Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, but there’s a very real difference between healthy conflict and unhealthy fighting. The struggles and stress, the emotional and mental stress, the feelings of walking on eggshells or hiding to avoid triggering an outburst, these aren’t part of a healthy partnership.
Some relationships can grow and improve, and with some healthy coping skills and conflict resolution techniques, they end up stronger than ever. Others can be salvaged with a lot of work and a talented couples therapist. Some are based on fundamental incompatibilities. Recognizing the kind of relationship and learning how it can be repaired isn’t easy.
Of course, couples therapy isn’t just for relationships in crisis. Any partnership can benefit from an outside perspective, from communication and strengthening. That said, most therapists are used to couples in make-or-break situations, with conflicts that keep escalating and the prospect of separation or divorce on the horizon.
Whether you have frequent miscommunications that cause frustration or fights that threaten the very fabric of your relationship, couples therapy can help. The only question is, how do you find a good couples therapist in the NYC area who can work with you to repair and strengthen your relationship?
Is Couples Therapy Right for You?
If you’re having issues in your relationship, couples therapy may seem like the ideal option. However, that’s not actually always the case.
There are a few reasons why you might not want to opt for couples therapy and should go for individual therapy first.
- You’re in an abusive situation. One key to successful therapy is honesty and trust; abusers frequently hide their abuse, shift blame, or otherwise make it difficult or impossible to successfully make progress in a couples therapy situation. Individual therapy can help you identify an abusive situation and offer options.
- Your partner is resistant to the idea of couples therapy. While getting them to open up and give it a try can lead to a breakthrough, you may want to start with individual therapy to help you learn how to broach the subject without running into further issues. Further, showing that you’re willing to work and make progress can help bring a hesitant partner into the process.
Couples therapy can help address – and often heal – many issues in relationships.
- If you feel like you need to hide who you are and can’t fully express yourself.
- If you’re suffering from grief, loss, or mourning and can’t get past it.
- If you’re struggling to achieve a deeper connection with your partner.
- If you frequently argue with your partner, especially if you have the same arguments repeatedly,
- If you or your partner were unfaithful, but you’re willing to work to move past and heal.
There are many such issues that may come up that can be addressed by couples therapy. While some more complex situations may require a specialist, you can get the ball rolling with basic couples therapy.
Step 1: Build a List of Potential Therapists
The first thing you want to do is start researching potential therapists in your area.
One key to remember here is that you don’t necessarily need to find in-person therapists. While some people can only find a true connection in person, many people find that virtual therapy is a perfectly effective solution. After all, the key is in changing mindsets and outlooks, in conversation and technique, not necessarily anything that has to be done in person.
Therapists in NYC can be found all throughout the city and the surrounding area, but there’s also a large number of potential patients in the area as well. That means many therapists have limited availability. We’ll get into screening potential therapists in a later step, but for now, just keep in mind that you might not be able to get in to see a specific therapist right away or at all. Don’t get your heart set on one person solving all of your problems to find they have no availability for six months.
What resources can you use to find potential couples therapists in your area?
Psychology Today is one of the leading publications in the field of psychology, but beyond that, they maintain a very robust online directory of therapists, psychologists, treatment centers, and support groups. Start by choosing a therapist and plugging in NYC to get a list; then filter it by either issue (marriage counseling) or type of therapy (couples counseling).
If you have other specific issues in your relationship, you can add those in for a more specific and relevant set of search results. You can also add additional filters for things like your insurance provider, the gender of the therapist, your age, the price range for the therapist, and more.
All of these options can help you refine the list to locate specific therapists you’d be interested in working with for your issues.
The ABPP is a directory of licensing and board certification. There are over 4,800 board-certified psychologists in the directory, with information about their addresses, phone numbers, and specialties.
Keep in mind, though, that this is specifically psychologists; therapists aren’t necessarily board-certified psychologists, and there are relatively few psychologists specializing in couples psychology. In fact, there are only two in the list for the NYC area as of the time of this writing. Fortunately, you aren’t restricted to just these two; they’re simply additional options for your list.
This directory of licensed family therapists will include at least some number of couples therapists in the area you search. You can plug in a zip code and see the therapists surrounding you, and you may be surprised by how many there are.
When you expand your search to nearby zip codes as well, the list can grow longer. For example, there are nearly 70 options in Manhattan alone! There are plenty of options to add to your list in this directory.
4. My Wellbeing
This new web app sends you through a series of screening questions – 32 in total, including questions about your location and your preference for using insurance or virtual versus in-person therapy – and will offer you some matches based on your specific choice of issues and preferences. Unfortunately, it only gives you a handful of options, but they are much more likely to be a good fit for your concerns because of the screening.
You can, of course, always just run a web search for “couples therapists near me” and see what comes up. A lot of the results will be the same as what you find through the other options, but you may find some unique results.
You can be picky and build a short list of highly likely therapists you would work with, or you can build the biggest list you can and narrow it down over time. Either way, once you have a list, you can move on to the next step.
Remember, too, that you don’t need to rely on therapists in your city, but you may need to find therapists in your state. This is because therapists require licenses, and licenses aren’t necessarily usable outside of the state in which they were issued. There are currently around 30 states that participate in the Counseling Compact, which allows therapists in Compact states to practice in other Compact states without obtaining a second license. Unfortunately, New York is not currently a Compact state, so you need to find therapists licensed to practice in New York, even if they’re located outside of the state.
Step 2: Filter and Qualify Potential Therapists
Now that you have a list, you need to go through them and determine if they’re someone you would like to work with.
Some couples, for example, would prefer to work with men or with women or with non-binary therapists. Some may prefer to work with LGBT+-identified therapists. Some have no real preferences and just want to judge based on first impressions.
There’s not really a wrong way to choose a therapist other than not choosing one at all. There are thousands of great therapists out there, and many of them won’t be a good fit with you for one reason or another. There’s no shame in that; it’s just a fact of life in a profession where a personal connection is a requirement for successful treatment.
The most important thing is to book a therapist, no matter who it is. Giving therapy a try, even if it’s with a therapist who doesn’t “click” with you, opens the door to future treatment and can help you know the depth, breadth, and extent of the challenges you’re facing. A fact that many couples confront in therapy is that the issues they have could be deeper or more difficult to address than anyone involved realizes until they really dig into it.
Unfortunately, you’re likely to encounter issues in your search for a therapist. The three biggest issues are:
- Availability. Many therapists are booked out quite a ways, so it may be a long-term project to get therapy rolling. Since couples therapy is often best started on a weekly basis, this can be a tall order. There will be therapists available, but they may not be your first impression, first choice therapists.
- Timing. Even if a therapist is available, they may not be available at the same time that both you and your partner are. Many people today have very busy schedules, and couples with multiple jobs, families, and responsibilities can have very limited availability for therapy. This is, fortunately, one way that online therapy can help; when you don’t have to travel, you save time and open up more time.
- Insurance. Your insurance may not cover therapy or may not cover the particular therapists you are looking into. It’s important to note that you may be able to simply book therapy and pay out of pocket, and in some cases, you can submit claims outside of the normal insurance process for a discount later. Even paying out of pocket is generally better than no therapy at all, though.
Step 3: Try Therapy and Reevaluate
As we mentioned, the most important thing to do is do it. Book a therapist, give a session a try, and roll it into the next and the next. Maybe you won’t click with the therapist. Maybe you won’t like their style. Maybe your issues run deeper than you thought, and the escalation in conflict makes you reevaluate the possibility of salvaging the relationship at all. Whatever the case may be, after attending therapy sessions, you can reevaluate and determine what the appropriate next move will be.
Fortunately, couples therapy has a very high success rate. Estimates say as many as 70% of couples who attend couples therapy come out with stronger, healthier relationships. The key is that you never know unless you try.
Try Online Therapy with Us
At Imagine Emotional Wellness, our team of therapists provides high-quality counseling for a wide range of possible issues, including couples therapy. When you reach out, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation to determine what your needs are and whether or not we’ll be a good fit. After that appointment, we can book an initial session to get a deeper read of the situation and get a feel for our ability to work together. If we determine that we can proceed, then we can move on to regular therapy sessions, improved relationships, and much more.
Why should you consider booking a consultation with us?
- Our unique approach to therapy isn’t about diagnosing you and putting you in a box with templated “solutions” that don’t work. Instead, it’s about building robust emotional wellness and emotional intelligence to move beyond short-term fixes and into true long-term health.
- We’re fully supportive of and sensitive to LGBTQIA+ and other identifiers. We acknowledge that systemic oppression and other social issues have an impact on our individual lives.
- We use a mixture of different types of therapy, including psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and more, to good effect.
- Our therapy is fully virtual, so you can make progress from the comfort of your own home.
To learn more, reach out and book your free 15-minute initial consultation here. We’re licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and Florida, and we can help you heal your relationship from anywhere within those areas.