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 in my own relationships and in 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.
This 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 want a therapist who is direct, transparent, funny, flexible, moves quickly and is not afraid to tell them the truth.
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 Professional Counselor (LPC) in Oregon with a private practice in Kenton/North 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. I speak conversational German and Italian and am tackling Turkish.
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 $150/90 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. Please ask me about this and let me know what is affordable for you. I can also point you towards other low-cost counseling resources.
I offer a free 30-minute consultation on the phone or 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).
How to Contact Me
Note as of September 2021: I am not taking new couples right now. Please look at my referral list for other couples therapists I recommend. I also encourage you to look at www.terryreal.com under "Maps" and "Oregon RLT therapists" for more local referrals to trained couples therapists.
Currently, my sessions are held online using Zoom. As of October 1st, I will be seeing some clients in person in my office in Kenton/North Portland.
Counseling for Couples
Portland, OR 97217
Helpful Links & Resources
Resources for Couples
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
Referrals for Couples/Individual Therapists
There are a lot of skilled therapists in Portland. Here are a few I recommend:
Low-Cost Counseling Resources
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.
Addiction & Recovery
Note: Our workshops/groups are on hold for 2020. We hope to continue them when it's safe to do so.
We can help improve your communication skills and deepen your intimate connection. We will offer a Couples Process Group (the spring group is now closed) in the fall that offers couples a deep and supportive dive into their relationship in a group setting. For more information about any of our workshops/groups, go to Contact.