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    • 5-Star Google Reviews

      Heather Feigin
      Heather Feigin

      5 out of 5 stars

      posted 2 months ago

      Garrett is a skilled and experienced clinician. He thinks "outside the box" and comes up with creative ways to help people overcome their challenges. Garrett's concern for each client is evident in the caring approach he takes. I highly recommend Garrett as an excellent therapist.
      Heather Feigin, LCSW

      Brenda Nikelsberg
      Brenda Nikelsberg

      5 out of 5 stars

      posted 2 months ago

      Garrett Coan is a respectful, professional therapist. He is a good listener, is easy to talk to and is able to create open dialogue. He is non-judgmental and has experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds.

      Brenda Nikelsberg
      Ackerman Institute for the Family,
      Administrator, Center for the Developing Child and Family

      Staela Keegan
      Staela Keegan

      5 out of 5 stars

      posted 3 months ago

      I had the pleasure of working with Garrett for several years and witnessed his commitment and compassion to his work and his clients. Garrett has experience working with adults, couples, families and children struggling with stage of life issues to more problematic behavioral health problems. Regardless of the severity of the problem Garrett's approach was always compassionate, caring and dedicated. He is a skilled clinician that I would certainly recommend.
      Staela Keegan, LCSW, LCADC

      Nicole McLaughlin
      Nicole McLaughlin

      5 out of 5 stars

      posted 2 months ago

      I worked with Garrett and I have to say he is a wonderful clinician. He has great insight into clients and has a variety of solutions to offer clients. He is very professional and cares about his clients. I would highly recommend Garrett to anyone that is dealing with issues and would like assistance to change!

      Anne Maberry
      Anne Maberry

      5 out of 5 stars

      posted 3 months ago

      I worked with Garrett for three years and found him to be a caring and effective therapist. He works hard to empower each of his clients to find the right path for themselves whether he is working with children, adults, or couples. Whether you are considering therapy for the first time or have been in treatment before, I can highly recommend Garrett’s supportive approach.
      Anne Maberry, MSW, LCSW

  • Call 201-303-4303

  • Restore Peace of Mind and Harmonious Relationships: NJ Marriage Counseling and Psychotherapy

     

    In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I teach clients practical tools to overcome personal and relationship problems to truly enjoy life once again.

    Marriage Counseling / Couples Therapy in New Jersey

     

    Do you long for the days when you and your spouse felt that warmth, that connection, that soul bond? What has changed? Why do you feel distant from your partner, as if you and he or she are drifting apart, going down different paths? Sometimes it takes expert marriage counseling and couples therapy to help you discover what has triggered this apathy or alienation and learn how to rekindle emotional intimacy.

    In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I provide a comfortable setting for the candid expression of feelings, expectations, hopes, and dreams. With my active facilitation, misunderstanding and conflict can be overcome and replaced by new found closeness and affection.

    Within my marriage counseling NJ practice, I will help the both of you look past the idealized fantasy of what your partner "should" be. I do this purposefully so that you and your partner can finally let go of corrosive feelings of hurt and resentment. Through a process of guided communication, I provide the two of you the wherewithal to truly "understand" your mate deeply and authentically. The desire to change your partner is transformed into a genuine sense of love and acceptance.

    People seek marriage counseling to improve communication, emotional intimacy and the sexual component of the relationship. They also desire to resolve conflicts over roles, money and contrasting parenting styles. Sometimes, a couple needs to work through the pain of an affair and the loss of trust that ensues. In my work, I help my couples therapy clients work through all of these issues.

    If you are looking for a marriage counseling NJ practice with a therapist possessing a track record of success in saving and improving relationships, please call me.

    Relationship Therapy 

    People are most content when they are in a gratifying, committed relationship. In my practice, I utilize relationship therapy to help my clients overcome the internal conflicts and blocks standing in the way of emotional intimacy.

    If you are single and desire to be in a relationship, we will examine your past relationship and communication patterns. I will help you identify and transcend any internal obstacles to intimacy. I will then help you seek out and cultivate meaningful connections with prospective mates.

    If you’re currently in a committed relationship and your significant other refuses to attend marriage counseling or couples therapy, don't worry. You and I can make much progress without his or her participation. I can help you better understand the dynamics in your current relationship, including your contribution. I will assist you in identifying what's problematic and coach you on taking steps to rectify the situation. When you, yourself, take the first steps to initiate positive changes, your partner will likely follow suit.

    Finally, if you’re trying to work through a separation or divorce, you may be experiencing grief, depression and anxiety. I will help you process these feelings, heal from them and move on to your next loving relationship.

    In my marriage counseling NJ practice, you'll learn invaluable skills in how to strengthen your relationship. These skills include communicating openly, solving problems and discussing differences in an unemotional and objective manner. You will be encouraged to develop active listening skills so that you can actually "hear" your partner on a deeper level. Couples therapy will enable you and your partner to identify the true underlying bases for your differences and become more adept at negotiating compromises.

    There will be times when feelings of anger, sadness and hurt bubble to the surface as you discuss your true feelings about your partner and his or her past behavior. In marriage counseling, I will act as both a mediator and coach, helping you process your feelings and communicate them in a constructive, relationship-enhancing fashion.

    If your partner refuses to attend couples therapy, you can certainly attend relationship counseling by yourself. It's more of a challenge to heal the relationship when only one partner is willing to attend. Nevertheless, you can still improve the quality of your bond by learning more about your own problematic behavior, communication patterns and how best to manage your partner's insecurities.  

    Making the decision to pursue marriage counseling is a difficult one since it involves admitting that the relationship is in trouble. Getting help is, however, more effective than ignoring the situation and hoping things will improve on their own. If you are looking for a marriage counseling NJ practice to salvage or simply improve your marital relationship, please give me a call at 201-303-4303.

    Relationship Check-Up

    Every couple should perform a "relationship check up" on a regular basis. Here are a few signs and symptoms that your relationship might benefit from couples therapy. 

    Are You Evasive or Closed Off In Your Communication With Your Spouse?

    Do you and your spouse have difficulty disclosing vulnerability and saying you are sorry? The sign of a healthy marriage is allowing yourself to become vulnerable with your spouse, to "let your hair down", so to speak. If you are afraid to disclose to your spouse your fears, worries, sadness and anger, then you should seek out marriage counseling. In a healthy relationship, both partners must feel comfortable enough to be truly genuine and candid with one another. Without sincerity and forthrightness in your communication, your relationship will suffer.

    Do You Hold On To Grudges?

    If you and your partner find yourself constantly dredging up past wrongs, then it is a sign of a deeper dissatisfaction. Of all the people that one should be most willing and able to forgive, your partner should top the list. If you can't let go of the idea that your spouse was (and is) “selfish”, “mean”, “controlling”, then you need to consider marriage counseling or couples therapy. You are either projecting onto your spouse your own unhappiness with yourself, or your spouse truly is the things that you say about him or her.  Either way, these issues need to be explored, discussed and worked through in couples therapy.

    Are The Two of You Frequently At  Deadlock Over Practical Matters?

    Sometimes, strongly held philosophical views on practical issues can create tension and conflict in a marriage. Topics such as approaches to child rearing, family finances, and level of religious involvement can be fraught with disagreement. Because these subjects are so emotion-laden, people tend to become opinionated and defensive. If you cannot reach a consensus with your partner, but rather view him or her as "hopelessly off-base" then you need to consider counseling. A couples therapist will help you become better able to empathize and negotiate with your partner. Compromise is critical when it comes to these central issues that impact so heavily on family life. In my marriage counselor NJ practice, I can help you learn these skills. 

    Money Can Be A Relationship Spoiler Unless The Two of You Get On The Same Page

    I alluded to this issue in the previous paragraph, but this weighty subject requires further elucidation. Who controls budgeting in your relationship? Who decides if and when to purchase big ticket items? If the answer is your spouse, do you then buy things secretly because you are afraid he or she will criticize your purchasing habits? Do you maintain separate bank accounts because you don't trust that your partner will be financially responsible? Or that he or she will use money as a weapon to hurt you? All these issues need to be addressed directly and openly in couples therapy. The potential stress and acrimony surrounding money can sink your relationship and marriage counseling can help you resolve these issues.

    Are Unhealthy Parent-Child Alliances Forming Within Your Family?

    Do you favor your son and your husband your daughter? Do you "see a reflection” of yourself in your son, telling yourself that he (and not your daughter) possesses inherited your temperament, interests and aptitudes? And, as a result, you feel you can relate to your son much better than your daughter, correct? What happens then when your children misbehave or fight one another? Do you instinctively side with your son and justify his behavior?  Do you argue with your husband, contending that your daughter was the one who "started up" with your son.

    Competing alliances are toxic to the family dynamic. If you are sensing that you and your husband are cultivating opposing alliances with your children, then it is imperative that you pursue couples therapy to restore family unity. The preservation of both your marriage and family harmony depend on it. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I can help you sort through these issues.  

     

    Family Therapist and Parenting Skills Trainer

     

    Families, like individuals, possess characteristic ways of solving problems. Every family is composed of a unique constellation of relationships that create a specific dynamic. This dynamic is either healthy and growth-promoting or dysfunctional and stifling. When dysfunctional, families are paralyzed and cannot move beyond feelings of helplessness, guilt and anger.

    Oftentimes, boundaries within the family are not strong enough to maintain clear hierarchies of authority. For instance, in contemporary American society, parents oftentimes behave more like friends to their children than the authority figures they need to be. As a result, children can feel unsafe, unprotected and lacking in self-confidence. Moreover, they do not develop sufficient respect for their elders both within their family and out in the community. As they became teenagers, these unstructured youth frequently "act out" their frustration in terms of reckless and rebellious behavior.

    Another phenomenon presents itself prominently in today's family life. This occurs when abuse or addiction creates distortions in the family structure. In such families, members sacrifice their individuality and assume the role of either "scapegoat", "hero", "enabler", "lost child", or "mascot". Within the context of this enmeshed and co-dependent family system, a culture of secrecy and shame inevitably develops. Problems are swept under the rug and never adequately addressed.

    In my marriage counseling NJ practice, my initial objective is to develop trust and rapport with each and every member of the family. In doing so, I enhance my position as an expert consultant who can guide certain members in adopting alternative roles and behaviors. My ultimate goal is to disrupt prevailing destructive patterns so as to cultivate a healthier family dynamic. I seek to promote an atmosphere that emphasizes mutual support and love without sacrificing the emotional autonomy of individual members.

     

    Individual Therapy

    When looking for a qualified therapist, finding the right person is critical since rapport and comfort level are essential factors in achieving your goals. My clients in describe me as warm, insightful and empowering and find me very accessible. My style is compassionate, intuitive, optimistic and collaborative. I will certainly offer my perspectives and opinions, yet in a non-pressuring way.

     

    I Treat The Following Problem Areas in Individual Therapy:

    Depression

    Anxiety

    Guilt

    Anger

    Trauma and PTSD

    Addictions and Codependency

    Major Life Transitions (Death of a Loved One, Loss of a Job, "Mid-Life Crisis", End of a Marriage, etc)

     

    What you should know about the therapeutic modalities I use:

    I am a solution-focused and insight-oriented therapist. In my NJ marriage counseling and psychotherapy practice, I use hands-on teaching methods and problem solving techniques to impart practical skills. My goal is for you to accomplish your objectives as rapidly as possible and leave with a set of tools you can draw upon to further your healing and growth.

    Psychotherapy for Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders and Addictions

    Starting psychotherapy can be exciting yet scary. I provide gentle support and guidance to smoothly acclimate you to the therapy process.

    Working as a team, we will identify the internal barriers that are preventing you from experiencing genuine happiness and success. Whether in the realm of your self-esteem, emotions, or behaviors, I will teach you practical strategies to improve your functioning in these areas. Depression, anxiety, and guilt will subside as you becoming more accepting of yourself. Over time, psychotherapy should impart a heightened sense of empowerment and self-efficacy.

    Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy

    In my NJ marriage counseling and psychotherapy practice, I frequently utilize cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is a form of counseling that helps a person become more aware of his or her negative or distorted thinking processes. Once destructive thoughts are identified, the individual can challenge and replace them. Consequently, then can avoid becoming emotionally triggered by life's stressors or drawn into conflict with other people.

    Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is effective for emotional problems such as panic attack, anxiety, depression, OCD, and bipolar disorder. However, it also can be used as an effective stress management tool for anyone seeking to become more resilient in the face of life challenges.

    Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is seen by many as the most efficient form of psychotherapy because it involves applying concrete tools and strategies to overcoming specific issues. It generally requires a shorter period of time, as progress is measured in terms of the ability of the client to identify and replace faulty thoughts. The ultimate result is a shift in mindset which allows the client to avoid engaging in destructive thinking altogether.

    Modifying counterproductive thinking patterns takes time and can evoke feelings of fear and inadequacy. You may feel at times that changing your thoughts is a difficult and almost impossible task. However, it is important to realize that negative thinking is simply an ingrained habit. Like any habit, it can be unlearned through greater self-awareness and the conscious implementation of healthier thoughts.

    Cognitive behavioral therapists sometimes use what is termed "exposure therapy or "desensitization therapy". In my NJ marriage counseling and therapy practice, I often play the role of coach. I will gently and gradually encourage you to confront people or circumstances that have intimidated you and prevented you from being accomplishing personal goals.

    Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy can be performed with individuals, couples and families. In the first session, I will conduct a comprehensive assessment, asking you about key milestones in your life where you encountered adversity and developed symptoms. I will also seek to identify your areas of strength and accomplishment. My goal early on is to ascertain the quality of your coping mechanisms.

    Typically after the second session, I am able to present my understanding of your core issues along with a detailed plan of action as to what specific thinking patterns need to be modified.

    What's It Like to Be In a Psychotherapy Session?

    A typical session in my might involve me asking you to keep a log of thoughts and feelings that trigger your anxiety, depression, anger, guilt or fear. Together we will discover what people or circumstances create the context for your negative thinking and unpleasant emotions. Initially, it might be hard for you to discuss your most private and vulnerable thoughts and feelings. Opening up to a stranger can be uncomfortable at first. However, as a trained therapist, I have honed the craft of being warm, accessible and supportive. In a short period of time,you should feel more at ease being candid with your thoughts and feelings.

    The Phases of Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy:

    Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy consists of several sequential phases:

    • Identifying problem issues or areas which constitute barriers in your life. These may include health issues, mood problems, feelings of loss or bereavement.
    • Become more attuned to your beliefs, opinions and emotions as they relate to these these problem issues. As your therapist, I will help you develop a skill in what is called "meta-awareness". What this consists of is the ability to step out of yourself to observe what you say to yourself about your experiences. This internal dialog is referred to as "self-talk" and comprises your interpretation of particular circumstances and people in your life. I might ask you to keep an informal diary whereby you can record your self-talk as it emerges during stressful situations. This will better enable you to engage in the following:
    • Recognize negative and distorted thinking. In order to help my clients better understand the contribution of their thought processes in triggering negative emotions, I guide them in cultivating "body mindfulness". "Body mindfulness" entails attuning oneself to internal physical stimuli (upset stomach, muscle tightness, increased rate, perspiration, headache, etc.) that signal anxiety, anger or fear. Developing skills in mindfulness, coupled with awareness of self-talk enables the individual to see the connection between life circumstances, thinking patterns, physiological reactions, and emotions. With this depth of self-awareness, the person can begin to change unhealthy ways of being.
    • Challenge and replace unhealthy thoughts. As your therapist, I will challenge you on whether or not your opinions on a given situation are reasonable and accurate. With my coaching, you will, on your own, come to recognize and replace faulty thinking with healthier perspectives.

    Acquiring Mindfulness

    In my NJ marriage counseling and psychotherapy practice, I utilize exercises to cultivate mental "mindfulness". Mental mindfulness is a state of being whereby a person becomes completely accessible to what is going on in the "here-and-now". Mindfulness entails detaching yourself from your thoughts and feelings and observing them dispassionately. It's not that your are detached and dissociated from your thoughts and feelings in and unhealthy or avoidant way. Rather, you are withholding judgment, thus allowing you live in the present moment and enjoy life's experiences as they unfold.

    There is no "would've, should've and could've" in in this approach. You come to realize that life "is what it is". You adopt the deeply held belief that life's trials and tribulations could not have been otherwise. Such a generous and forgiving attitude towards life helps a person appreciate each moment as a precious teaching moment.

    The mental detachment that mindfulness promotes also enables a person to recognize and diminish painful emotions. Mindfulness affords individuals the ability to control and direct their thoughts and feelings rather than letting these run rampant. Life becomes a purposeful enterprise, in which the individual chooses whether or not to let particular emotions express themselves or dissipate.

    Not only will mindfulness enable you to avoid negative interpretations of current circumstances, it will enable you to let go of upsetting memories of the past. Similarly, you will be freed up to plan for the future, since you will be anchored in the present and not bogged down worrying about unlikely eventualities.

    In our culture, most people live life either focusing regretfully on the past or anxiously anticipating the future. When you live in the here-and-now, you are truly living, because you are not mentally distracted. You are fully accessible to the beauty and vitality of life.

    You may ask, so how will I know when I am engaging in mindfulness?

    • You will notice that you are truly paying attention to life, withholding critical judgments and letting experiences unfold organically.
    • You will withhold judgement when seeking to interpret the meaning of your internal bodily experiences. For example, you will refrain from interpreting tension in your abdomen as a sign that you are weak or inadequate.

    You might ask, "how would I know if I am not living with mindfulness"?

    When you engage in the following, you are chronically distracted and living "mindlessly":

    • You are out of tune with your bodily sensations.
    • You forget simple pieces of information immediately after they are told to you.
    • You perpetually multi-task.
    • You are so focused on the end result that you lose track of the reason why you are pursuing your goals.
    • You ruminate excessively over experiences from the past.
    • You eat without consciously tasting your food.
    • You react emotionally in a knee-jerk fashion, often surprised and confused by your impulsive responses to things.
    • You numb yourself out with drugs, alcohol, or any other addiction that helps you avoid reality.

    So how do you transform yourself from a "mindless" person to a "mindful" person?

    In my NJ marriage counseling and psychotherapy practice, I use mindfulness-based exercises to help individuals overcome emotional and behavioral problems:

    Awareness of Eating

    Hold the food that you want to eat in your hand. Notice the fragrance of the food. Scrutinize the colors and contours of its surface and texture. Put the food in your mouth, sensing with your tongue whether it is hot, cold, warm, sweet, spicy, crunchy, smooth. Notice any aftertaste. As you swallow the food, perceive how it slides down your throat.

    Awareness of Walking

    Feel the sole of your foot on the ground. As you shift your weight and raise your leg to step, be mindful of the muscles in your thigh and calf as they extend and contract. Notice the interplay between your toe and you heal, with the ball of your foot and ankle acting as stabilizing elements. Finally, pay attention to your gait, as your arms and legs move in rhythmic concordance.

    Breathing Exercises

    The purpose of this exercise is to simply become attuned to your breath. Sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet room with your feet planted on the ground and your hands resting comfortable on you lap. Take long, deep breaths from your diaphragm while noticing the expansion and contraction of your lungs. Give your complete attention to the physical act of breathing, filtering out any other thoughts. Over time, you will be able to switch into this state of bodily attunement at will. Possessing the ability to synchronize your mind with your breathing will enable you to transition into a calm, meditative state whenever you so desire.

    Body Sensation Awareness

    In our culture, we typically seek to avoid or eradicate any signs of bodily pain or discomfort. However, the very act of disavowing pain and discomfort has the contradictory effect of actually intensifying these sensations. The purpose of body sensation awareness exercises, therefore, is to focus on physiological sensations without attributing negative interpretations to them. By merely taking note of the feelings while refraining from casting judgment, the experience of pain diminishes.

    Body sensation awareness exercises are best performed with a script. The script takes you progressively from your lower extremities, up your thigh, through your pelvic region, into your abdominal area, up into your chest wall, through your upper extremities, into your neck, through your jaw and finally into your skull. At each point in this bodily "tour", the person is asked to focus on any sensations of discomfort and to simply "let them be". Interpretations of these sensations as being "dangerous, harmful, permanent, intolerable" are to be avoided. The goal is merely to "let them be".

    Awareness of One's Thoughts

    Just as we are prone to judge our internal physiological reactions, we are similarly prone to becoming self-critical of our inner thoughts. To counteract this natural tendency to censure one's inner thoughts, do the following: Initiate the breathing awareness exercise while tracking your stream of consciousness. The trick is to observe your thoughts uncritically, simply noticing them as a curious third-party observer would. If you practice this exercise on a regular basis, you will develop an ability to disentangle yourself from your self-critical inner dialog. This is because self-deprecating self-talk only exerts its painful and damaging effects when the person engages it on an emotional level. When a person observes his or her thoughts dispassionately, painful emotions are kept in check.

    Please feel free to read through my marriage counseling NJ practice website and call me with any questions. If you are looking for an experienced and caring therapist who can help you restore meaning and satisfaction to your life, while improving your relationships, please give me a call.

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