus is couples and my training and commitment is to couples work. There is a ripple effect: by strengthening the couple, you strengthen all parts of your life--from your family to your work to your friendships to how you feel about yourself.
Relationship is the best work we can do on
this planet. Everything else springs from that fierce connection.
Outside the Box
It takes all kinds of couples to make a world and I welcome them all. I am experienced in working with the following couples/relationships:
I honor the diversity of your culture, your race, your religious beliefs, your gender and/or your sexuality/sexual orientation.
I see problem patterns, not problem people. I work with couples to help them understand and shift those patterns, while respecting who they are and how they live their lives. I work best with clients who are willing, motivated and accountable. s
My focus is couples, but I am particularly interested in working with bi-racial and bi-cultural couples, as well as sexuality/sexual issues.
I also have experience
working with infidelity, addictions, gender issues/ transitioning, cultural disconnect, childhood trauma/abuse, parenthood,
prejudice/social disenfranchisement and depression/anxiety.
Like all humans, I have blind spots and I make mistakes; I work to own those and welcome my clients challenging me.
Who I Am
I became a couples counselor because I believe that we all long to connect to others emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually--and I wanted to help others achieve that connection.
I am a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT) in Oregon and am part of the group practice Live True Counseling in downtown Portland. I have a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Portland State University
I am certified in Relational Life Therapy with Terry Real (www.terryreal.com) and have additional training in Susan Johnson's EFT-C (Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples), Bessel van der Kolk (trauma), Dan Wile's Collaborative Couples Therapy, Esther Perel (sexuality and infidelity) and Martha Kauppi (sexuality, sexual desire, polyamory).
I work from a family systems perspective (we are all connected in a system and making one shift can shift everything else in that system) and attachment theory (how we bonded as infants affects how we bond to our adult partners).
Before becoming a therapist, I was a journalist, editor, writing instructor, worked in midwifery, led parenting classes and groups for teen girls in the foster system. Most of my early life was spent living outside the United States in Taipei, Istanbul and Munich. .
What I Charge
Because I believe couples work requires the time to go deeper, I see couples weekly for 90-minute sessions. My rate is $175/90 minutes.
I am committed to making couples therapy accessible to all. Therefore I keep half of my spots open for couples who are economically disadvantaged. I ask them to pay what is affordable for them. Please ask me about this. I can also point you towards other low-cost counseling resources.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation on Zoom. I do not take insurance. I donate 10% of my pre-tax earnings to several domestic and international non-profit organizations that advocate social, racial and economic justice, gender equality, peacemaking and disarmament and ending hunger.
If my schedule is full and I cannot fit you in, please see my list of referrals (below).
Couples Relationship Skills Workshops &
Couples Process Groups
Couples Process Group October 3-November 28 (7-9 pm)
What it's about: A process group uses the power of group experience and support to help couples grow and thrive. This is an 8-week group that allows couples to be real about their experiences in a safe place, while gaining strength and wisdom from others. The result can foster more intimacy, connection and pleasure in your relationship.
Runs Mondays October 3-November 28, 2022 (no session Oct. 31). from 7-9 pm.
Meets at Pine Street Sangha, 8125 SE Pine Street in Montavilla.
Cost: $600 for the 8-part series ($75/couple per session.). Here is the process group brochure.
There is room for 2 more couples left in this group.
Relationship Skills Workshops, October 9 & 30 (1-5 pm)
The first workshop focuses on basic relational and communication skills while the second delves deeper into understanding why we face conflict in our relationships with our most intimate partners.
Note: You are welcome to attend either workshop, however, our Workshop Part 2 workshop builds on some skills from the first Workshop on October 9.
Cost: $150./couple for each half-day workshop. $250/couple for both. We can only take a maximum of 8 couples in each workshop.
Click to see the workshop brochure.
To register: Please use the Contact form below. Please let me know which group/workshop you would like to attend. I will email you with further details (how to pay, what to bring, etc.)
Reach Out to Me Here
Note as of March 2024: I am full right now and not taking new couples for the foreseeable future. I encourage you to look at www.terryreal.com under "Maps/Oregon RLT therapists" for more local referrals to trained couples therapists, as well as my referral list on this site.
Welcome to the blog! You can see my blog posts below.
Helpful Links & Resources
Resources for Couples
- I Don't Want to Talk About It - Terry Real. Important and groundbreaking book on men, depression and how patriarchy influences male emotional health and resilience.
- New Rules of Marriage - Terry Real. Straightforward skills and insight on being "relational' and having "fierce intimacy."
- Rethinking Infidelity and Mating in Captivity - Esther Perel. A fresh voice with pioneering ideas about women's desire, couples & sex and infidelity.
- Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, by philosopher/essayist Alain de Botton and his School of Life videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EvvPZFdjy and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuV80wYRld0
- Wired for Love and Wired for Dating - Stan Tatkin. Clear understanding of how we attached as children affects how we find (and sometimes struggle with) partners. stantatkin.com
- Brene Brown She's made a name for herself diving into shame & resilience. brenebrown.com
- Pia Melody I call her the Queen of Codependence. Her writings/talks on boundaries, codependence and addiction are brilliant. piamellody.com
- Byron Katie Katie is all about investigating thoughts/beliefs that keep you stuck and in pain. She's definitely woo but the real deal. Find out more at www.TheWork.org. Watch her on youtube.
Terryreal.com Terry Real is the founder of Relational Life Therapy (RLT), a direct and practical approach to couples counseling and intimate relationships. This site offers tips and useful resources for couples.
Where Do We Begin? - a series of free podcasts hosted by Esther Perel. Each features a couple in a live session working on issues from sex/desire to parenting to cultural/gender differences.
Sexuality & Desire Resources
- Where Do We Begin? - a series of free podcasts hosted by Esther Perel. Each features a couple in a live session with Perel, who works on a range of issues from infidelity to parenting to cultural and gender differences in couples. Listen to Season 1 "Talk French to Me" dealing with sexual desire.
- Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski. I can't rave enough about this book. It's the latest scientific and common-sense knowledge about women's sexuality and sexual desire. A book for everyone. .
- Sexual Intelligence. by Marty Klein. An in-depth explanation of how our minds influence our sexual desire. A must-read.
- Institute for Relational Intimacy. Sex educator Martha Kauppi has informative resources and an excellent blog covering all aspects of sexuality. .https://instituteforrelationalintimacy.com
- Lesbians & Sex. Educate yourself if you're not or get new ideas if you are. https://www.autostraddle.com/how-do-lesbians-have-sex28898 or https://www.thecut.com/2015/04/what-can-lesbians-teach-us-about-female-libido.html
Referrals for Couples/Individual Therapists
There are a lot of skilled therapists in Portland. Here are a few I recommend:
- I recommend these therapists for couples and/or individual clients:
- Katrina Gould, LCSW - Hakomi trained; SE.www.katrina.gould.lcsw.com
- Lori Severson, LPC - training in Terry Real's RLT; addictions, Native American, Beaverton. www.loriseversoncounseling.com
- Emalee Assenberg - AEDP therapist. SE. www.auxiliumcounseling.com
- Barry McVay, LPC - individuals, couples, expertise in sex/pornography addiction; Sellwood
- Kathryn Williams, LPC - LGBTQ+ couples & individuals.
- Elaine Korngold - couples financial therapy. https://askcounseling.com/financial-therapy/
- Tina Lilly, LPC - open/polyamory relationships:/sexuality. English/German.
- Nan Narboe
- Amanda Fitzpatrick
- Gracie Dilley-Bucciarelli
- Sunya Gratham
- Kate Nelson-Armstrong
- Erica Weber
- Ryan Brown - LGBTQ+ and polyamory. Downtown
- Gia Buckberg, LCSW -- life changes; NW
- Jeannie Songer, LPC - relationships; LGBTQ+; NE
- Erika Ruber, LCSW - trauma recovery. Process/movement groups for women & girls. NE
- Sunya Gratham
- Katje Wagner
- Helen Goode, LPC - expertise in addictions and adult children of alcoholics. Offers groups. SE. www.goodecounseling.com
- Kristen Beck - anxiety & depression; Gresham
Low-Cost Counseling Resources
The William Temple House offers pay-what-you-can fees from $0 - $40/session. Clients work either with student interns or community volunteers who are licensed. https://www.williamtemple.org/our-services/counseling/
The PSU Community Counseling Clinic offers low-cost individual, relationship, and family counseling, including services for children and teens for $15/session.. Sessions are with supervised counseling students. https://www.pdx.edu/education/clinic
Lewis & Clark Community Clinic offers individuals, couples, and families sliding scale rates from $5 to $75. .. Problem gambling services are offered free of charge. There is currently a waiting list: https://graduate.lclark.edu/clinics/community_counseling/
The Process Work Institute’s River’s Way Clinic is an affordable, sliding-scale clinic providing services to individuals, couples, families, children, and groups: https://www.processwork.edu/rivers-way-clinic/rivers-way-training-clinic/
The Pacific University Psychology & Comprehensive Health Clinic offers individual, family, and group therapy for self-pay clients or those covered by OHP. . Sessions range from $18-$47 for those who qualify. They offer additional veteran and student discounts. https://www.pacificu.edu/about/community/healthcare-clinics/pacific-psychology-comprehensive-health-clinic/scheduling-fees
A New Day Counseling Center through Western Seminary offers individual, relationship, adolescent, and family counseling for $20/session with pre-licensed graduate students and licensed counselors. https://www.anewdaycounseling.org/
Oregon State University Counseling Clinic offers free session to community members via telehealth. Sessions are with pre-licensed counseling graduate students who are supervised by faculty. https://osucascades.edu/counseling-clinic
The practice of Dr. Sanderson and Associates offers sessions with pre-licensed counselors for $35-$50/session. The practice is in Tigard, and they are currently providing telehealth. https://drsandersonandassociates.com/individual-therapy
Other Books & Resources
Wedding Toasts I Never Gave - insightful and funny collection of essays by Ada Calhoun.
Queer Eye - struggling with finding empathy or hope in anxious times? Feeling stuck? This is a different kind of reality show in which five gay men help people get out of a life/self-image/outlook ruts. Great to watch with your partner because it's all here - depression, relationships, stuck beliefs, loneliness and hope for these troubled times.. Netflix.
Principles of Pleasure -
In case of emergency:
If you are experiencing a crisis or mental health emergency, please seek 24/7 support by contacting:
- Multnomah County Crisis Line at 503-988-4888
- Lines for Life at 800-273-8255
- Crisis Line for Racial Equity Support (answered by BIPOC counselors) at 503-575-3764 (Mon-Fri 10am-7pm)
- People's Crisis Line at 503-200-7993
Addiction & Recovery
- AA; 12 Step meetings all over Portland.
- AA Agnostica - secular AA meetings. https://www.pdxsecularaa.org
- Alanon; support for those who live with, love and struggle with addicted loved ones. http://www.al-anonportlandoregon.org
- SMART Recovery - a secular, science-based alternative to 12 Step programs based on CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Open to all and welcomes those who are not abstinent. Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ4m2g86TYE for more information.
- Recoveryrefuge.org - A Buddhist-inspired recovery program using meditation & community. https://refugerecoverypdx.org
- Q Center Refuge Recovery meetings for LGBTQ2SIA+ and their allies. https://refugerecoverypdx.org/news/2019/6/14/happy-pride-join-queer-paths-on-sundays
- Podcasts: "That Sober Guy," and "Your Partner's Addiction" and "The Bubble Hour" are a good start.
- Gambling addiction: https://www.opgr.org. Also contact https://graduate.lclark.edu/clinics/problem_gambling
- For overall addictions/mental health problems, a good resource is https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- People of Color & Therapy http://www.oprah.com/health_wellness/how-racial-bias-affects-mental-health-treatment - challenges that people of color face finding effective therapy.
Supervision & Consultation for Therapists